The Shaky Times
-- Online Edition --
February 2019
Here's what's below:
February Meeting Speaker

Meditation and Parkinson's Disease:
Looking for Lightness of Being

Deny It - Embrace It - OR??

Alexander Technique Class


Privacy Policy

Information and Resources Library

Meetings, Announcements, and How to Contact Us
February Meeting Speaker

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Presentation: Treasures on the Library Table
Speaker: Janice Ransley, MD

Dr. Ransley is a retired pathologist and member of The Permanente Medical Group. She was Chief of Pathology and Laboratory Director at Kaiser Medical Center South San Francisco. In her retirement from practicing medicine she has been a docent at The Gardens at Heather Farm and the Oakland Museum of California. For the past year she has been library chair for PNMD.

During her presentation Dr. Ransley will discuss the value of books helping those who are impacted by Parkinson's Disease. Some of the books in the library will be highlighted regarding their content and particular value to the reader. She will emphasize how books are still a resource in the digital age.
Meditation and Parkinson's Disease:
Looking for Lightness of Being
Dr. C's Journey with PD
Parkinson's News Today
January 11, 2019

Living with Parkinson’s disease is a struggle against the loss of both  motor and cognitive functions . One must invest effort into an action plan that reduces the impact of the disease — a rehab plan. This effort is daily (sometimes hourly) and can be exhausting
Living with PD is like carrying a large backpack of rocks. It is at times a crushing burden that can overwhelm. Balance needs to be established in my life so that the work I do in fighting the disease does not consume me. I must spend time  looking for lightness of being  to balance out the heavy PD burden. I do this through a regular practice of meditation.

There are many ways to practice meditation: sitting and listening to calming music, sitting and gazing at a fireplace, practicing tai chi, or exercising with  rhythmic breathing . These practices seek to help one enter the quiet mind. It is within the quiet mind that one experiences lightness of being. Meditation helps relieve stress and focus attention — both of which are of benefit to those with PD. There are books providing instructions on how to do this, but none deal directly with PD.

Practicing meditation with PD presents some unique challenges. The meditation practice starts with calming the body, and this is the first obstacle PD complicates. Repetitive motor activities like cycling, tai chi, or gardening are helpful when combined with focused breathwork.

Focused breathwork is  diaphragm breathing  in which you focus your full attention on the breath. Guided meditation, either from a teacher, in person, or from a recording, can help with this process of shifting attention. This shifting of attention is the second obstacle PD complicates.

Once past the first two obstacles, you should feel a little more relaxed. This relaxed state is the path leading to the door into the quiet mind, but I am prevented from going down that path by a third obstacle.

This third obstacle is heightened emotions and difficulty in regulating them. I have written about how PD heightens the impulse signals to the brain. During the meditation process, the signal-to-noise ratio changes, meaning that as one practices quieting the mind, the noise goes down and the signals connected to emotion appear louder.

The quiet mind is a mental state that silences the noise of the world, the body, and the self while at the same time maintaining a sense of peace and safety. It is something I practiced for decades and then lost touch with over the last seven years while battling PD. As my life has become stable, I am now returning to the practice and finding it much more difficult. I feel like a novice struggling with all the obstacles I used to walk around with ease. This third obstacle does impede my looking for lightness of being.

As I have helped patients to find a place of peace and safety, together we would often experience loud emotions. These are emotions connected to things we feel (consciously or subconsciously) that need attention. They are like boulders in the path, looking like obstacles blocking the way forward to the quiet mind. But one can learn to walk around them.
Most of the folks I worked with would have several boulders to walk around and needed multiple sessions to learn how to walk around them.

As I write this, I remember the tender patience I should offer to myself.
Once past the boulders of emotion, you then arrive at the doorstep of the quiet mind. PD has made looking for lightness of being much more difficult for me, but not impossible. I have memories, and recently have felt glimpses of peace and deep calmness.

Seeking lightness of being ties into my New Year’s resolution. For me to  quiet down the old tapes  (emotional boulders in the path), I need to have a new mental state to go to. I can’t just remove the tapes and leave a void, because that void will be quickly filled back in with the old mental habits. Looking for lightness of being will be a lifetime adventure.

What ways do you practice meditation, and how have you found it to be helpful?

Dr. C :I am a retired professor and research scientist along with being an artist, philosopher, writer, therapist and mystic. I am also a husband, father, grandfather, master gardener and Vietnam Vet. All of these roles influence how PD interacts with my life's journey.
Note:  Parkinson’s News Today  is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or  treatment . This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or  treatment . Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of  Parkinson’s News Today  or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.
Deny It - Embrace It - OR?????
By Carol Fisher

As we age, we all begin to experience little signals that tell us things are changing. Even if you don’t have a diagnosis like PD, there comes a time when a kind of shift in thinking, planning and activities seems imminent.

In my work with those with PD and in my life with friends in the same age groups as most of you with PD, there are some things I am noticing. In my experience, it is a rare person who has really examined, addressed and embraced the reality of what is occurring with our health, our age and our lifestyle.

Here’s a list of things to consider. Perhaps, rather than considering this list as a death sentence, it could be considered as your path to peace .

  1. Have a will and make sure that it is completely clear in terms of where your assets go and whatever other wishes you have.
  2. Have a Power of Attorney and an Advanced Health Care Directive and make sure more than one person knows where to easily access these documents.
  3. Pass on or give away articles that you no longer use as a way of lightening your physical and mental/emotional load and making it easier for those left behind.
  4. Find ways to stay connected to friends and family that nurture your spirit.
  5. Find a way to volunteer or “give back” even if you have limited physical ability.
  6. Continue to explore things that interest you, even if it is just through what is available on TV or online.
  7. Stay physically active within the framework of what is possible for you.
  8. Spend time outdoors. Being in nature is enlivening and renewing.
  9. Never miss an opportunity to say “thank you” or “I love you” to friends and others that you encounter. Be sure to make eye contact when you do. Those loving, connected looks that pass from eye to eye bring such beauty to our beings.
  10. Talk to your loved ones about how you are feeling transition in your life. Our kids have been very used to us being invincible and taking care of everything. Gently and gradually “pass the baton” to them.
  11. Find ways to share what you have learned in your life. This is our time to slow down and “teach”. There are so many young people who appreciate being mentored by someone with experience.
  12. Having an animal can provide companionship, something to take care of, an exercise program and can also promote social interaction.
  13. Find ways to show interest in others and the things that you can do rather than focusing on yourself and what you can’t do.
  14. If you find yourself feeling angry or resentful, try to look at the ways that you might be able to shift into a place of gratitude and love.
  15. We all know some grumpy older people and some beautiful, joyous, smiling older people. We all know which ones we like to be around. I guess the bottom line question is WHICH ONE DO YOU WANT TO BE???!!!

New PD Exercise Activity Class
Alexander Technique Group Class

Four-Week Class Starting March 6, 2019: Introduction to the Alexander Technique for Parkinson's Disease

Wednesday, 10 AM - 11 AM, Instructor: Lena Hart, 917-806-7929
Come learn the Alexander Technique and gain life-long skills to help you manage your symptoms of PD. The Alexander Technique is scientifically proven to help those with PD regain their balance, do every day activities with more ease, and manage symptoms of depression. We will be working on everyday skills of walking, sitting, and standing. We will learn how to control tremors and tension in the body. If you have something special you would like to learn how to control, we will also address this in class. If you are interested, and would like to learn more, please call Lena at: 917-806-7929 or email her at:

  • Sarah Gershen
  • Katie Hurst
  • Richard Thull
  • David & Sara De Zerega
  • Derek & Janice Ransley

  • Margaret Layshock in memory of John Layshock
  • Eileen Straus in memory of Jeffrey Alan Straus
  • Sara Allen in memory of William M. Allen

It's Time to Pay 2019 Annual Dues
Dues are still $50 per household. You can either mail a check, pay in person at the next Saturday support group meeting, or pay online at the 'Join or Renew' tab of our website . Thank you for supporting PNMD!

P.O. Box 3127
Walnut Creek, CA 94598

PNMD Privacy Policy

Copies of the Parkinson’s Network of Mt. Diablo Privacy Policy are now available at the Parkinson’s Network of Mt. Diablo library. The library is located in the Oak Room and is open during our monthly meetings. While at the library check other books and publications that are available.

Information and Resources Library
To Members and Friends:

This month's speaker will be yours truly. I have chosen the title "Treasures on the Library Table" because I will be discussing the ways books can be of help to those of us who either have Parkinson's Disease or are caring for/ know someone who has it. I will select ten (10) of the books we have available on our Library table and talk briefly about each one. I chose to use the word "Treasure" because I strongly believe in the value of books. One of the definitions of the word "treasure" is "something of value". "Treasure" also has an element of meaning which implies one has to make an effort to get it. There are other elements which I will mention in my discussion. If you know of a book that you have found helpful and that you believe belongs on the Library table, please tell me.

A new book this month is Resilient by Rick Hanson, PhD. Rick is a psychologist, a senior fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and New York Times best-selling author. He resides in the Bay Area. It is subtitled "Find Your Inner Strength". He gives guidance as to how we can learn to become resilient by being aware, by being compassionate toward yourself foremost, and by being positive. It is a wonderful book to keep at your fingertips for reading again and again. I will talk more about his book during my presentation.
Besides books there are brochures, articles from Parkinson's and non-Parkinson's journals, business cards, and other sources of information pertinent to those living in our area. If you have any over-due books, please return them. If you take out a book, please be sure to sign it out on the clip board provided. Please speak to me or Linda Madden at the library table if you have any suggestions.

Janice Ransley, M.D.
Library Chair

PD Exercise Activity Classes


Boot Camp
Monday, 9:30-10:45 AM, Petra Fibrichova, 510-520-4523
Thursday, 9:30-10:45 AM, Jodi Barry, 415-328-4123
Dance Moves Me
Tuesday, 1:00-2:30 PM, Debbie Sternback, 510-653-8362
Rock Steady Boxing
8 classes/week-call for times, Jimmy Greninger, 925-785-1272
Tremble Clefs
Thursday, 1:30-3:30 PM, Michael Grupp, 925-451-3389
Boot Camp
Mon., Wed.,Fri., 10:00-11:15 AM, Anu Ramaswamy, 925-922-0589

Please contact activity instructor for further details and fees.
Announcements, Meetings and How to Reach Us
The Tremble Clefs
Mt. Diablo Tremble Clefs will improve the volume and clarity of your voice through enjoyable free weekly singing sessions. Don’t let your voice fade away. We meet Thursdays 1:30-3:30 pm in Lafayette. For more information please contact chair Michael Grupp at (925) 451-3389.

Questions? Contact Amy Van Voorhis at

Is There Treasure In Your Driveway?

You can stop paying insurance and registration—and get a tax deduction.
Donate your car, truck or boat to PNMD . Just call: 877-999-8322

Important: Be sure to tell the operator that you wish to donate your car to Parkinson Network of Mount Diablo. Or just use this link for our dedicated online donation form:
If you have any questions, call the vehicle donation program at 877-999 8322.
Or contact Abraham Raja at
     General Meeting Information:

Board Meeting:
First Monday of each month, 10:15 a.m.. Hillside Covenant Church, 2060 Magnolia Way, Walnut Creek. Open to all members.

General Support Group Meeting:
The Parkinson Network of Mt. Diablo Support Group meets on the third Saturday of every month, from 9:00 a.m. to noon at Grace Presbyterian Church, 2100 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek. All are welcome and there is no charge. No RSVP’s needed.

Here is the agenda:

9:00 to 10:15 a.m. – Three concurrent Support Group meetings:

Men with Parkinson’s Disease Only: For men newly diagnosed or who’ve had PD for years: time to share, laugh, and learn from each other. Meeting location is the Fireside Room at Grace Church. Contact person is Derek Ransley, (925) 944-0162.

Women with Parkinson’s Disease Only: For women newly diagnosed or who’ve had PD for years: time to share, laugh, and learn from each other. Meeting location is the Library at Grace Church. Contact person is Rosemary Way, (925) 939-7665.

Caregivers Only: Caregivers discuss issues relating to their roles. Meeting location is the Sanctuary at Grace Church. Contact person is Jan Alioto, (925) 890-8937.

10:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.-Assemble in Oak Room . The PNMD Library, with books, flyers, videos, etc. is open at this time. Bill Clinch, Moderator, will introduce new members and make announcements.

10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. (Oak Room) Guest speaker (See information above)

11:45 a.m. to noon Q&A, Wrap up.

General questions may be directed to Abraham Raja at (925) 939-4210 ; Lance Gershen, Program Chair (925) 932-1028.

Tri-Valley (Pleasanton) Support Group Meeting:
Meets second Saturday of the month, year-round, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Pleasanton Senior Center, 5353 Sunol Blvd., Pleasanton. This is a support group and learning session that is open to all who want to learn about PD. Facilitators are Norman & Jackie Bardsley, (925) 831-9940.

Contact Us

Web site: 
General Information Phone No.: (925) 939-4210
Co-Presidents: Abraham Raja (925) 381-0688 or
Lance Gershen (925) 932-1028 or
Secretary: Beth Donegan (949) 680-9133 or
Publicity: Beth Donegan (949) 680-9133 or
Treasurer: Amy Van Voorhis (925) 932-5036 or
Membership: Mitchell Morrison (781) 964-2345 or
Health and Wellness Program: Cathy Hostetler (925) 932-5285
Volunteer Coordinator: Cathy Hostetler (925) 932-5285 or
Information Technology: Sara Allen (925) 296-0221 or
Librarian: Janice Ransley (925) 944-0162 or
Program Chair: Lance Gershen (925) 932-1028 or
Fundraising Chair: Ken Kuhn (925) 588-9837 or
Tremble Clefs: Michael Grupp (925) 451-3389
Caregiver Discussion Group: Jan Alioto (925)890-8937 or
Women's Discussion Group: Rosemary Way (925) 939-7665,
Men's Discussion Group: Derek Ransley (925) 944-0162 or
DBS: Gary Hevener (925) 937-4335 or
Donations and Memorials: Please mail to P.O. Box 3127, Walnut Creek, CA 94598.
Newsletter Editor: TBD - Please email submissions by the 15th to: Abraham Raja at
Disclaimer: This newsletter is published to increase awareness of problems related to Parkinson’s Disease. Neither PNMD nor its members make any warranty or assume any responsibility as to the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information presented. The editor’s opinions are strictly his own.