Main » June 2007
June 29, 2007
Kick The Can
This was a segment from "Twilight Zome: The Movie" that Steven Spielberg directed.
A synopsis from The Movies Made Me Do It:
This is a film about youth -- about appreciating who you are, not how old you are. "Kick the Can" is the name of this one, and it's about a man -- Mr. Bloom (Scatman Crothers) -- who comes to stay at an old age home, where everyone is tired...and slow...and confined to their routines. There is one man who always waits on his soon to come and take him out for the day, but he never does. These are people at the end of their lives, abandoned by their loved ones and forced into their lives of sameness. When Mr. Bloom arrives, he shakes things up and starts showing the residents that they have more to offer. One night, as everyone sneaks out for a rebellious game of 'kick the can', the old men and women start turning into children again, revealing that Mr. Bloom has a little more magic to him that originally thought. The children run and dance and sing and play and have a great time, until they realize that their lives as old people really weren't so bad at all. Spielberg's entry into the film is certainly the sweetest, the most powerful, and the most imaginative. It's not a horror film so much as a drama with some fantastical elements. It has the trademark Spielberg feel to it, and I wish that he had turned this into a feature length film, because there's much more material to explore.
June 20, 2007
Links To Lighten The Load
In putting together this post I began thinking of being a kid and playing doctor (no, not THAT kind...) and we'd use M&Ms for pills, the various colors would be for different ailments. I suppose I thought of that because these links, like those pills are colorful in their own way, sweet and easy to go down. But they were chosen for you as a gift from me because I appreciate you reading my entries and I hope these sites are as useful, motivating and practical for you as they have been for me.
This first site lists 39 ways you can sort of break out of your routine and grab hold of life. I liked the practicality of it. Here are a few that sprung out at me as things I can do that might really help:
-Try something new, every week. Ask yourself: "What new thing shall I try this week?" Then be sure to do it. You don't have to learn a new language in one week, but seek new experiences. Give it a try. You might decide you want to keep it in your life.
-Get outside. Don't let yourself be shut indoors. Go out when it's raining. Walk on the beach. Hike through the woods. Swim in a freezing lake. Bask in the sun. Play sports, or walk barefoot through grass. Pay close attention to nature.
-Lose control. Not only control over yourself, but control over others. It's a bad habit to try to control others -- it will only lead to stress and unhappiness for yourself and those you try to control. Let others live, and live for yourself. And lose control of yourself now and then too.
-Cry. Men, especially, tend to hold in our tears, but crying is an amazing release. Cry at sad movies. Cry at a funeral. Cry when you are hurt, or when somebody you love is hurt. It releases these emotions and allows us to cleanse ourselves.
Good stuff, huh?
Here's a fun site if you have difficulty with conversation starters:
Unique Conversation Starters
Yeah, I know, it's meant for dating, but all of these are questions anyone could use. Some of these questions are jarringly unusual, so use them wisely in the right setting.. someone asking a stranger what their favorite Cyndi Lauper song is, might not get too far in that conversation. Well, unless you asked me.. mine is "Time after Time".
Next we have :
Seven Ways To Overcome Social Awkwardness
Which presents seven ways we can overcome our awkwardness in social situations. Some of these really do push the boundaries of what is comfortable but in thinking about my past and it's results in my present I have to admit that skating along only in my comfort zone hasn't always served me well. So a little push and pulling of myself is needed.
I saved the best for last.. dessert time!
Never heard of him? I hadn't until recently but I've been fascinated by this guy ever since I did. Here's the basic story , the writer has been mentioning an opera aria called "Nessun Dorma":
"But it has never had so much meaning as it did on a stage in Great Britain, being sung by a mobile phone salesman named Paul Potts.
Potts is an average-looking bloke whose teeth aren’t straight, and he admits to having battled self-confidence issues his whole life. Still, he decided to audition for a television show called “Britain’s Got Talent.”
You’ve seen the American version, I’m sure. Beat box artists, break dancers and jugglers combined with a few people trying to be pop stars.
On his first night, Potts took to the stage and sang that famous aria from “Turnadot,” after telling judge Simon Cowell that he felt he needed to pursue his first love, opera.
You could hear the snickers from the crowd, see Simon’s telltale eye roll, and practically feel the flop sweat rolling down Potts’ brow.
But then he sang.
From the first note floating from his snaggle-toothed beak (ouch - me), it was clear there was no competition for him in that room.
The crowd gave him a standing ovation in what is now one of the Internet’s most popular viral videos. It has been viewed on YouTube alone more than 2.4 million times"
It's an article about finding and pursuing your passion, rekindling your dreams. And, oh yeah, the video is impossible to get through with dry eyes. Just sos you knows.
We meet Paul:
He sings "Time To Say Goodbye" during the semi-finals... whew.
and.... the winner of "Britain's Got Talent" is announced:
Okay, that should be enough for one entry, huh?
June 18, 2007
Laughter - A Good Kinda Contagion
After The Shaking Stopped
I read an article last night about a drug now being tested called Cogane.
Remarkable claims are being made and the word "cure" is being more than hinted at. Here are a few links:
This is some hot stuff, I'd advice you add the word COGANE to your Google News Alert list so you can be kept abreast of what's going on.
I read the early stories on this last night and began to weep as I pondered the possibility... a cure? Really?
Well, I woke up this morning with the skeleton of this poem in my mind. It's structure is based on the song "After The Revolution" by David Rovics... I suppose if it were ever to be sung, the tune would be very similar.
It's silly, playful, extra-idealized and goofy... so what?
After the Shaking Stopped
It was a time I'll always remember
Because I will never forget
The day a cure came down upon us
And Parkinson's stopped being a threat
And once our bodies settled
The day seemed to take on light
And an inner calm engulfed us
Like it was all gonna be alright
That's how it felt to be alive
After the shaking stopped
From Atlanta to St. Joseph
People opened up their door
Freed from their inner prison
They wouldn't stay inside no more
No more would they feel self conscious
Their dignity restored
And walking now in sunshine
Years of patience found reward
And somewhere in Hilo a happy mother smiled and cried
After the shaking stopped
Hospital wings were standing open
And a father hugged his son
They spoke of future plans now
For a new day had begun
Millions of happy people
Went to a celebration fair
As Michael J Fox and Muhammad
Sparred playfully in the square
Then they talked about what they'd do now
Now that the shaking stopped
With the money we would save
We worried less about our bills
We gave away all our canes and wheelchairs
And gave a flush to all our pills
And we all wrote the papers
To have a holiday declared
The day our body's chains released us
The day that we were unimpaired
And we commisioned statues of the researchers
After the shaking stopped
Stem cells stopped being an issue
Nothing left there to debate
No need for playing politics
No need for blinding hate
For when the curing happened
We held on for all we're worth
To the idea that our happiness
Might spread through all the earth
And then we'd hear of other diseases being cured too
After the shaking stopped
We started working in our gardens more
Got involved in our community
We rediscovered our fellow man
And learned to live in dignity
We learned to treat our bodies
As the precious gifts they are
We ate more from the organic produce aisle
And less from the cookie jar
And Hallmark printed up extra thank you cards that day
After the shaking stopped
And then the Parkinson's bloggers
Found free time now on their hands
So we headed down to Florida
To bury our toes in the sands
I spent a few years catching up
With my wife, my friends and lovers
Waking up at the crack of dawn
After sweet rest under the covers
Then I decided to to learn the accordion...
After the shaking stopped
June 17, 2007
PD, Body Size and putting ourselves out there
I was reading on the Young Onset Parkinson's Association message board and came across this post:
Please forgive me but I am single and I have to ask this question. Did anyone else out there have the experience of thinking that someone was going to ask you for a date then you told them upfront about the PD and they took off never to be heard from again? I am large-sized but to be large-sized with PD means that no one seems to want to date you. I am getting very discouraged.
Something about it struck me and I decided i wanted to reply to it. I started writing and it just got longer and longer untill I thought it was really too long to post in a public forum. So I put it here and will link from the forum to this post in the attempt to save room on the forum. My response is below. Writing it helped me to process my thoughts. I am truly just learning too.
your post gave me pause and I wanted to respond
with a few thoughts from a fellow person with PD
who is also , as you say, "plus sized". I am not
responding because I have "the answer", but because
I trying to figure things out just like we all are.
I think it's very easy, with PD, to feel somewhat
embarrassed by our bodies quirks. We move a little
differently at times, we have tremors, maybe walk
with a limp, you know, many things that we can look
at and think that people are looking at us, talking
about us, laughing at us. As large people we can
already relate to those kinds of feelings, perhaps the
PD just adds to the self-consciousness.
So we brace ourselves, we live our lives in a seige
mentality, huddled inside ourselves to protect against
the potential pain of the people who look, judge ,
point and laugh.
Yeah, mean folks are out there. No doubt about that.
But I have discovered in life that if I live in shame
(of my body size, PD, or whatever) I make it real
obvious to those around me that I accept the role of
victim. I do this by body language, eye contact (or
lack of), the way I speak (or if I speak) and on and
on. This very weakness, like in the animal world,
culls you from the herd, marks you as an easy target
and it will manifest negative responses from the
"mean people" out there.
But.. in acceptance of myself, and it is a hard, hard
process to achieve and harder yet to maintain, I find
that I reflect out that I am okay as I am. I accept me
today. There is always room for improvement to be
sure, but today I am here, I am this way, I am a
large person and I have a neurological disorder that
I am dealing with.
When we can accept ourselves, we draw those who
also can accept us. It's almost a magnetism concept,
isnt it? We can draw or repel by how we accept or
reject our own selves. The outside reflects the inside.
I once heard Leo Buscaglia say something that really
stuck with me. He was talking about a plus-sized
woman who was having trouble finding dates and
friends. The advice given to her was to find ways to
celebrate the very things that you reject about
yourself. Okay, she didn't like her thighs and hips,
but she began lightening up on herself about them,
stopped apologizing to herself and others about them.
She began to celebrate them, laugh about them,
make them something she talked about in her
flirtations. Instead of hiding them, she had the joyful
audacity to present it as one of her "selling points".
And, do you know, in doing that she found men
willing to celebrate her hips and thighs with her. She
found men who were drawn by the strength she
demonstrated despite not being the kind of woman
you'd see on a fashion magazine.
So here we are, we have this information, now what
do we do with it? Is it worth experimenting with to
see if it works in your life?
So think of ways to celebrate your Parkinson's and
celebrate your size. How can we make these things
into selling points? To use a basic analogy, let's turn
the lemons into lemonade. Then we will draw those
who may not care much for sour tart lemons, but
they sure would enjoy a nice cool glass of lemonade.
How we do that is individual, we each need to work
with ourselves to see what clicks. But I'll share a
few suggestions in closing as nudges in the right
1) Make a lighthearted list of 20 good things about
having PD. Get absurd with it, get jokey about it.
My list contains such silliness as "In an emergency,
you'll never be called on to perform emergency brain
surgery, so no pressure there", "You can play one
hell of a game of Yahtzee", "You can thread sewing
machine needles without having to stop the machine"
and on and on. You are developing a silly, light
attitude about PD, that is your goal. When you have
this list, you will have tons of emotional backup when
you are in public and drop things or shake. You can
fall back on an item from your list and say "It's just
Parkinson's.. it's okay.. you should have seen me
conducting the Boston Symphony, I wore them out!".
Lightness and a return to balance. If you laugh about it from a safe place like that, it lightens up the feelings of uncomfortableness folks sometimes experience around someone with a physical challenge.
2) Ponder the saying "Those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind". Lots of wisdom there in dealing with reactions to both your size and your PD. Those who truly are worth your time are the ones who will take the time and effort to get beyond such minor things as a tremor in your hand or your body type. Bodies grow and get smaller, our PD symptoms have good days and bad, but our core remains. Those willing to get to these essential parts of us are the ones you can be assured it is worth investing yourself in.
I will leave this last one blank as I want you to go off on your own fork in the road and see where this takes you.
Thanks for reading and I hope this helps.
Self-Talk - My Own Best Coach
I find it has been useful, when I start getting deep in my doldrums, looking into that inner darkness of a thousand unknowns, to shake myself up with self-talk.
Basically it is giving myself a peptalk. I speak to myself and push myself to snap out of this funk, and go about life.
Surprisingly, it works more often than not. I use the anger and frustration I am feeling when my body parts are not cooperating and basically boot-camp myself into action.. some sort of action.. anything.
I think that hearing it from myself I can take things far easier than if there were someone over me haranguing me. Many of us grew up being haragued by others and thus have so many built in shut-down systems against that. Self-talk sort of short-circuits that by being from you.
Does it feel weird? Yeah. You think.. well, only crazy people talk to themselves, right? If you want to try this, you will have to get beyond that limiting concept.
You are going to have to plant the idea in your mind that you do know what is best for yourself at the essential deep level. From that place, a place of strength despite circumstance, the place that goes regardless of what happens to your body, the place where the strength you often forget you have resides. From there you will coach yourself. From that place of strength you will have a clarity needed to direct your faltering body.
The power of self-talk is that you know your excuses, you know the games you pull. Self-talk involves busting yourself when you try to weasel out or play these games thatr have truly not served you or your best purposes.
So you out there.
What are you waiting for?
This stuff works.
The sooner I shut up, the sooner you'll be able to hear from yourself.
June 5, 2007
Famous People With Parkinsons's Disease
You aren't alone.
I'm not sure how many of these are actually confirmed. I am just posting an online list. If there are more, pop me a comment and I'll add it in.
I am thinking of perhaps researching these poets with Parkinson's and maybe doing an entry on their poetic expressions of having PD>
I think it would be most interesting.
More Keyboard Shortcuts
For times when the mouse is difficult to handle due to PD shaky-itis.
Good stuff here.
June 1, 2007
I read an article today on the stifling of creativity. I got a lot out of it and hopefully readers out there might too.
Here's a link to it.
How To Stifle Your Creativity In 10 Easy Steps
On and off for many years now I have been a poetry writer. Nothing great, it's mainly a means of self-expression and also a nice way to play a sort of word game, especially with the more strictly rhyme and meter type poems.
I did a bit of writing in this vein last week, a parody on a song from "
The Wizard Of Oz" tied in to a situation we are involved in heer in Georgia that is really too local to even bother explaining. Anyway, I noticed that being lost in creativity has a very good effect on my well-being and also my body.
First I should tell you that I usually will start and finish a project at one sitting.
In doing that I get "in the tunnel", my mind so focussed that little else seems to exist or matter for that stretch of time. Its like a slight yet steady dose of mild adrenalin going through my body, I feel very, healthy and present in the moment. Usually for a long time after the effect seems to have a calming effect on my shaking limbs.
So I need to listen to this and allow for creativity to wiork it's magic on me.
PS: Anyone out there actually reading this?