In Search of Acceptance: Starting Small

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by Dr. C |

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Researchers have said that combining acceptance with meditation works better than meditation alone. That sounds like a fantastic idea. I’ve been having trouble with meditation ever since the ruin of stagnation. Maybe if I search for and discover how to combine acceptance with meditation, it will make a difference in my pursuit of well-being. The research supports this approach.

It’s winter and we are barricaded in our house by 6-foot snowbanks. Getting out to my sanctuary in the garden and the forest is almost impossible. Without a physical sanctuary, it’s difficult for my mind to find peace. But I’m going to give this “acceptance” idea serious consideration.

Family members have said to me, “You’re disabled. Accept it and get on with your life.” It can’t be that hard. I just need to say to myself, “Accept your chronic disease, and accept your vision loss.” With a pint of ice cream in hand, I repeat this acceptance mantra. Half an hour later, with the ice cream gone, I feel nothing from the mantra. But there is a touch of pleasure from the ice cream devoured.

It doesn’t seem right to tell myself that I accept everything about my chronic disease and vision loss. Repeating the “mantra” turned me into a zombie. It’s an outright lie. I don’t accept everything as it currently stands, because I believe that the pursuit of wellness contains vast undiscovered territory. My wellness map is only the beginning of the journey. For me to accept everything about my condition feels like resignation, as if I’m giving up and allowing life with Parkinson’s to take over. There must be a better way for me to embrace acceptance.

Pacing the floor and fidgeting with my tablet and video game, I try something different. “I accept that I am responsible for managing how the disease affects my behaviors and how those behaviors affect my quality of life.” This is my new mantra. I repeat these words as often as possible between smashing monsters on my video game. After an hour of mantra repetition, I find no new levels of peace. But I go up a couple of levels in my game, leaving me with a touch of happiness.

Acceptance has this utopian vision connected to its construct. If I can drink successfully from the cup of acceptance, the elixir will help to heal my troubled being. But I don’t even have my hands on the cup — half empty or half full! I put the video game down and pace the floor, wringing my hands, mumbling. With a drink in one hand, I reach for a bowl of chips and miss. Crash! Bowl and chips scatter on the floor.

My partner comes into the room with a worried look. “It’s OK. I can clean that up for you.” I say I’ll get it. I turn without thinking, relying on my body to remember how to move, and reach too quickly for a broom. My body doesn’t engage as fast as my mind and I stumble. She smiles and says calmly, “You seem a little out of sorts. What’s going on?”

I look away from her and my head hangs low. “I’ve been struggling with this idea of acceptance. I just can’t accept everything.”

She comes over and gives me a light hug. “You do tend to overthink things. Just start small. Start with something easy, like accepting mumbles, fumbles, and stumbles. You can say, ‘I accept these things will happen in my life. I will do what I can to decrease their impact. Ultimately, I must accept that these things are happening and will continue to happen.’”

I collapse in my chair almost dumbfounded. “You’re amazing. Acceptance doesn’t have to be this wave that washes everything clean. It’s not about perfection. It’s about baby steps. It’s a calm, meditative acceptance of those small steps: mumbles, fumbles, and stumbles.”

I sink back into my chair and repeat my new mantra between deep meditative breaths. “I accept mumbles, fumbles, and stumbles. I’m doing all that I can using my wellness map.” Gentle peace is discovered in this special combination of acceptance mantra and meditative breath. The two seem to enhance each other — each one acting as a catalyst to the other. It’s an unusual sensation, a soothing comfort lasting for hours — and something that had been undiscovered before I’d written this column.

This is the path of possibilities that runs through my wellness map and leads me to moments of well-being despite the chronic disease.


Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


Derek C Marshall avatar

Derek C Marshall

The root of all unhappiness is desire...or words to that effect. Therefore I desire not to desire...

Violet1956 avatar


I love teaching! I started the school year thinking I have this! I was even doing church nursery and stumbled with my grandchild. Immediately I pulled myself away fearing I can not risk not being able to safely care for babies. Then a pattern started...One day I sat my lunch tray on the table and sat on the floor completely missing the seat. Just one more thing I thought. Fell flat forward at a crosswalk while shopping with my husband one Saturday. Badly bruised and tore clothing. No broken bones. Finally after stumbling/grabbing chairs to keep me from falling (feared I could have hurt a student), being stressed into depression that became daily bought of tears...acceptance became real and I knew I had to take care of my health.

Dr. C avatar

Dr. C

Hi Violet ~ Thanks for reading my columns and checking in on the BioNews Parkinson's News Today website. I write often about the loss and challenges of a "new normal" with Parkinson's and chronic disease. I hope my experiences help you. Acceptance of "what is" and "what has been loss" is difficult for all of us. It sounds like you are ready to be proactive and find compensatory strategies to help you continue to teach. As a teacher myself, I really understand what it is to keep that passion.
Dr. C.


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