When I Becomes We <3

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“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:

http://www.temple.edu/medicine/dan_gottlieb_visit.htm

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.

http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/82835

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:

http://www.drdangottlieb.com/2014/02/14/poetry-when-i-becomes-we/#

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.

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Xoxo Kim 😀

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4 thoughts on “When I Becomes We <3

  1. Dr. Gottlieb (who, by the way, shares a name with one of Pat Metheny [many multiple Grammy winner]’s former drummers) sounds like a fascinating and inspirational person. I particularly noted his commentary on hope, and thought of environmental writer (and, I must add in a blatant example of name dropping, my personal friend) Derrick Jensen. Derrick writes “But what, precisely, is hope? At a talk I gave last spring, someone asked me to define it. I turned the question back on the audience, and here’s the definition we all came up with: hope is a longing for a future condition over which you have no agency; it means you are essentially powerless.” (Derrick Jensen, Beyond Hope)

    I think what Derrick (and Dr. Gottlieb) is saying is that, when you rely on hope, you give up on some of the motivation to be proactive, whatever the circumstances. There’s no reason to be hopeLESS – just ample reason not to be too hopeFUL.

    Nice observations!

    • Thank You so much for your fascinating and enlightening comment!! That is interesting; I never heard of that drummer. Yes, Daniel Gottlieb is very interesting and inspirational. He is paralyzed at the chest down, cannot use his legs at all and cannot fully use his arms/hands and he experiences the complications that come along with being confined to one place, yet he expresses more gratitude for life itself and happiness than the average person in our culture. He doesn’t let his physical limitations limit his joy in living. That is an amazing attitude to have for anyone, disabled in any way or not. And like I said, he is very humble, genuinely interested in other people, helping them, and teaching them the importance of taking pleasure just by being alive no matter what limitations we have. He has problems, struggles, pain just like anyone but he is also at peace in his mind.
      Your friend Derrick Jensen sounds amazing! I would have loved to hear his speech! I would like to check out his writings too! And I love your stance about not being hopeless but not too hopeful either. Being too hopeful restrains us.
      I learned this more deeply by reading Dr. Gottlieb’s book, “Lessons From the Heart” where he states that he was hopeful, and suffering, for a couple years planning to kill himself if he couldn’t walk again by a certain date. Medically/scientifically there is currently no way someone in his position can ever walk/stand again but he kept hope alive, although, not in a good way, that he would. Eventually he found inner peace even knowing he would never walk again.
      I have experienced various occasions where hope actually held me back instead of helping me. Occasions hoping someone would write back to me, that I would be selected for a job I applied to, that my pain would end…it’s ok to hope for these things but I was putting current happiness and joy on hold hoping for “more” or “better.” I love quotes, writings, and people, which remind us not to do this. Simple reminders are great now and then. Thank You again for your comment!!

  2. Derrick is a fantastic person! He loves the world with great intensity, which means that he experiences great pain in observing the destruction of the world. That’s the frame of reference for his observations. I strongly recommend his book “A Language Older Than Words”. Here’s a link to his website: http://www.derrickjensen.org/ If you buy a book through his website (via PayPal), he’ll ship it to you himself, will sign it if you like, plus he gets more of the proceeds than if purchases are via retailer. Here’s a link to the full essay “Beyond Hope”, in Orion Magazine: http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/170/
    You are a sensitive person, and obviously a very thoughtful one, and you get a lot from what seems to be a pretty voracious reading appetite. Keep that up!

    • Yes, he seems amazing!! Thank You for “introducing” me to him! I will definitely check out his books and writings!

      Your comment reminds me of this quote:

      “If you’re really listening, if you’re awake to the poignant beauty of the world, your heart breaks regularly. In fact, your heart is made to break; its purpose is to burst open again and again so that it can hold evermore wonders.” ~ Andrew Harvey

      Which I plan to post in a future blog post.

      While it often feels unpleasant to experience so much pain as a result of witnessing/hearing/reading about all the negativity in the world, it’s actually a good thing to be so receptive, attentive, and in tune with life, to be so open to life all around. It can also bring greater joy.

      Thank You!! Yes, I love to read and ponder all that I read about. And I have recently become open to reading about topics I never thought much of before.

      Thank You again for your comments, compliments, and your reading suggestions for your friend’s books/essays! I truly appreciate it and will continue to read and write!

      😀

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