Sculptures depicting Janus, the Roman god of doorways, show it with two faces peering in opposite directions: backward and forward. In January, which is named after Janus, we do just that. This is the traditional time to be poised in the corridor between old and new, recalling what was as well as watching for what will be.
Many yoga poses involve opposites. We lengthen the spine through the crown of our heads and ground our selves through our feet. We stretch up while pressing down into the mat. It is as though we’re reaching our fingertips toward the future while planting our heels in the past.
Reflection and planning are necessary parts of our lives, but each day – each moment – is a threshold, an entry, a gate.
A New Year of living with a movement disorder translates into twelve new months stretching before us with known and unknown symptoms. Like one half of Janus, let’s watch over each month, careful to remember that we have our limits. But let’s also gaze out with the other half into the open door each month holds for us:
Join in: Attend a support group, a sing-along, a lecture on PD.
Friend: If Facebook can use this as a verb, so can we: Friend someone by reaching out to mentor someone newly diagnosed or to open up to someone if you’re newly diagnosed.
Make something: Tap into your creative side: paint, take photos, scrapbook, sketch, compose a poem.
Advocate. April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness month. Go to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation web site or the American Parkinson Disease Association web site for ideas on how to advocate in your area.
Mourn. We’ve lost much with this disease. It’s okay to grieve. Afterwards, listen to the spring birds and breathe in the spring air and move on. Our time is limited; let’s not spend too much of it in mourning.
Jump. Seriously. Jumping jostles the brain (in a good way), stimulates our joints, and makes us feel like a kid. Why not jump?
Jazz up: Try something new: red lipstick, a potted geranium on an empty windowsill, sprinkles on your ice cream. It’s summer.
Appreciate. Peaches are in season in New England. That’s reason enough to give thanks. And though we’ve lost much, let’s recognize all the good stuff, too: kids, puppies, smiles, peaches, peach ice cream, peach cobbler. Did I mention peaches?
Smile: Not only will someone appreciate it (see August), it feels good.
Opt to stay positive. It’s tough, especially in the middle of the night when trying to little or no avail to simply turn in bed, especially when the meds wear off while out in public, especially when buttoning a shirt becomes daunting, try to keep a sense of humor. Laughter is good medicine. Maybe not as good as Sinamet, but just as necessary.
Never give up hope. Better treatments are out there. Exercise (yoga!) and supplements can be effective in keeping symptoms at bay. Talk to your doctor, PT, support group. Consider volunteering for a research trial. Stay informed. Never give up hope.
Dance. It feels good. Studies suggest that dance helps calm tremors and relieve freezing gaits. Besides, it feels good. And, you’ve a New Year to look forward to.
Enjoy your year.