Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Losing and gaining trust in my body

Only an evil genius would create a disease like Parkinson’s.

This thing created by the evil genius has a genius for attacking the very foundation of me in a subtle, gradual way until I suddenly find myself invited to the worst surprise party ever: “Surprise! You have a chronic, incurable and progressive disease! Now, who wants cake?”

Only an evil genius would attack and dissolve the fundamental trust you have in your body. When you ordinarily think about doing something, for example getting a drink, you just get up and get a drink; you don’t think like a Parkinson’s sufferer has to, “How will I move my body to get up and get a drink?” You trust in the intimate relationship you have with your body; it normally doesn’t let you down. However, Parkinson’s makes the expectation that your body will respond to your instructions untrustworthy. Your body lets you down. This can be a devastating realisation and one you go into mourning over.

However, only an evil genius would allow his genius plan to have a flaw in it that can be taken advantage of (aren’t all evil genius's plans like that?). Parkinson’s only affects conscious movement so automatic functions of the body like breathing are unaffected. This is the flaw. I have a path back to my body and a way to reconnect the feeling with the action.

I go to a yoga class and Laura, my yoga teacher, said something today that really impacted me. She said, “Trust your breathing.” In yoga breathing is used to bring your focus to the body (so called proprioception). Breathing is essential for life and by focusing on it you feel the natural rhythm of your body. Therefore, being aware of that rhythm or moving with it (“breath in, breath out and lift your arms…”) will allow you to feel and inhabit the very foundation of your body. This is crucial for somebody like me who has lost trust in the conscious rhythm of my body. Your breath will always be there and you can access awareness of it at any time; therefore, you can trust this pathway to feel connected to your body. You can use this to build trust in other parts of your body.

Come to think of it, I will have some cake…

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