Lori and I talked a great deal about how she thinks about fighting Parkinson’s. She fights it with her whole life – mind, body and soul. While that is a very hard concept to wrap the mind around, the best way she could make me understand was the metaphor of a wheel. All of her efforts combine to crush down on her enemy with the rim of this wheel. Every spoke of the wheel contributes to the crushing power of the rim to fulfill Lori’s goal of living a full, normal, joyful and healthy life. Lori’s wheel has five spokes: medicine; friends and family; caregivers; exercise, diet and sleep; and attitude and spirituality. The beauty of this metaphor is that all five spokes work together. There is no hierarchy; each spoke is as important as all the others.
My daughter who is training to teach yoga was really taken by this metaphor. She explained that yoga teaches a wheel of life broken into eight parts. It is important to have all eight parts in balance. Although Lori talks about five parts, there are really eight. One spoke is friends and family, another exercise, diet and sleep. If you separate those, Lori’s wheel has eight parts too.
Moreover, Lori’s eight-fold wheel has parallels with the yoga wheel. For the yoga wheel’s recreation, Lori’s wheel has exercise. For community, Lori has friends. For health, eastern and western medicine; for relationships, family; for personal growth, attitude; both have spirituality. They differ in that the yoga wheel has career and money while Lori has diet and sleep. That is quite a substitution.