By Deb Helfrich, Co-Founder of Out-Thinking Parkinson's.
Recently I have been thinking a lot about life, its stages, its meanings, and how we react when life doesn't go to plan. Much has happened – and did not happen – over the last handful of years that really challenged my sense of self. And this directly led me to the question of whether my sense of self has anything to do with life.
The only answer I can realistically come up with is that my “self” is a construct that mostly does me harm. Curious is it not? Because once I started looking around, lots of people's selves also seem to be leading them astray.
I have suffered from the delusion for quite some time that life is a series of destinations and then I get time off for good behavior. I REALLY like my time off. But when I think back to those glimpses I got of single celled organisms under a microscope, it occurs to me that movement – the blobbing of the cell – was how I knew one cell was alive and another cell was dead. At a much more vast and personal level, when I held my first dog as the chemicals were pumped into her blood stream after many weeks of fatal renal failure; this too was a very clear distinction between her being alive and having movement and the stone cold stillness of death.
So why do I resist change, growth, and certain reactions to stimuli so resolutely? Aren't these movements the lifeblood of a well-lived life?
Life is about movement. Being in constant motion.
I have a lot of change coming and hit that inevitable – for me – rough patch of really being too overwhelmed to function. Again isn't that curious? Don't get me wrong, the feelings of being scared were not curious in the least. None of my reactions that bordered on temper tantrums made me curious. But upon letting it all out, MOVING the emotions through me, I hit that point of blankness when I realize that I am still breathing, my heart is still pumping blood, and the neurons in my brain are still firing in ways that I understand to be my own thoughts.
And so I must go on. Evolve into the changes and learn, again, to embrace the growth that I am going to go through to get where I want to go.
The part of this phase that brings up my curiosity is that where I need to go is to the side of a man who has been living with early onset Parkinson's Disease for six years. A very specific part of his brain has neurons that are on the fritz that cause him to have trouble moving or prevent him from moving at all. This is not the vacation that I presumed it to be when I longed to be able to just exist with everything arranged nicely so that I could vegetate, chill, and relax as my primary avocation.
Therefore it is time for me to embrace the process and processes of living as life unfolds. Being open to each day – its challenges and its victories. And the only thing that is really guaranteed is that I will keep moving until I breathe my last breath. I might even have to move for two people at some time in the far off future. And now that I have regained my curiosity and my perspective on how important the actual journey of life is – I am more than ready to face all the eventualities of our future together.
Many thanks to Gary for changing my business, not once, not twice, but three times in the course of the last six months. And that doesn't even begin to account for the magnificent and all-encompassing changes he has brought into my life.
Because of the connections that I have made on LinkedIn, and the encouragement I have received for sharing who I am, my life has fundamentally changed. These changes have increased my ability and potential to contribute in a vast and important way, even while what I do for a living has shifted radically. I now see a chance to learn how to use integrative concepts, based in cutting edge scientific research, to help people with quality of life interventions. I am getting ready to move to England and begin the process of pursuing postgraduate work in Applied Neuroplasticity.
This revolutionary upgrade in my life is simply because I managed to stay open, stay true to myself, and believe that my future did not have to be the same as my past. Along with focusing on practical strategies to use the theories behind neuroplasticity to help People with Parkinson's – I also plan to document my journey to revolutionize my own life as a source of inspiration to everyone who dreams of fulfilling work, but who is stuck where they are right now, without a sense of how to get where their heart is prompting them to go. I know it will be a fabulous and challenging, and sometimes downright scary journey. I would be thrilled if you would come along on your own parallel journey. And if you are the kind of person who believes in putting your money where your potential lies, I would be honored to receive any level of support you might be able to offer. I promise to keep recirculating both the emotional and financial support.