I started practicing mindfulness with a small group of people about three months ago knowing virtually nothing about it. At first I wasn’t quite sure what to do or if it would benefit me. When I started it, I told one of the girls in the group that I had Parkinson’s. As she didn’t know that much about Parkinson’s, I explained what it is and how it affects my body. During my explanation, I told her that some of my muscles have lost the ability to be autonomous. I said “I have to consciously tell my muscles what to do”. To which she responded “So you’re perfect for mindfulness!” At first, I didn’t get it, but then it dawned on me she was absolutely right. So many of us do things in automatic mode without actually thinking about what we are doing, like breathing, writing or walking. But the fact that I have to consciously think about moving my muscles is in fact what mindfulness does. It makes you aware of whatever you are doing in the present moment. So, having Parkinson’s may not have been on the wish list of everyone who has it, but it can have the benefit of introducing you to mindful awareness, like it did with me.
In the last couple of months, I’ve slowed down quite a lot which under normal circumstances would worry and panic me, but I’m neither worried or panicked. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not overjoyed about it either, but because of mindfulness, I’ve been aware of it happening and consequently have been able to deal with it in a calm and relaxed manner. I don’t pretend to know how mindfulness works, but I’m glad it’s a part of my life as without it, dealing with a long term incurable illness would be much harder. It has brought an inner peace and tranquility to my body…which is quite an ironic thing for a person with Parkinson’s to say but I can say it because it’s true!