An open letter to my friends:
I just spent a week with my brother. Gregg is 70 and has lived with a PKD (Parkinson’s Disease) diagnosis since he was 45. He has been on PKD meds for 25 years, had a “brain stimulator” procedure which failed to produce the desired relief of his symptoms… and YET, he still golfs, lawn bowls, paints, boxes, does yoga, sings in a choir, weight lifts and does a PKD stretch class. He jogs, dances, does tai chi, writes music, sings karaoke (we sing duets), plays the guitar, plays cards & games, rides a bike, cooks, drives a golf cart and knows the value of a massage. He can make a great smoothie and makes me laugh a lot.
He manages his finances, fixes things that break, and offers help wherever he sees a need, including organizing support groups for people with PKD.
My sister-in-law, Jo, has been in my family since I was 20. I love and respect her for being Gregg’s constant companion and support for so many years.
I am 66. Gregg was 3 when I was born and has been my steady, solid friend all of my life.
I have rarely heard Gregg speak in the negative about anything.
Depression is a part of his disease for over 60% of those diagnosed.
He told me, that when he learned his brain stimulator was a failure, he got depressed.
He says, “I let myself have a pity-party for a couple of hours, and then I said, OK, enough of that. Let’s get moving.”
If ever I start to feel down about my life, all I have to do is spend time with Gregg and everything gains perspective. He inspires me with his willingness to be vulnerable… all the time. With him I realize that life is what I make of it.
What do I perceive? How many layers can I peel off to experience the essence of life?
Everything is moving energy. Can I relax my gaze, relax my body, relax my mind?
Can I rest back…behind the parade of thoughts that is passing through the field of my mind?
In this relaxed state of perception, I see life with no clothes on.
“Naked Life”, is the experience of my primordial state, pre-domestication.
“You wild-animal, you!”
In this state-of-mind dwells my “true nature,” and it will always choose the efficient “path of least resistance.” Gregg has shown me that this choice is not related to the conditions or external circumstances of my life. It has everything to do with how well I am able to choose my thoughts (or even better! Simply watch the parade go by…) rather than be a slave to my “thought-processor.”
My brain, the “think-tank” of my mental body, is programmed to run on auto-pilot. The program produces rationalizing thoughts to neutralize the “events” of my present experience that are creating a “disruption” in my nervous system/state of equilibrium. This “disruption” can be good or bad. The mind doesn’t judge it, it just wants to bring things back to balance. Too high, bring it down. Too low, bring it up. Using data gleaned from my life-history recording, it’s purpose is to try and make me think I am balanced, equalized… okay…It wants to hear me say, I’m in a homeostatic state. The truth is, I already am okay. I was okay and I’ll always be okay, with or without the mind’s constant balancing act.
My body works very much the same way on it’s physical level. My body’s immune system continuously meets whatever is coming into my field to neutralize it and try and keep my body in homeostasis. My body uses it’s immune system cells while my mind uses thoughts. The body uses the physical system’s cells of the immune system, and the mind uses the mental/emotional system’s thoughts.
What I am practicing, and I invite each of you to try it if you haven’t already, is to rest back behind my constant thread of thoughts. As I rest back and observe my thoughts like a parade going down the street (it used to be a ticker-tape, then a computer screen, but I needed to slow it down, so I made it a parade, you know, like the speed of walking horses and kids.) I relax and watch the parade of thoughts go by and when one catches my eye and tries to lure me in, I notice it and I say,“Thank-you, but, no thank-you. I’m just great and I don’t need your help.”
With the mind ignored, the body does what it’s programmed to do… innately. You don’t have to think to breathe, pee, eat, have sex and sleep…sounds like retirement to me!!
The thing I love best about myself is the way I joke with my own process. I truly do not believe my own bullshit! Eliciting a laugh is the best possible use of a thought! Right?
So I say, “Right on, my Fellow “Feel So Much It Makes Me Crazy but THERE IS NO BETTER WAY TO LIVE!”
You are my peeps!