(Meh)ditation and me or…I hate yoga

Apple – check. Ditto, small white handkerchief. The year is 1973, and I’m a newly minted college grad, about to embark on what will turn out to be a lifetime effort to meditate successfully. The apple and hankie we were told to bring with us to the lesson. This will be their last appearance in this post because i cannot recall their role in my instruction.

I’m prompted to make meditation a regular practice because a) I feel inept, out of sorts, and any number of unwanted emotions much of the time and b) the oldest story – because of a guy. He may be a tale for another day, but for now I’ll just say that I fell for an Eastern-religions-inclined man during college for whom meditation played a key role in his physical, spiritual and emotional well-being. I’d lost touch with him by the time of my training, and I suppose that my effort to follow in his spiritual footsteps was a way to feel connected to him despite his absence from my life.

We were told at the session that meditation would lead us to “right action,” meaning our heads would be so straightly screwed on that we’d usually do the correct thing. This especially appealed to me and still does. The only other thing I recall from my inculcation was my mantra. We were told never to reveal it to anyone, but I may have given it to one of my kids in some long-ago effort to calm them down. I believe i felt a little guilty about it, as if I’d betrayed some sacred trust. In any case, I will not be revealing it here.

I took my meditation seriously for a while, though I’ll confess to a considerable amount of difficulty keeping my “monkey mind” focused. I’m sure I have undiagnosed ADD.

I meditated on and off for years, well, actually, decades. But I felt I never got the hang of it, my mind wandering off into countless fruitless directions. I tried an online program, and then another highly recommended by a friend. Neither took hold.

And then there’s yoga. There’s less of a story here. All there is to say is that I’ve tried yoga several times, and it hurt, and it was hard. I hated it.

But then….along came Parkinson’s. And, besides exercise, what do you suppose are two of the most frequently recommended practices for keeping disease progression at bay? Yup, meditation and yoga. i learned this early on in my diagnosis, and cringed at the notion of having to incorporate one or both of these practices into my routine.

Besides, I was already doing plenty, Parkinson’s-wise. A weekly dance class. I never miss Saturday ‘s boxing class. Singing and dancing. If you don’t believe me, here’s proof. Lots of walking; I shoot for an hour a day at least. I’ve just acquired a stationery bike, which means I’ve really upped the ante on aerobics.

Giving up dairy. I mean, no more cheese? Come on. And yet, I’ve been a dutiful patient; ricotta and brie are off the menu (mostly).

And today, I made an important decision. No more expectation that I will be a fully engaged meditator, though I imagine I’ll dip my toe into those waters occasionally. I think almost fifty years represents a fair effort. And now, I’m sort of throwing in the gamucha (lBengali for towel).

As for yoga, well, I hope it won’t take fifty years, but there is a a local yoga class designed specifically for people with Parkinson’s. I don’t have fifty years to decide whether it’s right for me or not, but I’m willing to give it at least a few weeks.


Not a bot

Yep, I’m a real human being, churning out words to amuse myself and maybe even you too.

But sometimes I wish In could just turn over this wordsmithing to someone else. Because sometimes I am just too damn tired.

Since such a someone else does not exist, I’ll do the next best thing. I will remind you of what you may have missed when you just didn’t make it to the blog.

If you’ve already read these, skip ’em or read ’em again. And if they don’t sound familiar, check ’em out for the first time.

I hope that whatever you read, you find yourself broadened, informed, entertained, uplifted ….or all of the above. Happy reading!

One last point…if something you read really resonates with you, or you think a friend might appreciate a particular topic, you have my permission to forward any post at all. Seriously, I won’t mind!

Creepy-crawlies Under My Skin
What it feels like to have Parkinson’s Disease

Final Jeopardy
How to inquire about someone’s health. Or when not to.

Dan Levy Saved My Life
What if you can’t bear to listen to or read the news anymore?

Singin’ in the Rain
Feel better! Sing!

Singing and dancing away my Parkinson’s
You can never have too much singing! Therefore, I bring my captive audience (you!) a chronically ill older woman (me!) singing and dancing to slow down the disease progression. Even if it doesn’t work, it’s fun!

To reveal or not to reveal
A Parkinsonian surprise leads our blogger to wonder just how open she’s prepared to be.

Cruisin’…..or maybe not
My curiosity about cruises is finally satisfied, and the verdict is in.

Cuppency Gynecup.. Guppen. Pencey (surely that’s a word now).
How often do you grope for a word, and it’s just not there? Is it normal aging, Parkinson’s, or some other nefarious thing?

A funny story about
This isn’t actually funny, but it is meant to help you feel better, especially if you’re experiencing depression connected to your Parkinson’s or another illness. It’s not your imagination, and you are not alone.

Brand new content to follow soon!

Cuppency. Gynecup. Guppen. Pencey (surely that’s a word now).

And these, ladies and gents, are some of the daily determinants of my mental acuity. In other words, the New York Times Spelling Bee puzzle.

But first, I feel compelled to treat (subject?) you to the last batch of France pictures, specifically of the aptly named Nice and nearby Vence.

Promenade des Anglais, the place to see and be seen in Nice

At the beach, which rocks because…it’s 100% rocks
In nearby Vence, home to beautiful Matisse Chapel
Wonderful lunch in charming square in Vence
Do I really need to caption this?

So yeah, I do the “Bee” daily, followed of course by Wordle (I’m better at Bee). The Bee takes my cognitive temperature. If I see that I’ve missed too many obvious words on any given day, I worry.

And then there’s the word retrieval issue. I find myself most likely to be at a loss for just the right word or expression (two word phrases and concepts are much more difficult to come up with than single words) when I’m particularly intent on sounding smart. Wait, smart’s not the right word, since this occurs when I’m conversing with a close friend or family member whom I don’t need to impress. I don’t want them to think I’m “losing it” but I often find myself struggling to get any word or concept out, let alone the one that’s the most apt. As a result, I blurt out nothing remotely intelligent or worse, garbled nonsense. At least, that’s how it sounds to me, since in my head I had something else, something coherent in mind. So basically, there’s a longer than usual voyage between brain and mouth. By the time I get around to saying something, it’s almost just filler, but in any case no longer what I wished to express. Ugh.

What’s difficult is distinguishing between what we’re not supposed to call a disease shared by every single one of my friends – aging – and my Parkinson’s. I have not managed to figure out how to do this and I really don’t have time to go to medical school. What I do believe is that my brain seems fuzzier than my neurotypical friends.’ But is it normal aging, the disease or the meds – or some combination thereof – that has addled and slowed my thought processes?

My friends, mostly in their seventies, share this complaint, but I believe deep down that my case is worse. I’m just not all there. Though there is this:

I was chatting with a friend on the phone and we were both trying to come up with the term for a particular school project our kids did when they were little. We went round and round but were having no luck when it suddenly came to me. “Biography chart!” I yelled. “Yes!!!” my friend yelled back. But we both kinda knew that biography chart wasn’t right. Personally, I prefer it to “family tree.”


The Reboot– a dysfunctional cast reunites in a reboot of their earlier hit sitcom. Lots of fun, especially for fans of Keegan-Michael Key, Rachel Bloom and Johnny Knoxville (I believe he’s someone my kids would know).

Never have I ever – love this series, which follows the travails of awkward teens. The cast and writing (Mindy Kaling!!!!) keep it from becoming hackneyed or saccharine.

Abbott Elementary – This one’s from the teachers’ point of view. Totally charming.