“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” -Pablo Picasso
If someone told me my Parkinson’s was all in my head, I just might agree. Because not only does the dopamine-producing mix-up/miscommunication/mishap reside there, so too does my 24/7 symptom awareness factor.
For the first, I take meds. (I also exercise and stay positive. For the times when ‘positive’ can’t be found in my vocabulary, there are brownies. With ice cream.)
For the second, life offers attractions that cut through the haze of perpetual mental check-ins, such as: When did I take my last dose of meds? Will I need to run any errands (or otherwise be required to function in public) during off times? If so, might I encounter someone who views me as walking like a drunk? More importantly, will there be a bathroom nearby? Does that bagel/sandwich/dinner entree have protein in it? Did I replenish my pill case if I need any meds while I’m out?
Yoga can pull me off the gerbil wheel of thoughts. But nothing, not even a brownie sundae, is as effective as art in clearing my head. Whether I’m dabbling in paint, sculpting words into a haiku or baking a new creation, my mind is right there with me focused on color or form.
Recently, when winter winds blew outside, I stepped into the warmth of a downtown museum. My Sunday afternoon escape from the cold doubled as a respite from the old dusty chatter in my head. PD thoughts cleared away as I wandered among rooms lined with works by Rembrandt, Sargent, Matisse. Drawn in to the shadows and highlights, my mind filled instead with the moods and settings inside each frame.
As warmer breezes fill the air, I’m reminded of my favorite aspect of spring: opening the windows and smelling, feeling, nearly tasting the air that’s been locked out all winter. Art is like spring. It’s freshness clears the dust that can settle from day-to-day life with PD.
Want to do some spring cleaning? Mark your calendar: Parkinson’s Arts & Movement Day: May 5, 2012. Parkinson’s Arts & Movement Weekend is scheduled for June 2013. (Both programs are sponsored by the APDA MA Chapter.)