Coming away from the fantastic experience of the World Parkinson’s Congress, Move4Parkinson’s asked our Voices of Hope Choir if they would share something with us, be it something they took away from the congress or simply how they are feeling now. Our first response is from the Voices of Hope’s resident poet and philosopher (although he’d call himself neither) John O’Neill:
I had an appointment here in Dublin today which has just been cancelled so I began making my way back towards the Luas to connect with my car in Carrickmines…. “Oh, there’s an internet café” I thought to myself “…maybe this is a good opportunity to sit down and see if there’s anything in me that is longing for articulation”. So here I am sitting in front of the screen with a little feeling of hope that something will present itself to my consciousness….
Well the first feeling that comes up for me is a deep feeling of appreciation to be alive at this time in human history. I have a strong feeling of a deep change taking place within the whole structure of human consciousness. Evolution unveiled the self-conscious human out of the unconscious animal and seems now intent to unveil a new being out of the self-conscious human. Evolution, no longer content with the highest developments of the human ego, individual and collective, appears to be breaking out beyond the fields of ego into a new consciousness, a new unitive/spiritual consciousness beyond all the old separative tendencies of our human adolescence. For years I have felt this consciousness awakening within my own being and indeed within the minds, hearts and souls of a growing number of human beings. There is a deepening longing within our souls for “something more”, something beyond the mere human and yet inclusive of all the best that has been unfolded within us during this human stage of our development. Wow! What a wonderful time to be alive…..
And here I am at this time in my life making friends with this recent reality in my life called Parkinson’s. And you know it’s been puzzling to me how I’ve responded to this disease. Why have I no screamed out at God because of this Parkinson’s? Why did I feel that sense of appreciation when I got that diagnosis? And what about the seeming contradiction in my being that despite the obvious progression of the disease I am feeling better and better. I am reminded of a response that I sometimes make when people ask me how I am and I usually say something like “well in one part of me I don’t feel so good but in another part of me I have never felt better”. As I reflect upon this response just now, I think it indicates that there is a place inside me that knows IT IS NOT THE PARKINSON’S. I think this may be the “Something Inside So Strong” that we sing about in our Voices of Hope Choir. Maybe it’s alright that I don’t feel bad about this Parkinson’s. Maybe I don’t have to worry about appearing as if I’m suffering from some deep unconscious denial of devastation of this Parkinson’s? Or maybe one day I will get my comeuppance for repressing my depression?
So what do I really think now at this point? Just now at this moment of writing I feel a soft, loving and tender feeling that just says “John, the truth is you just know that you are not the Parkinson’s because you know that you are not your body, your emotions or your mind. You know that you are Eternal. And John remember how much you have longed to be one with Me since you were a child and you know how in your adult life you vowed:
I will fly high,
I will fly low,
I’ll fly as High as I can go,
To try to find the Centre of the World.
I will dig deep,
I will build tall,
I will dig deep, deepest of all
To try to find the Centre of the World
And when I find that Centre
I will find my Centre too
And in that finding
Find my friend
That I am close to you.
I will fly high,
I will fly low,
I will fly as high as I can go
To Try to find
The centre of the World
‘OK, I get it. I suppose there is no point in aspiring all one’s life to be One with You and then almost denying it when grace walks in and you find your old ways of responding dissolved and beautiful new ways of seeing in their place. So Thank You.’
So, this is what’s with me at the moment. I think it’s a little bit like a “coming out” experience. It seems it might be more comfortable talking about the more difficult or more negative experiences of life. And of course I am not really denying the many difficulties of life with or without Parkinson’s. But I feel more drawn to emphasise the more essential TRUTH OF OUR EXISTENCE which I intuit to be essentially spiritual. I remember seeing a quote one time which gets it for me “Always look towards the Sun and the shadows will fall behind”
About the Author:
John O’Neill John is a lively, warm and welcoming members of Move4Parkinson’s Voices of Hope Choir. When he wasn’t singing at the World Parkinson’s Congress, he was dancing, reciting his poetry or embracing a new friend who moments before had been a stranger.