“You can be greater than anything that can happen to you.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale
I wrote a couple of posts here previously about Dr. Daniel Gottlieb, a Philadelphia psychologist. He is one of my greatest inspirations. He suffered devastating tragedies in his life and was able to rise above and help others. He experienced divorce, grief and loss, and suffered a tragic, near fatal accident when he was thirty years old that rendered him permanently paralyzed, with a broken neck, afflicted with quadriplegia, which is paralysis, at the torso and all the limbs.
He suffered with suicidal depression after that but found deep healing. He is able to use his life lessons to help people with various struggles, severe struggles and just every day life, “ordinary” struggles most of us face now and again. He has a young grandson with Autism who teaches Dr. Gottlieb so much about life.. He even wrote a couple books about the wisdom his young grandson teaches him.
I read his writings quite frequently and have a couple of his books. And tomorrow Dr. Gottlieb is having a book signing event at Barnes & Nobles in Center City, Philadelphia for his newest book!!! I’m so happy and thrilled!!! I’m going!!!
It will be so amazing to finally meet him in person after reading so much by him, sharing his inspiration frequently, and being deeply inspired by his life.
One thing Dr. Gottlieb teaches us is how we can connect with each other through our basic humanness, disability, illness or not, we are all human, all with basic needs and desires, a deep longing to connect. His lesson is not unlike Dr. Leo Buscaglia’s message about how deep inside we are the same, human and we can connect in many ways even when barriers prevent more advanced communication.
Dr. Dan doesn’t even care much to be referred to as “Doctor.” On his business cards he writes “human.”
Another of his lessons is that no matter what happens to us and how much we grieve over what we lost, we can still find happiness in the midst of pain and grief. Sometimes he wishes desperately that he can walk again and dance and he grieves deeply over his lost abilities but he can still be happy just as he is.
It’s ok to grieve and feel a deep sense of loss and longing and those experiences do not have to taint our general happiness and wellbeing. They dont have to be mutually exclusive.
He is so very humble. He doesn’t make his life or pain out to be better or worse than anyone else’s. He knows we all have struggles, some worse than others but no one’s pain should be invalidated.
Another lesson he teaches us is positivity. He cannot move much and therefore his urinary bladder does not work as it did before his paralysis. He needs a catheter since he cannot empty his bladder as people without physical disability can. The urine goes to the catheter and that gets emptied. He doesn’t have to use a toilet. He likes to remind “non disabled” people and anyone who can use a toilet that while they’re getting in and out of bed all night to empty their bladders the “normal” way, he is sleeping peacefully in bed. Lol He says this in a funny and playful way! Humor is also a great lesson he teaches us.
I love his sense of humor!
He teaches us that there’s little bits of Heaven here on Earth, all around us. We don’t have to die or go on vacation to experience Heaven. We often long for a vacation and look in awe and gratitude upon the sunset and land when we are not at home. But wherever we are, we look upon that same sunset, the same sky, the same Earth. Beauty is all around us. Right here. Right now.
He teaches us that everyone’s needs are “special.” We all have some kind of needs. We all are dependent in some ways upon other people and things.
He teaches us about the good hope and the bad hope. Hopefulness is good. But putting off current happiness and peace of mind hoping for “better” isn’t good. For a couple of years Dr. Gottlieb desperately hoped he would walk again even though it’s impossible. He put his life and happiness on hold hoping for “better” but he eventually found healing and hopelessness. The good kind of hopelessness that is acceptance, letting go, and liberation.
You can read about some of this here:
He teaches us to just sit with and be with our emotions. Not to repress or deny them. Just be. And so much more he teaches us.
His new book is “The Wisdom We’re Born With (Restoring Our Faith in Ourselves).”. It’s about the importance of living in the present moment, connecting with our own emotions, calming the unquiet mind, breaking bad habits, and the importance of love.
Here is a beautiful poem by Dr. Daniel Gottlieb about how we are all connected, we are all One with each other. It’s called “When I Becomes We.”
Click the link to read:
Here are a few lines:
“…when “those” people become “my” people
when the person in the street with a Styrofoam cup becomes my brother or sister
when every hungry child becomes my child
then I will cry more and laugh more and love more…”
Beautiful, isn’t it?!
I’m so inspired. And I hope you have found some inspiration here too.
And keep smiling. There’s beauty all around you, everywhere, everyday.
Xoxo Kim 😀