A Story Wrapped in Parkinson’s Disease

Years ago I worked with an older man who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. He’d been living with the disorder for several years and suffered from extreme writhing movements. He continually twisted and squirmed from side to side in an uncontrollable fashion. It’s an uncomfortable situation to be in the presence of this dyskinetic movement, but imagine how he feels? The only way he was able to find relaxation was puttering around the house or roaming the garden. As long as he kept himself in constant motion he felt better, calmer inside.

I was hired to do a physical therapy evaluation and write up an exercise plan in order to help him maintain his range of motion and physical strength. What I love, and is also the most rewarding aspect of my job, is having the opportunity to speak with people. And not only speaking with people but being granted access to understand and become a part of their lives so that they may have a fuller and more enriched life. I’ve discovered that people wrap their life experiences inside their body causing energetic blocks thus stopping the healthy current of energy. These negative emotions begin to strip the cells of liveliness and manifest themselves into an undesired diagnosis.

One day, I asked this sweet man about his life. He’d been married for quite some time, no children and retired from his career. He liked talking to me, but he didn’t like exercising so we both decided to stop and sit at the dining room table. I explained to him that I believed people stored pent up emotion inside their physical body and that it’s crucial to unravel the story in order to find peace. As he sat in the chair, severely swinging and twisting, he paused to look at me, shook his head and agreed. At times I thought he was going to fall off the chair or hit his arm on the table, but he continued to manage.

“Oh, I have a story,” he said as he looked at me with deep sadness dulling his eyes. His chin pointed downward as his milky orbs looked up at me. I was enthralled with our conversation and felt so present and connected within that moment of what I can only describe as something similar to grace. “I was eight-years-old, and I was in a concentration camp.” My heart sank as his lips began to tremble. He had to stop and take a breath. I looked at his wife and she gave a slight shake of her head as though to signal that this had been decades of hurt bottled up and that I was his guide for release. When my eyes returned to my client he had become motionless. His torso was rigid and upright, his arms lay along the table while his head and eyes pierced straight through me.

He was still.

“This is your biography. The one that sits inside and can guide you to peace.” I said. I was elated to help and assist him, hearing all he had to share, but just when my hope began to swell he dropped his head and shook it lightly from side to side. He whispered, “no.” And in that moment it was like a tornado had entered the room, rounding up all of the energy, from the ground up, and becoming encapsulated within his form. His torso began twisting while his head swung insuppressibly. The story was too painful, too thick. He couldn’t do it. I was quietly tearful that he held such a painful story inside, but in that moment I learned to surrender. Everyone learns in his or her own time, whether in this life or the next. It’s not mine to fix. I’m just here to open the door, to be the witness or the observer.

When I drove home I continued to feel a transcending grace I had never experienced, a gift. In front of my very eyes I had met a man who agreed that he held a painful story inside and was irrevocably connected to it. In that brief moment I saw the peace, and more importantly, I felt it. He was my teacher. He confirmed for me the theory I had been swimming in. We have the ability to heal and cure all things, however we must have the courage to walk through the darkness as well.

I believe in people. Do you?


Xx- g.