I'm constantly amazed by the positive attitude of people living with incurable, or degenerative illness. Particularly in the realm of neurological and autoimmune disease.
Young Onset Parkinson's Disease (PD) can either be viewed as an awful life-sentence, a burden to drag you backward....or a blessing in disguise. By blessing, I don't mean it's easy - it's an hourly struggle - but it sure gave me a kick up the pants to change my life.
Do what you love, be with those who understand energy exchange goes both ways, find your passion, don't settle for less than you deserve, and feel gratitude for the beautiful things in life.
In the "feeling-amazing-moments" go out there and live your dream life, on the "not-so-amazing-days" stop feeling guilty for resting. Honour and respect your body for what it can do, instead of focusing on what it can't. It's all in your attitude. I have discovered first hand that a negative attitude only increases the severity of symptoms and side effects, whilst a positive attitude can make the symptoms ease so much that they are almost invisible to others - well almost anyway. Some days the control is better than others, but attitude definitely helps.
This post is a shoutout to many new friends who blow me away with their talent and determination - all have PD, or similar illness, all have at some stage been told by someone that they'll never achieve their life goals now. Every single one of them has chosen instead to make the most of the good days and create beautiful things.
You wouldn't think someone with "the shakes" could paint with such incredible focus and stillness, yet look at the paintings above - created by two amazing friends Ron and Debby - both have young onset Parkinson's disease. My friend Monica, even with her movement difficulties and dyskinesia, teaches yoga. She is a shining example of determined attitude to beat this illness. And she's even off to Parliament next week to create more awareness about PD. You can support her here: http://us12.campaign-archive2.com/?u=448047de5c58775ec39903f3d&id=e6567cb052
Of course, there are so many more friends - way too many to list here, with talents that would blow your mind, despite their health challenges.
What I'm writing here is simply a gentle reminder to "be your own hero" (yes just like my workshop of the same name), to stop making excuses, and go live your own unique dreams. Being told "no" or "you'll never do it" is only more motivation to keep striving and to not give up.
When it comes to myself - Yes it's true that there are many things I cannot do anymore or that I do in a very less-than-graceful way now - but who cares? I'm still moving, I'm learning new ways to do things and am happier now than I've been in a decade or more. Of course there's times when I melt down or feel defeated, but only momentarily, then I'll get back up and get on with it again. PD will not beat this stubborn girl!
Choose your own adventure, create your own ending.
One life. Don't just exist. Live it and love it.
Be your own hero.
If you want to know more about the DeeVine Warrior Be Your Own Hero workshop, check it out at the link below
You don't need to be a certain age to have experienced "IT".
IT, being a devastating heartbreak, an obstacle that you feel you will never get past, a detachment from your authentic self, a life changing challenge, a game-changer, an event that is forever etched into your memory due to the overwhelming and uncontrollable feeling of loss, a plot twist, a fork in the road - whatever you want to call it. The label you put on this earth-shattering moment doesn't matter.
If you've experienced one of those moments in life, not just a temporary little troubled moment, but one where the enormity of IT feels like four walls are closing in around you, the burden of your world is falling down on you threatening to engulf you, crush you until you cannot breathe.....then you will understand the following three words:
ATTITUDE. CHANGES. EVERYTHING.
Read it again with the emphasis on the first word
Read it again with the emphasis on the second word.
Then, read it again with the emphasis on the last word.
Those three words hold the underlying message (and a big wake-up call) that you are, whatever and whomever YOU have chosen to be.
It's a liberating yet daunting thing to say to yourself
'I am what I have chosen to be'.
If this statement gives you a sinking feeling, it may mean you have strayed from your authentic self, which in reality, is probably why you had the abovementioned soul-crushing experience.
If you feel as though you don't like what you see right now in your life, then change your attitude, then change those words to 'I WILL BE, what I choose to be from this point forward'.
Not rocket science, is it? But it's as simple as that. When you live your truth, your heart will sing, your soul will feel so full of happiness that it's going to burst, and you'll live with so much joy that you will have enough to share with all who are blessed to be around you.
I can promise you this; if you truly have a positive attitude and you are doing whatever makes your soul happy, you will wake up every single day with a smile on your face, an excitement for what the universe is going to bring you, and what you're going to create with it.
Most of all you will feel the most incredible feeling of gratitude that you have learned the lesson, that lesson being that although you may not be able to control what goes on around you in this world, that indeed it is YOU who decides how you will react to it.
So how do make your attitude more positive, so that your heart sings again? HOW do you create this happiness within? Only you can decide!! (are you beginning to understand the theme here...?) Here's a few tips to get you started though:
1) Decide what you want
Take time out to work out exactly what you want in life. Be clear. Make it measurable.
2) Manifest it
Make it real by not only thinking it, but by saying it out loud, writing it down, telling a friend.
Perhaps try using your imagination and envision what you wish for, place it in your hand, lift it high, close your eyes and imagine it coming true, really visualize it. Then hold your hand in front of your lips and blow your dreams gently out into the universe
3) Show gratitude
Choose to be grateful for the little things that you already have. Those things that bring you happiness, no matter how small they may be. Perhaps it's being grateful for having a friend you can tell anything to, without being judged. Maybe it's noticing the tiny green buds on a stark winter tree, knowing they will soon come into their time. Or simply having shoes to wear, and food on the table.
YOU decide if you will drown in the hard times, or fight with all your strength and willpower to claw your way back up and shine again like the amazing being that you are. Use the tough times to learn, to grow and to create your own future.
Do it. Don't wait for the epic event, prepare yourself now.
Find what makes your soul happy, and do that. And remember
You are powerful
You are worthy
You are loved
You are capable
You are important
You are beautiful
You are ..... whatever you chose to be.
Simply have a good attitude and let karma do the rest, because do you know what happens when you have a good attitude? Your thoughts will begin to shift and change. You will take ownership and you will create your own happiness. And ..... it will be amazing.
The goodness in me, honours the goodness in you
The DeeVine Yogi
"If you are kind people will accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten. Do good anyway"
Such truth she spoke.
Bitterness blinds one from the goodness in others.
It will eat you up inside, it will tarnish your ability to be understanding, reasonable, and rational.
No one of us is better than, or more important than another. We are all equal.
We all experience exhilarating highs, and soul crushing lows.
We all have days when we are cynical and over-sensitive, we all have days where we feel like the world is at out feet and we can conquer anything.
For one to judge another and make illogical accusations when they are vulnerable, is unconscionable.
Not one of us has never experienced regret or guilt for making a mistake, or saying the wrong words.
Not one of us has never had the opportunity to experience the utter bliss of complete joy and happiness.
How amazing does acceptance, and love, and joy feel? Perhaps we should embrace these traits more, and let go of the opposite.
Humankind would be a lot more 'human-kind' if we consciously looked for the goodness in others, rather than waiting to pounce on the mistakes, weakness or momentary vulnerability.
There's no competition. There will be no winner. Not one of us will reach the end of time and say "ha! I was the most perfect human, I made no mistakes, not a single one".
Imagine if every one of us showed compassion and empathy for others, instead of trying to tear one another down, surely this world would be a more peaceful place.
We all have the ability to be kind. We all crave to be loved by another.
Perhaps it really is this simple:
Drop the broken pieces you're holding on to.
Release the bitter thoughts and accusations.
Wash away the negative, tainted eyes of past experience and begin to see the goodness in others. And in ourselves.
If we all did this...just imagine!
If you're a new to yoga, you may be a bit overwhelmed by the different yoga accessories on the market now, but the great thing is, with yoga becoming increasingly popular, there are more styles, varieties, and colors of yoga accessories than ever before. Here are some of the most common yoga accessories that are a good investment for anyone from a novice yogini to an advanced practitioner:
Yoga mat. Before you attempt yoga poses, make sure you've purchased a yoga mat or are going to a yoga studio such as DeeVine Studio, where you can borrow one. The no-slip surface will help to prevent injuries while you're holding poses. Depending on the type of yoga you practice, you may opt for an extra thick mat or, if you're especially tall, an extra long variety of mat. Take advantage of the wide variety of yoga mats on the market to choose the color and style that suits you best.
Yoga block. Made of foam, wood, cork, or bamboo, yoga blocks bolster your hands when you're not flexible enough to touch the floor. The blocks we use at DeeVine Studio are foam. Arms not long enough or flexible enough to reach the floor in triangle pose? Here's where a yoga block comes in handy. They also come in handy for arm balances and restorative backbends, and much more!
Yoga straps. Yoga straps are a wonderful way of increasing resistance, and also for assisting you in poses. For example, you can use the strap to help your hands reach toward your feet in a forward bend, if your fingers can’t reach your toes without assistance. The strap will increase resistance in stronger poses and allow you to challenge yourself without losing your form.
Yoga blankets. Soft and nurturing, blankets are used to lend support in yoga positions, and add extra comfort and warmth during final relaxation. Choose a high quality yoga blanket that will stand up to repeated washing.
Yoga bags. These are usually available in a zippered or drawstring style and are designed to hold your rolled up yoga mat, any props you wish to use, and a number of other personal belongings. Yoga bags are a convenient way to pack up all the things you need so all you have to do on your way out to class is grab your yoga bag.
So that is just a quick run-down of the most simple yoga props. All of these items except the bags, are available at our online shop at https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=155655
FIVE *FREAKIN AWESOME* responses that every yogi can give to the next person who asks why you’re going to yoga....again
1 Because I freakin’ deserve it!
I work hard, seriously. We all do, no matter if we have a desk job, or a stay at home parent. We all work long hours, take difficult phone calls, email, try hard to keep calm when we face challenging situations, dealing with different personalities of colleagues, resolving conflict, writing reports, cleaning up after everyone else...and the list goes on. Everyone has different ways they relax or find their reward. Some people prefer to go out and party, some will love dancing until the early hours of the morning. But some of us love our time on the mat, or in meditation. So when I work my butt off in my professional life, I’m going to need to find something to help me chill out at the end of the day. If that means I have one hour a day on the mat, I’ll darn-well seize the opportunity! Namaste!
2 Others will benefit from me feeling more relaxed...
After I practice, I will be calm, relaxed and open to anything else you want us to do together. My levels of oxytocins will be soaring, and the feel-good endorphins that will be floating around inside me will be so amazing that I’m likely to say yes to anything else you suggest for the following few hours (although I probably should’t have told you that....)
3 Yoga is a kick-ass way to feel happy!
Not only can yoga make us feel fantastically joyous, but a a regular practice can reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, increase lung capacity, and help treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and particularly, depression.
The evidence is growing week by week, that yoga works just as effectively as antidepressants in some situations. In a study(Article A) at India’s National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, 137 individuals with non-suicidal depression were offered three treatment options: yoga with an antidepressant, yoga alone, or an antidepressant alone. Although more than half chose the latter, 26% opted for yoga plus medication, and 17% opted for yoga alone.
Both yoga groups took part in 12 sessions over the course of a month, each led by a yoga therapist with a graduate degree in that discipline. A couple of booster sessions were provided over the next two months as well. Plus, the yoga groups were encouraged to practice daily at home.
All three treatment groups were less depressed by the study’s end, but the two yoga groups were doing better than the medication alone group. Because participants weren’t randomly assigned to their groups, however, it’s impossible to draw firm conclusions about the relative merits of yoga and antidepressants. Perhaps the most motivated individuals—and therefore those most likely to recover—were more apt to sign up for yoga practice. Article A:: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24049201
4 Yoga is scientifically proven to keep my mind sharp
In research presented at the November 2013 Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, Changal Villemure and Catherine Bushnell (National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine in Bethesda) explain that yoga is scientifically proven to alter your state of mind in a positive way. The outcomes from MRI scans showed that the people who regularly practiced yoga had more gray matter (brain cells) that those who were the control subject.
Yogis had larger brain volume in the somatosensory cortex, which contains a mental map of our body, the superior parietal cortex, involved in directing attention, and the visual cortex, which Villemure postulates might have been bolstered by visualization techniques. The hippocampus, a region critical to dampening stress, was also enlarged in practitioners, as were the precuneus and the posterior cingulate cortex, areas key to our concept of self. All these brain areas could be engaged by elements of yoga practice, Villemure says. The yogis dedicated on average about 70 percent of their practice to physical postures, about 20 percent to meditation and 10 percent to breath work, typical of most Western yoga routines.
5 You really don’t want to bump into me, when I've missed my yoga class
Just trust me on that one. Namaste!
PHOTOS BY NICHOLA TUCKER PHOTOGRAPHY
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dee Reynolds owns a multi-award winning yoga and holistic wellness studio in the stunning wine region, McLaren Vale, in South Australia. Dee has a passion for developing and presenting yoga-based self-esteem building programs for adults and children, which have resulted in winning regional, state and national awards for her entrepreneurship Dee is widely acclaimed for her business mentoring courses. On a personal level, yoga has sustained Dee and kept her mind and body strong as she battles an incurable, chronic and degenerative disease – young onset parkinsons disease. Whilst Dee finds peace in arm balances and inversions, she struggles to walk. She calls it “the magic of the mat”.
Confession: I have fallen in love.
I’m married, but I’m not talking about my husband.
I’m head over heels with my other love. Is it bad, that I don’t feel even the tiniest bit of guilt?
It started as a little crush, a curious and inquisitive fascination. Then turned to an occasional fling about 15 years ago. Over the last few years, the intensity has grown and I cannot deny it, it’s time to confess. I know now, that this love is forever.
I couldn’t help myself, how could I, when this other love does so much for me.
Here I will openly express what my feelings are, no longer hide my love away. I feel it’s time to confess. So I’m taking a big breath....and sharing this truth
So, I wrote a gratitude poem, for my other love:
Thank you for always, being there for me
Through the highs and the lows, of the ever-changing me
I’m grateful you are my one confidant
You always give me just what I want
I know you believe in whatever I say
Words spoken in whispers, you’ll never betray
You’re my soft place to fall, my strength to try again
My calm and my centre, my stillness, my zen
You’re my shoulder to cry on, my safe place to rest
My place to let go, because you always know best
You’re support has been limitless, through injury, illness and more,
Your touch heals my pain, when I’m broken and sore
When I’ve fallen down, felt weakness and shame
You show me no judgement, you don’t care what ‘they’ say
I always feel amazing, when you are beneath
Your touch on my skin, brings balance and peace
When life overwhelms me, I come and find you
I know you support me, no matter what I do
You never forsake me for one prettier than I
I know you are mine until I choose our goodbye
You’ve shown me empathy, I know you understand
You’ve seen me in every position, known to man
You heighten my awareness, make me joyful and light
You’ve changed how I see things, not my vision – but my insight
You bring me back to earth when I lack muladhara
You teach me wise lessons, the niyamas, and the yamas
You nurture my body in every position selected
You accept and forgive me, even when you’re neglected
You’ll never be unfaithful, I know that you’ll stay
You’re there through the dark times, and in the bright light of day
I could never repay you for being the key
To the happiness and joy that I know feel within me
Being with you every day has become more than just lust
To you I surrender, my commitment, my trust
You’ve given me a mantra that has become my own truth
Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu
PS My other love has a name, incase you’re wondering.
mat. Not Matt. Just mat.
You may like to read that again now.