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A Mindful Christmas

As Christmas nears and I think about the coming New Year, I ask myself what is it that I need to express at this time? I cannot deny that this time of year as joyful as it can be, reminds me of the loss of many who were dear and near to me. I am forever grateful to have had them in my life, yet selfishly; there is a definite void without them.

My goal this Christmas and beyond is to transcend the sense of loss and focus more on the lessons of strength and character that those who have departed have taught me. The best tribute that I can provide them is to remember them well and to do my best in making them proud.

This is a special time of year for holiday gatherings and loved ones coming together. Holidays may bring much joy or undue anxiety, stress, or sadness. This Christmas and New Year’s keep in mind these few reminders and know how grateful I am to you for taking the time to read my work:

-Don’t get lost in the commercialism of the holidays! It’s not about what you got or didn’t get. If you feel that you didn’t give enough to someone or some charity, there are 364 other days to help them out.

-Seek a solution! If you have physical pain, that can lead to emotional and spiritual pain. Any of the 3 may lead to the other, for that is the mind-body-spirit connection. Seek help, if you need it!

-Be mindful and realistic! We all have what we categorize as “good days” or “bad days” but it takes both for a complete experience. Appreciate both.

-Show kindness to those around you as well as yourself. We never really know what others are experiencing, so show some compassion. Don’t beat yourself up about  some event that did or didn’t turn out as planned.

-Don’t stress, breathe! Remember to have fun, enjoy those with whom you are celebrating, and fight stress through deep breathing and meditation.

These are just a few personal tips. If you think you are depressed seek professional help. I am not a doctor.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The Frustration

Why is it that some people who need help ask for help and when help is provided, the assistance is rejected?  I can’t tell you how many times I have come across this scenario.  I try not to offer advice unless the advice is requested. You would think that if someone were open enough to ask for help, then they might be open enough to try the advice.

Those Parkinsonians who are unwilling to take charge of their meds or their condition are going to face an uphill battle and make the future that much harder on themselves.  A small change in our bodies can set an array of problems off that we would never expect.  For example, a minor toe infection can throw off your walking, your comfort, and lead to a fall down the steps. I have seen things very similar to this account.  If you are able to address what appears to be insignificant and stamp it out early, the small stuff doesn’t go rampant.  If left unattended, the scab may lead to infection and worse.  A big component of self-care is knowing your body’s strengths and weaknesses.

Something as simple as missing meals, dehydration, or poor nutrition can lead to a laundry list of blood, psychological, and balance related issues that throw the whole body out of balance. People with Parkinson’s disease are prone to low vitamin D levels which may bring about stability and bone issues, according to medical websites.  Keeping up on your nutrition and staying current on your regimen of medicines is vital to receive maximum benefit. When we fail to monitor our body and our condition, we put ourselves in harm’s way and open ourselves to damage more of our systems.

I am not a doctor and this is just my opinion. This is NOT medical advice—it is just what I think.

Parkinson’s Isn’t A Punch Line or West Goes In The Wrong Direction!

If you read this blog with any frequency, you know that I don’t make a habit of promoting or talking about celebrities. Today is a new day and find it odd and out of character, but I am compelled to react to the insensitive, callous, outlandish, and mean spirited use of language making news in the past week. I don’t mean the Paula Dean incident.

I would dare say that Kanye West’s over the top simile in comparing a shaking Benz to Parkinson’s disease shows real ignorance, a tremendous lack of compassion and understanding about the illness, and displays an obvious disregard in caring about being informed on what living with Parkinson’s disease means.

Parkinson’s disease isn’t the punch line to a joke! I am reminded of a phrase my parents used to say that I advise Mr. West and the rest of the world who want publicity: There is nothing cute about being stupid. I would even modify that statement to be, there is nothing cute about being insensitive.

Mr. West is an extremely successful, wealthy, popular, black entertainer, with the attention and influence on millions of fans. Rather than use his platform in front of the world for something positive and beneficial, he chose to alienate the ill and compare them a sputtering vehicle. I for one consider this degrading insulting and just plain wrong on so many levels.

Much ado has been made in the media about Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s new baby daughter, North. Instead of talking about his music, her career, and the baby, maybe something should be said about the disconnect of humanity that many of these performers have for someone unlike themselves. Is this insensitive mentality a trait to pass on to his daughter? Obviously, Kanye didn’t get the memo concerning a kinder gentler world.

I can only hope that Kanye sees the error of his ways and uses better judgment and more informed choices in the future. He has a responsibility to his child do to what is right. That’s what I think–what do you think?

April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month

In case you didn’t know, April is Parkinson’s  Disease  Awareness Month.  Just in time, I am excited to tell you that in the next few weeks  an audio book version of my book, A Soft Voice In A Noisy World: A Guide to Dealing and Healing with Parkinson’s Disease will be released for sale on Itunes.com, Audible.com, and Amazon.com. The book is read by Doug Gochman, a very talented voice actor.  Listening to the book provides a whole new perspective and reveals even more from reading it. As the author, I had no idea that hearing the words read back to me could be so powerful.  Watch for the upcoming sample, soon to be released on www.asoftvoice.com.

17 Secrets To A Better Day — And Life

1. Do what you can to stay healthy without overdoing it.

2. Avoid debt as best you can.

3. Know when to walk away –from anything.

4. Timing when to speak and when to just listen is an art.

5. Be helpful to others and patient with yourself.

6. Do as little harm as possible.

7. Spend wisely!

8. Protect children, animals, and the environment.

9. Do something to brighten someone’s day today.

10. Spend at least a little time doing something you are passionate about.

11. Make a difference to the best of your ability.

12. Avoid gossip and pointless conversation.

13. Let the people in your life know how you feel.

14. Try not to have a fixed opinion about anyone or anything.

15. Be appreciative of others!

16. Treasure the small and simple joys of life.

17. Consider being a resource instead of an adviser,  when asked by another.

I can’t say that all of these are easy, but I’m working on it! Feel free to share, if you like the list. Thanks!

Karl Robb

http://www.asoftvoice.com

Opportunity To Inform

Last week, I went to one of my favorite local hangouts for a bite to eat. I had been great the whole day but my meds decided to try to get me dyskinetic. The meds won out for a brief time and although I didn’t notice if anyone else saw my twitching and shaking, it had to happen at the most inconvenient of times. It rose it’s ugly head at dinner, but why not?

While waiting for my order, a gentleman I never met came over to ask me a question. Before he could even get the question out, I explained to  him that I have and had Parkinson’s disease for over 20 years and what he witnessed was a brief episode caused by a medication side effect and not the disease itself.

This very friendly man told my wife and I that he was curious because he was back in school in his mid-forties to medical training as a physician’s aide. I loved his curiosity about the Disease and the meds. This was a real opportunity to educate and inform someone in the medical community about what PD is and isn’t. When these opportunities arise, I strongly urge you to take full advantage to teach those who understand PD. You can leave a lasting impression and make a powerful impact.

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