Deeper Meaning Behind Territorial Declarations

What is the deeper meaning behind a mindfulness challenge that asked you to become aware of the territories that you declare for yourself, the labels that you affix to who you are?  Territories are fixed, immutable entities.  They are declarations of how everything should be now.  Territories that are here today however are oftentimes gone tomorrow.

The high school which I attended, Sandy Springs High School in Atlanta, Georgia, no longer exists.  It was torn down and replaced by a Home Depot.  The navy base where I worked as a navy officer in Puerto Rico known as Roosevelt Roads has just been sold to private developers.  The graduate program I attended at Cornell University has been deleted.  It was a Masters of Public Administration in the business school.  They decided that they would only offer a Masters of Business Administration rather than a Masters of Public Administration.  Many of the publishers who’ve published my work no longer exist. They have gone out of business.

Here today. Gone tomorrow.

Our ideas are also territories in themselves.  I have throughout my lifetime possessed many ideas that I was absolutely certain were correct; I knew my thinking was right and the thinking of others was wrong.  I was willing to do anything to assert the righteousness and correctness of my thoughts.  Over time I’ve begun to recognize that many, many – and might I add one more, many – of these ideas have been actually dead wrong.  My thinking was, I must confess––flawed.  What I thought to be true and right as it turns out was just the opposite.

When we get upset about invasions of our territory, we often – and my hand is raised – get angry or irritated.  When my territory is invaded, I feel my blood pressure rise.  I have a chair which I declare to be my chair at the dinner table.  When anyone else sits in it I can feel my blood pressure rise.

Might I now admit, isn’t that reaction absolutely silly?  Consider the many ways territories get invaded.  A neighbor has a dog that barks late at night. The response is to think,

Now, if my neighbor would just move, all of my problems would be solved.” 

Of course we all know deep down inside that this hope is seldom delivered in reality. If the old neighbor does move for whatever reason, the new neighbor might not have any dogs whatsoever, or camels, or deer, but they may like to have parties that go on until two o’clock in the morning.

Are we going to spend our life hoping that someone will leave and die so that our lives will be made perfect?  We may think to ourselves,

“I look 60.” 

What a label for a person who is 40. That is a declaration that certainly is not in their  best and highest good.  The reality is that most of us are very ignorant about our true self.  The self is always changing.  The body is always in flux. And yes – our age is always shifting.

Take an imaginary super-microscope and apply that microscope to any tissues on your body.  You will see a living organism that has many, many living entities that are interacting, interfacing and communicating with one another.  There are billions and billions of life forces contained within our body.  Your body, my body is not the same now as it was when you began to read this presentation.

We are always in flux. We are always changing.

A thought form that says,

“If symptom X or symptom Y or symptom Z will just vanish I will be good to go.”

is the same as imposing a territorial requirement on your body.  Symptoms will emerge and symptoms will vanish.  Our bodies are in continuous flux.  Our bodies do tend to push out of balance during one point of the day or another.  There are biorhythms that we must respect.  There are cycles of sugar levels in our body that are always moving upward and downward as a function of what we are ingesting.

The body may be able to vanish symptoms, but your kidneys, liver and heart will likely be compromised! That is certainly a side effect no one wishes to experience.

Reifying and concretizing a sense of self only creates anxiety, stress and suffering.  Acknowledge and accept that your body is a miracle, always able to respond and adjust, though at times those responses and those adjustments may create pain, discomfort and even emotional uncertainty.  Respect the self as a living, mutable, gorgeous entity that is changing moment by moment.  Becoming mindful of the current situation (rather than labeling it) reduces anxiety, releases stress and ensures that symptoms are unable and unlikely to flare.

Enjoy the rest of the week as you become more and more mindful of all of the territories that you declare for yourself, of all of the anger and irritation that arises when those territories are invaded.  I say again, much of what I was certain is true turns out not to be true today.

I admit at this place and this time and this hour that much of what I think in this hour may also prove to be untrue and false.

  • May my thoughts be fluid.
  • May they be agile.
  • May I accept my body as a creative entity able to respond to whatever challenges it confronts.

The mantra of the week is –

In this space of fluidity, of flexibility, of malleability, of openness to change, of being in the moment

I declare here and now to be in the present, celebrating all that the present entails.

Becoming mindful is the gateway to true health and wellness.


© Parkinsons Recovery

How Do You Define Your Territory?

My challenge for you this week is to become aware and mindful of how you define the territory that is yours and yours alone. More specifically, how do you label and define who you are and how do you assert and declare ownership of very specific places on this earth.  Some examples will help and by way of introduction. The challenge of the week is not about being aware so you can stop labeling yourself or defining yourself. We all have labels.  It is becoming mindful and aware of what labels we attach to ourselves and what territories we associate ourselves with.

Do you tend to think of yourself as a:

  • Conservative or Liberal?
  • Democrat or Republican? 
  • East coast or a West coast or Midwest or Southwest person or none of these?

When people ask, “what do you do” what is your answer? A

  • Mother
  • Housewife
  • House husband
  • Professor
  • Politician
  • Lawyer
  • Artist
  • Researcher
  • Plumber
  • Salesperson

What do you say when asked, “What do you do?”  Do you say

“I’m retired?” 

Do you say,

“I’m between jobs?”

What is the label that you most closely associate with? How do you respond when you are ask this question?  When people ask me this question I tend to slip myself into different categories depending on the situation. I think of myself as a researcher. I think of myself as a writer. I think of myself as a facilitator or mediator. There are many, many other labels that I identify with.

The second component of defining your territory and becoming mindful of how you stake out your territory is to become aware of those special places that you declare to be yours and yours alone.  Perhaps:

  • A special chair that you and only you are allowed or invited to sit in. 
  • A desk that is yours, not a shared desk. 
  • A walking route that you take which is patently yours. 
  • A table at a restaurant––when you walk in you are bound and determined to wait for a very specific table because that happens to be your personal table.
  • A lane on the expressway that is your lane and not to be shared with anyone else. 
  • A chair at your own dinner table or breakfast table.

What is your territory and how do you define it?

In some ways I am inviting you this week to become a two-year-old who is very assertive and vocal about their territory.  When certain toys are thought to be the two-year-old’s toys, they will very loudly and profusely declare, “Mine.”

The invitation this week then is become aware of the territory that you declare for yourself.  The deeper meaning of this exercise will be revealed in just four days from now.  May you have a delightful time becoming aware of how you define your territory.


© Parkinsons Recovery

Deeper Meaning Behind Noticing Blue

I am quite sure that you are wondering

“What in the world is the underlying meaning behind the little simple task of noticing the color blue?” 

This particular task allows each of us who engage this mindfulness exercise to turn off the switch and the unhealthy program of negative thoughts that happens to be running inside our minds. Most of us have a program that continuously runs second after second; we are always churning the same worrisome thoughts, the same concerns.  We find that we are nurturing stress because we simply can’t change the channel. We cannot find a way to switch to another screen.  How in the world do we do that then?

Some people simply try to stop thinking unhealthy thoughts since there is little doubt which thoughts are healthy and which thoughts are not. This strategy can work for a few seconds but usually the thoughts will immediately creep back in.  An easier way – and I might add a more fruitful and enjoyable way – is to literally switch into an entirely different program that is not only unfamiliar, but quite simple to do.

The program this week is to notice the color blue.  It switches the program that you are habitually run over and over in your mind. Instead of churning the very same concerns and thoughts and worries that are promulgating stress throughout all the tissues of your body, you literally switch that program off.  It is as if you are a computer and you are saying to yourself,

“This program is not going to be running today.  Today we’re going to be turning on a different program to run our thoughts.” 

The program that you turn on turns out to be a harmless – and I might add somewhat mindless program – of noticing a very specific color.  In this case, the magnificent color of blue.  Becoming mindful of a very specific color will do just that.  It switches off one screen, it turns off one program and it turns on another program which is positive, interesting, enjoyable, fun and energizing.

There is another important reason why blue has a magnificent value to each of us.  The fifth chakra is located in the throat. It supports and nurtures our voice.  The equivalent color of the fifth chakra turns out to be blue.  When I say equivalent color I’m also talking about the frequency that is associated with the throat and fifth chakra.

Some people with Parkinson’s confront challenges with vocalization––with being able to talk clearly and coherently.  Noticing the color blue is an indirect way of healing a chakra at the fifth level (which spins at the center of the throat) that may be spinning erratically and chaotically. If the spin is not wide and smooth, the organs associated with the throat are not able to function properly. When you connect with the color blue you resonate with the frequency that is the equivalent of the color blue. In so doing, you entrain that fifth chakra to stop the wobbling, to stop the skirting from side to side and to enact an even, smooth and nurturing movement that circles around evenly and gently so that your voice can be heard loudly and clearly.  The color blue is healing for just this reason.

As you were searching for blue these past few days you were also connecting and resonating with the equivalent frequency of blue. You were also nurturing your fifth chakra back to full health and wellness.

Have you noticed that your ability to speak has been enhanced as you have been the detective on the search for the color blue?  That is why.  Oftentimes an innocent task can yield enormous dividends and returns.

Have fun as you continue to be a detective searching everywhere you encounter for the color blue.  You have the potential of achieving two important outcomes: nurturing thoughts that are good for your health and healing a voice that can be heard by all.


© Parkinsons Recovery

Notice Blue

The mindfulness challenge this week is to become a detective wherever you happen to find yourself – whether it is inside a familiar room or outside in a place you have never visited – to notice and acknowledge the color blue wherever you encounter it.

By a detective I mean the following. As you move from one place to the next, focus your attention on searching for the color blue.  Anything counts––pictures, carpets, leafs, flowers, hairs of people that have been colored blue, cars, buildings, products in stores, clothes, lipstick, the sky, crayons, food…  Maintain a watchful gaze wherever you find yourself.  Acknowledge and notice the color blue.

A companion challenge (if you decide to accept the challenge to notice the color blue) is to keep a count of the number of objects that contain blue throughout the week.  Each day, begin the count with the number one and increment the count with each new object that you find which contains blue.  Don’t count on a piece of paper.  Count in your mind.

What in the world is the reason for keeping a count in your mind each day?  It forges new neural networks.  If you forget the count at 1:30 in the afternoon and think to yourself,

“Oh my gosh, I can’t believe I can’t remember the count from earlier today.”

Do not worry or fret about it.  The effort of simply trying to keep count actually works just as well in creating new neural networks.  It is engaging the effort of trying that makes the difference.

By the end of the day you will have a total count to acknowledge as you close your eyes for bed.  Whatever that final tally may be – whether 24, 82, 109 or 1,022 – close your eyes and celebrate your success with keeping count from the beginning to the end of the day. Acknowledge the beauty and wonders of the world as it is exhibited through the magnificent color of blue.


© Parkinsons Recovery