Loving My Parkinson’s Self

Love yourself enough to love others in a way that they feel free, and better for having known you.” Heather Kennedy

Loving oneself first is the hardest. It was hard enough to love myself when I had a slim athletic body I could control. When I had a meaningful career helping children learn to communicate it was hard. When I could ride my horse at a full gallop down a dusty road with half a dozen friends trying to keep up, it was hard to love myself.

If I could not love myself then, how can I love myself now with my stiff and tortured body, a mouth that cannot articulate words much less teach children to speak clearly?  Instead of racing I sit in my rocking chair on the porch and watch my horses lazily grazing in the green pastures my life’s work paid for. No pack of friends is chasing after me now, wanting to live as fast and as furious as I did.

I have to decide each day if I am going to “show up”. I have to make a conscious choice to haul myself out of the wrinkled sheets of restless sleep, to wash last nights dishes with their stuck-on remnants of food and put them away, clean, in the cupboards so I can start fresh. A new day is dawning. I can make the world better by starting with me.

My goal, as the first of the suns rays peek over the horizon is to gather up that light and take it to the world. To give it away in eye contact and heads nods and smiles and the greetings of “howya doing,” in hugs, in messages left to be read later, in handing someone a book, in leaving a friend a treasure from my heart.

To have someone say “I am a better person for knowing you ” and being able to humbly accept that…without saying “no you are the better person,” Then, I will know that I have reached the point of loving myself. And finally, I can truly love others as Heather Kennedy describes so that they feel free, and are better for having known me.

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