One of the main challenges I’m being given the opportunity to overcome is the feeling of powerlessness. That is to say, this neurological condition I am experiencing is allowing me to dissolve the belief that I’m a powerless victim.
I have been asked, what is spiritual transformation? My answer is this. It is the process of becoming spiritually conscience. Buddhists refer to it as enlightenment. It’s when we begin to look at life differently. When we no longer see trees, as simply trees or people as simply, people. It occurs when we understand that there is a reason for our ‘being’ and that there is a reason for suffering.
As I set out on my walk to the labyrinth the other morning, one question was foremost on my mind. Why is it that despite everything I’ve learned about fear, its purpose, its role in the development of neurological disorders and how to overcome it, I’m still beset by feelings of fear that leave me experiencing intense symptoms, every day?
I recently saw an interview with English actor, Jude Law. During the interview, Law spoke about his very first acting job in the US, a stage play on Broadway. The character he was playing began the first act naked in a bathtub, after which he had to get out of the tub and towel down. I couldn’t help but think how liberating an experience that would be. After standing naked in front of hundreds of people night after night, what would there be to be afraid of? Not much!
There is a scene in the delightfully slick television series, Suits, where Mike Ross says to his mentor, Harvey Specter, “If someone sticks a gun in your face, open your coat and show him the bomb strapped to your chest!” In other words, turn a negative situation into one that is in your favour, and in so doing, put yourself in a position of power!
There are certain things I can’t relate to. For instance, I can’t relate to growing up in a war torn country. Nor can I relate to living in an occupied country. Mari can. She spent the first 32 years of her life living in Estonia, which was under Russian occupation at the time. I also can’t relate to living in a communist country or one ruled by a fascist dictator. I can relate to living in a country where the government seems more intent on serving itself than the people it was democratically elected to serve, but this isn’t nearly as bad.
Sadness in your heart can mean grief, bitterness and anger, and just like fear, it can sabotage your best intentions and cause you to become sick.
The biggest challenge for me on my journey with Parkinson’s is not having Parkinson’s or coping with the symptoms that characterize the condition. Rather, it is overcoming fear! It is not experiencing constriction in my throat. It is the fear of losing the ability to swallow. It is not experiencing loss of mobility. It is the fear of becoming immobile. It is not the softening of my voice. It is the fear of not being able to speak. It is not having low blood pressure. It is the fear of my heart giving out. And these fears can be overwhelming at times!
It would be easy for me to ask, ‘why me?’ Why did I develop Parkinson’s? Given everything that I’ve already endured in my life and all the awesome stuff that I was embarking on around the time I was diagnosed, it might seem a tad unfair.