The next hill

December 4, 2023

When I go hiking or just a walk around the neighborhood, I rarely think about traversing the hill at the end. There is nothing to gain by ruminating about how it will be painful and prolonged. Instead, I think about my next few steps, breathing vitality into everything surrounding me.

Living in the present is a much-discussed concept that travels deep into the soul. I only began to realize this as my Parkinson’s symptoms started to accelerate nine years after deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery, when it dawned on me that dwelling on future physical decay isn’t exactly conducive to a life of joyful peace.

I’ve come to think of life as walking on a conveyor belt: how fast you move toward an inevitable end (i.e., death) might be partly in a person’s control, but even if you come to a complete stop, you will still be moving to the same end. The faster we accept this truism, the sooner we can enjoy the peace and joy of the present moment. Fighting back at Parkinson’s while accepting the steady loss of capability does not alter the eventual outcome, nor should it change our capacity to feel joy and happiness.

By concentrating on what you are doing at any particular part of the day, whether exciting, uncomfortable, or boring, there is always something funny about the situation. The universe thrives on irony. Recognizing this trait as intrinsic to all aspects of form lightens life’s mood, making the trip bearable and fun, and promotes living in the moment on a deeper level than mantras or blanket positivity.

The home of resilience and grit, irony is a sure sign that you are living in the moment, always moving toward the light.

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