I have experienced the same enhanced creativity
as others. After being diagnosed 10 years ago I
was laid off from my job after 9/11. It was during
this time I began to use my father’s tools he left
me and started building things out of wood.
So far I’ve built two blanket chests, one for
my daughter, another for my wife, a toy chest
for my niece, an outdoor barbecue table and
a kitchen center island. In addition, I completely
tore down our old deck and rebuilt it with
composite boards, added all new vinyl railings
and topped it off with deck lights.
These things never entered my mind before being
diagnosed. It seems my mind is always dreaming up
things to build. Why is that?
What a fascinating and very exciting story.
Here is what I suspect might be happening.
I believe everyone has an inherent passion
to create whether it is a new idea, furniture,
art, comedy – the list is endless.
If I have been unable to create something
new for even a day, I begin to have an empty
feeling deep inside. It is a familiar feeling, a
sense of sorts that I am wasting my life.
When I can write as I am now, my juices
flow. My energy expands. My steam for
living bursts at the seams.
For many of us, there is too little opportunity for
creativity to have a place in our lives. Jobs,
family or other commitments have a way of
commanding our energy.
The body will find a way to insist on finding ways
and time to be creative. If we do not allocate the
time and space for our own creativity to surface,
our body will give us a reason to make it so.
What does our body do? It sends us a
clear signal to slow down, change our
habits and do things differently out
of necessity. If the choice were up to
us we would not change but our bodies
demand to be heard.
The symptoms of Parkinson’s slow
down the time spent on effort that does not
feed our creative addiction, making it possible
for the creative juices to ferment.
This in no way implies that we were uncreative
previously, but the focus of the creative activity
shifts. Let me explain.
Innovation versus Creativity
One form of creativity is to be innovative which
involves generating creative ideas and applying
them to a specific context. With innovation the
problem is clearly defined and the solution set is
This form of creativity takes a given problem
or challenge and solves it. For example, how
do I invent a car that runs on water? Or,
how do I motivate my secretary to come to
work on time? Or, how do I fix my clothes
washing machine that is so old the part I
need is out of stock?
When lives are busy and demanding, a
second form of creativity lies dormant just below
the surface of our consciousness. It waits
for a chance – any chance – to pop out and
claim its birth right to be heard.
This is the form of raw creativity where something
entirely new pops out of our brains for no
reason whatsoever. There is no pre-defined
problem to solve. There is no deadline to
Instead there resides a massive body
of creative urges and ideas deep inside
each of us that are patiently waiting
their time to be acknowledged.
The Process of Creativity
What is the process that makes this
happen? Control does not work. If you try
to order the creative ideas to reveal
themselves they will drill a hole even
deeper into your sub conscious and
cuddle up for the long haul.
Using brute force to unlodge creative
thoughts does not work. You will have
just as much luck trying to break
through the walls of Fort Knox with a
jack hammer. Setting a schedule
for creative ideas to be revealed
does not work. Creativity does not
obey a time schedule.
Enough. How do thoughts that seemingly
have no origin or history find their way
out of our own consciousness? How will
we know them when we see them?
They are revealed in their own time and
place as we quiet down the mind babble
that controls our lives. They pop out in the
most unexpected ways during the moments
of living when we are at peace with ourselves.
We become creative when we quiet the chatter
of our minds and allow the part of us we
have stuffed for too many years to emerge.
It is the ultimate calling to become whole again.
For many people this opportunity comes because
our bodies make us slow down the quick pace of
activity and force us to take in the mysteries
of the world. We appreciate our friends and
spouses in new ways. We see life differently.
Once the feverish activity of our minds
slows to a snail’s pace the creative juices
begin to percolate. At long last we recognize
a good idea when it pops out of our minds
because we can feel the surge of energy
that bubbles up from inside.
The same creative ideas may have peeked
around the corner to be noticed by us before,
but we were too busy to notice. The faucet
of adrenaline was wide open and all of the
associated hormones were being manufactured
by our body 24-7. No rest for the restless.
To summarize, the symptoms of Parkinsons
slow down the pace of life. An opening is
created for the creative juices to flow and the
fresh ideas to be noticed. We begin to do
things we have always wanted to do in
our lives, but did not know it until now.
We stuffed the creative urges before because
there was no time. But now, with a little
more space for new things to happen,
we become whole again.
I am Like My Father
There is a second part of your story that I also
want to acknowledge. Whether your father is
still living or not, his presence and energy is
embodied in the tools you are using. They
were his tools. Now they are your tools.
As his son, you are connecting with him in the
most profound way. His hands guide your work
and keep you safe. After all, you are his son.
He gave you life. All of his wisdom lives through
you. You carry on the tradition of all the
fathers in the family.
As men we all need to feel the support of
our fathers. When we genuinely receive
and accept that support, we come into
our full creative power. We are able to
manifest our dreams.
When we take in the support of our father,
we are also receiving the support of all the
fathers who came before him – all our
grandfathers, great grandfathers, great
great grandfathers that go back in time
generation after generation.
I have personally noticed a profound
shift in my own energy and attitude
toward life after I fully took in the
support from my own father. I had
resisted his support for years, having
convinced myself I could do everything
on my own. I distanced myself from
him. It is much easier and more truthful
to acknowledge and honor the truth
that I am just like him.
Anyone else have stories of how their own
creativity has shifted since Parkinson’s?
Robert Rodgers, Ph.D.
© 2008 Parkinsons Recovery