If you're always looking over your shoulder at the darkness behind you, you're gonna get a stiff neck.
It is not everyday you meet a living legend. Dr. Gladys McGarey (@Dr.Galdy’sMcGarey), at 102, who is renowned as a pioneer in holistic medicine shares her wisdom and insights in her latest book, The Well Lived Life. Dr. McGarey is a founding diplomat of the American Board of Holistic Medicine and co-founder and president of the American Holistic Medical Association. At age 86, she extended her medical service by traveling to Afghanistan and educating women in 10 villages about pregnancy and birth. She continues as a medical consultant, maintaining a healthy diet and enjoying a good piece of cake daily.
“Life itself is the great healer. If you stop life, you die.“
– Dr. Gladys McGarey
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Welcome to the Mark Divine Show. This is your host Mark Divine. On this podcast I’m going to explore once again what it means to be fearless by examining courage through the lens of one of the world’s most inspirational and compassionate leaders. I talk to folks from all walks of life, motivational scientists and peace crusaders, and including 102 year old medical practitioners, pioneers in holistic medicines, such as Dr. Dr. Gladys McGarey. Check it out, Dr. McGarey is 102 years old 102 and three quarters. She’s just recently written The Well Lived Life. She is recognized as the pioneer in allopathic and holistic medical movements, founding diplomat of the American Board of holistic medicine and co-founder and president of the American Holistic Medical Association, incredible. Dr. Gladys lives and works in Scottsdale, where for many years, she shared a medical practice with her daughter and continues to this day as a medical consultant, maintaining a healthy diet, enjoying a good piece of cake every day, and living a well lived life.Gladys thanks so much for joining me today on the Mark Divine Show. Super stoked to have you here today.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 1:07
I’m so happy to be here. I think it’s amazing that we can do this, you know.
Mark Divine 1:12
Isn’t it? What other scenario would you and I would you and I have been connected to have a conversation like this.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 1:18
And you know, when I was a kid, we didn’t have a telephone. We didn’t have anything.
Mark Divine 1:23
I read that you spent the first 15 years in India.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 1:26
Mark Divine 1:27
So you’re 102 right now. So that was in the 20s?
Dr. Gladys McGarey 1:3
102 and three quarters.
Mark Divine 1:34
Yah, every quarter counts at this age, right. What years were you in India give us like?
Dr. Gladys McGarey 1:41
I was born 1920 In India, and my mother went into labor with me at the Taj Mahal.
Mark Divine 1:48
Are you serious?
Dr. Gladys McGarey 1:49
I think she’s a drama queen or something. Then, when I was 15, I came to the states for college.
Mark Divine 1:58
What were your parents doing in India?
Dr. Gladys McGarey 1:59
They were both osteopaths, well now, my mother was a physician, when that was a very rare thing. She was an osteopath. They were medical missionaries with the Presbyterian Church. And so we lived in tents in the wintertime, in the jungle of North India, people didn’t know anything about it, you know, my, my parents reached out to the forgotten people that were there in the jungles of North India.
Mark Divine 2:30
That’s quite a big adventure. Wow.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 2:32
No, not just big adventure, the perfect place to be, for me, I thought this was just absolutely divine, that little Indian kids would run along, we’d play along together. And they rub by hand to try to get the white color off.
Mark Divine 2:50
Dr. Gladys McGarey 2:51
Isn’t that lovely.
Mark Divine 2:52
That Is lovely. I’m curious. Um, now in retrospect, how did that formative experience in India shape you? You know, because India is very, you know, especially northern India, very spiritual, the whole culture is inclined toward introspection, and I know maybe not in a really porous fringes, you know, they’re still struggling for survival. But, you know, it’s very different than Western culture obviously.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 3:14
My parents started, after they finished the work was out in the jungles. They and my Aunt Belle started a home for the children of lepers parents.
Mark Divine 3:25
Dr. Gladys McGarey 3:26
In north India, right across from Rishikeh, and these children, their parents sent them from all over India, because if they grew up with their parents, they were lepers. And they would have to be beggars. But they got the children out. And they were taken away, not from their parents, but taken away, so they could have a home where they were loved and cared and taught some things that were really, really important. And so there are 1000s of people, men and women around the world who have benefited from this little children’s home up in north India.
Mark Divine 4:10
Dr. Gladys McGarey 4:11
You know, I grew up watching that kind of vision from my parents, the way that they were able to reach the poorest of the poor. And the ones who were rejected above all, you know, so to me, I could see no difference. Sure the kids are trying to get my white off, but but I was somebody was running around that jungles like they were and we were just having a great time, you know? And then that was until I started school, then everything went haywire.
Mark Divine 4:47
Well, that’s also when you became a teenager and you’re now in American culture and woof what a difference.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 4:53
No, that when I started first grade, I couldn’t read or write.
Mark Divine 4:58
Oh, that’s what you meant. I thought you meant when you came to America.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 5:01
No, well yeah, that’s another story. But that was my two years of being the class dummy, and rejected and, you know, bullied and the teacher called me the dumb one. And then I had to repeat her class. And I still couldn’t read. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, I just couldn’t read. Because when I got home, after a day at school, everything was fine. And you know, I had the safe place where I could go, which I was so necessary.
It included my family, but also my aya. The i o was like the nurse maid or second and mother and so on, went to school, Woodstock school in the Himalya’s. And our home was a mile above the school, and 1000 foot drop to the school. So I would drag myself up this hill, because I knew the I was sitting at the top of the path with her charter. And she’d see me coming up. And she’d say, come here and I would go over and tuck under her arm, until my world came back into shape. And then I could go on with my brothers and do it, you know, but the next day I had to go back to school, where I was a dummy. It was this kind of a of a split. I knew I wasn’t a dummy. But I couldn’t read and write.
Mark Divine 6:33
And they had no idea this is dyslexia, right.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 6:35
There’s no name for it.
Mark Divine 6:36
Dr. Gladys McGarey 6:36
And my parents weren’t taught anything about stuff like that. They kind of figured out that maybe it was because Urdu is written from the other side. And I just gotten mixed up. I mean, the excused it that way. It wasn’t something that the world knew anything about. But when I started the American Holistic Medical Association, that was a time when we were having a board meeting. And there were six of us physicians sitting around the table. I mean, there were 10, physician sitting around the table, and six of us was severely dyslexic.
Mark Divine 7:12
Dr. Gladys McGarey 7:13
And we looked at each other. And we said, well, that’s what I were looking for the alternatives.
Mark Divine 7:18
Dr. Gladys McGarey 7:18
You know, because I don’t know how to read. And they didn’t know, we looked at each other to learn, I don’t know, taught myself, I learned to read, I had to read, I had to get through medical school, there were things I had to do. And so we learned. And so it was the understanding of this sort of dual life that I had lived. And the way that the whole process of medicine was evolving into something that I didn’t accept totally what was being taught in medical school. In fact, the Dean sent me to the psychiatrist twice, because I was looking for something deeper.
Mark Divine 8:02
Where do you think maybe it’s where or when or why maybe it’s all three, the Western medicine got divorced from the mind body connection? You know, and just looked at all is just a physical expression of disease. I don’t think it was really like that in the early, like, earliest part of the century wasn’t, wasn’t there much more of a holistic approach.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 8:21
I think what AT still brought into the field was not that, that’s the osteopathy. The whole concept of the body being the teacher, you’re really learning what was going on. And that’s what my parents, they were taught as osteopaths. But I think, when the importance of passing tests and understanding the structures and so on, was made it so rigid, right at the turn of the century. I think that shifted, and then it continued to shift.
Mark Divine 8:57
Right, yeah, we shifted culturally into just really like staunch materialists. And if it couldn’t be examined, you know, and have evidence behind it with some sort of material scientific study, then it was completely rejected. And so anything that was an aside of energy work, or you know, the mind body connection, or the power of positive thinking, all that stuff like, you know, early advocates of that, like Norman Vincent Peale, and Napoleon Hill, like they were in Imeal QA with his positive affirmations were having a profound impact on healing.
Dr. Dr. Gladys McGarey 9:31
Mark Divine 9:31
But it was all just rejected by Western medicine because it wasn’t something you could measure very easily.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 9:36
And even Mary Dossier’s prayer…
Mark Divine 9:39
Dr. Dr. Gladys McGarey 9:39
Had on plants and so on. Those are things that when we started the American Holistic Medical Association, it took us two years to decide how to spell holistic. The root word we were looking for. Was health healing and holy.
Mark Divine 9:54
Oh did you guys coin the term holistic?
Dr. Dr. Gladys McGarey 9:57
Mark Divine 9:57
Oh, I didn’t know that. That’s fascinating.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 9:58
Well I don’t know, somebody else was talking about it, but spelling it with an H, we did.
Mark Divine 10:03
Right. As opposed to a WH?
Dr. Dr. Gladys McGarey 10:06
Mark Divine 10:06
Dr. Gladys McGarey 10:07
Yeah, there was a shift happening in the field after the war, because after the war, everything was body mind period. We were just beginning to understand the mind, but at least it was there, you know, Milton Erickson was, we worked real closely with Milton started that a realization that hypnosis was something that could be used, you know, so there were these different modalities that were beginning to emerge. And so there were a whole group of us, who began to understand that. The Ed Casey work helped us a lot, Bill Mcgarey was my husband helped us a lot in understanding the importance of just energy, what energy is, and the whole process of who we are, as beings are was just something that was totally woowoo.
Mark Divine 11:07
We’re not out of the woods yet for that, right. I mean, we’re still a lot of hands off from the mainstream medical, but it’s definite, like we were talking before we started recording, it’s, it’s sprouting up all over the place, right?
Dr. Dr. Gladys McGarey 11:17
Mark Divine 11:18
In the last 10 years, in particular. I’m curious, you also were the co founder of the Academy of Paris, psychology and medicine. Tell me about what your view of parapsychology is, what does that mean?
Dr. Gladys McGarey 11:30
It means the ability for us as physicians, to reach beyond the body mind in understanding what it is that we are working with. And the parapsychology includes the basic psychology. But beyond the basic psychology, there was something else is going on.
Mark Divine 11:54
So there’s energy systems that are beyond the the human individual system that can be affecting or play a role in healing. That makes sense to me. Just like the word metaphysics, it just means beyond the physical or the unseen, unseen world, which science will deny, but physics is beginning to recognize is everything is energy, like you said, and it’s just expressing in these different life forms and also inanimate objects and non seen or non physical forms of life.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 12:24
Well, you know, my eyesight has gotten very poor. So I can’t read now, because of my chance, I can’t see the letters. But as my eyesight has gotten dimmer, my insight has gotten brighter. It’s a matter of allowing myself to really reach in beyond what I’ve even been teaching about. And reaching beyond the edge. You know, it’s an amazing time.
Mark Divine 12:54
That brings up something that I wanted to talk about, you know, I mentioned to you that I was a SEAL, but before as a SEAL, for four years, I got into a martial art, and I started meditating. And then I got exposed to visualization. I don’t know if it was through the Grandmaster or through my reading, because I was, you know, like us, a voracious learner and everything to do with…
Dr. Dr. Gladys McGarey 13:16
Well, Milton Erickson did lot.
Erickson did a lot of work. Yeah. So visualization was nothing new. And I think even Napoleon Hill in his book, his work, you know, talks about the power of that. So I started, anytime I would get injured, which happened a lot on the karate dojo floor, you know what I mean? I would start visualizing, I use visualization. And I would visualize a little army of, you know, construction workers, you know, tearing down the old broken ligaments, or whatever replacing them. And it took some time, but I found is like, I started to heal much faster, like twice as fast as my peers. And so I’ve been teaching that for years. And, and I’m just curious, is that something that is part of your, your work with clients to help them use the power of visualization and imagery?
Dr. Gladys McGarey 13:59
Absolutely. And I’ve been so pleased with this stem cells that have shown up, because using them as the reality that science has told us about, and that we have within us, these packets of energy that really could listen to us. In fact, in this book, I talk about a patient of mine who really wanted to, or what’s the name of that treck in Spain?
Mark Divine 14:29
Oh yeah, something Santiago trail..
Dr. Gladys McGarey 14:32
Right, right, she’d always wanted to do that. And she injured her knee and was going to probably have to have surgery. And she came in and we were talking about it. The whole idea of losing that ability to do that treck was central in her life. She she really hit all this as a child or somebody had really, really wanted to do this, you know, and we got a good conversation about how she could really work with those stem cells because they knew what to do. And they were the ones so and so on so forth. She grabbed ahold of that, and within six months her knee had healed.
Mark Divine 15:15
When you’re talking about the stem cell knowing I mean,
Dr. Dr. Gladys McGarey 15:18
Mark Divine 15:18
I agree with that. So would you visualize the stem cells? And talk to them? Like?
Dr. Dr. Gladys McGarey 15:24
Mark Divine 15:24
Dr. Dr. Gladys McGarey 15:25
Like little people, you know.
Mark Divine 15:26
Yeah, like little soldiers.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 15:28
However, she could visualize them. My visualization was my visualization of that. And so I would share that was there. But however, she could visualize them, that was the important thing that she latched on to that. I really changed the name of my work with medicine, from holistic medicine, to living medicine, because it takes it to the next dimension, you know, that life itself is the great healer. If you stop life, you die. you know. So the whole concept of living medicine, I have a friend and patient who just died a month ago, at the age of 89, no 78, oh I don’t know, anyway decades, I forget get that stuff. Anyway, the point is that she lived from the time that she was 18 months old when she was injured, with one quarter of one kidney. Not possible. I watched this woman have all kinds of illnesses and things come and go and she would deal with it her own way.
Mark Divine 16:39
Yeah, you know, what’s coming to me and I love this conversation is this what you just said life is meant to flow? Life is movement.
Dr. Dr. Gladys McGarey 16:49
Mark Divine 16:49
Life is flowing through us expressing as us.
Dr. Dr. Gladys McGarey 16:52
All the time.
Mark Divine 16:53
And so it wants to move. So the more you can allow the energy to move, lifeforce to move through openness of your mind, openness, your heart, move into the body, being outdoors exercise, right and in relationship to others, play dance, you know, knit, read, whatever, just life wants to move, because if you stop the movement, then that’s when it starts to get stagnant, you know, and so, I use the metaphor of like, yeah, if you want your life to be like a, like the Ganges flowing, as opposed to like a stagnant pond in where everything dies.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 17:25
And if you’re stuck in a place like, and you’re always looking over their shoulder and the darkness behind you, you’re gonna get a stiff neck. You have to move that and head forward, and start looking towards the light. That’s awesome. You know, the darkness will stay there will be always there. You could always look for it.
Mark Divine 17:47
Better to ignore it. I came across a quote this morning that I love, which is completely appropriate. From Soren Kierkegaard says, “life is understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.”
Dr. Dr. Gladys McGarey 17:59
There you go.
Mark Divine 18:00
Isn’t that great.
Dr. Dr. Gladys McGarey 18:01
Mark Divine 18:02
So let’s talk about your book it’s a well lived life or a life lived well? Let’s see, The Well Lived Life. It could be either way, I guess.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 18:10
Yeah. Well, you know, at first, based on me start talking about the title. I didn’t like that.
Mark Divine 18:16
Dr. Dr. Gladys McGarey
I didn’t want my life to be the one that was well lived. The well lived life is what the reader is getting. Not, you know, what I’ve done is done. And it’s there. But the person who can begin to understand these concepts and latches on to them. That’s a well lived life.
Mark Divine 18:38
Yeah, I agree with that. And a well lived life is a great example for others.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 18:44
Mark Divine 18:44
You know, I look at like, there’s no one human who is better than another. We’re like a bunch of flowers. You don’t go to a flower field and say, Oh, this flower is better than that flower. But as humans, we do that all the time and judgment and separation.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 18:55
Mark Divine 18:56
But if we all could just look at each other, look at humans, like a big flower field and say, Wow, everyone’s different, but everyone’s beautiful. And everyone could be a potential life lived well. So I’d be interested in how that flower of Glady’s lived her life. Right. And because there’s lessons there, there’s lessons in everyone.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 19:14
Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, the big Saguaro is beautiful, and it’s blossom is beautiful. But the tiny little African Daisy, which will grow at the bottom of this Saguaro, is just as beautiful, but the roots of the Saguaro go deep, deep into the earth, but the daisy is just at the top. You knows you have friendships and relationships, which are very deep and they hold your soul, and doesn’t blow over during the winter, but the little blossoms of the African Daisy, every time you get a big bomb suit, those little roots, you got a boat floating off, but it doesn’t make one more beautiful, the other.
Mark Divine 19:58
That’s right, a big point that you make, I think in your book I want to talk about is this idea that we don’t like we’re not alone. Everything that we are in do is in relationship to others and to the world around us. It’s co creative, right?
Dr. Gladys McGarey 20:15
Mark Divine 20:15
I think when people finally get that it’s a radical shift in their perspective and how they live.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 20:20
Yes, if we’re really going to understand this, we have to get that into ourselves. But you know, I have a word that I’m using now to help understand this. And it’s called femmafesstation.
Mark Divine 20:37
Dr. Gladys McGarey 20:38
Femmafesstation. And you know how that happened. I work with my dreams. So okay, this one, but 10 years ago, or so, I woke up with a crash in my dreaming. And I’m in the dream and out of the dream, and I see myself in a valley in the high Himalayas. And on the right hand side, there is a young woman splayed out on the ground, just barely breathing. And on the left hand side, there’s a huge man in armor in the same position, just barely breathing. And I’m looking at these two. And I’m wondering what this is, the voice came to me and said, these two forces have been punching each other for eons. It’s time they open their fingers and understood each other. They’re killing each other. And I looked, again, at this picture that was there. At the girl, the woman was on the right hand side, which is the masculine side, and the man was on the left side, which is the feminine side. So I’m thinking, Boy, this is a big thing. This is really important. So I had this psychic friend of mine, Rosalie Dearheart, I called her and we were talking about this, and she says, You know, I’ve been thinking about the whole process of manifestation. She says, manifestation is like climbing Jacob’s Ladder, you get the degree, you do that you get to buy a house, you manifest something, and you climb up this ladder. Women have been trying to do that. And we’ve accomplished it to a certain extent, but it’s just, that’s just not where our juice at our energy is. We don’t have that Jacob’s Ladder, we have a spiral, we can be up on the fifth rung of the spiral, and know what’s going on down on the second rug. And things have to femmafest before they manifest. A pregnancy is perfect example of this. Because the whole pregnancy, for however much longer it is, is one unit, the mother and the baby are one unit. But the mother thinks the baby thinks, what the mother eats, each baby eats. It’s a whole process as one living unit it manifests itself. When that baby takes its first breath, it then becomes, it manifest. So I think this whole concept of our duality is something that is really important. And for us as women to think we have to be like men, like when I was in medical school, I went to a woman’s Medical College in Philadelphia, that the only Women’s Medical college in the country 50 of us over that first year, only 25 of us graduated, because the whole concept was you have to be available to the patient and manifest. They didn’t use the word. But they were, saying, manifest healing in a way that they, you know, dah dah dah dah, the whole idea of medicine was manifesting the reality of disease and pain. So those two had to really focus. And I began to say, and we began to think was, no, that’s not our job. We have to prepare for that. We have to grow into that. We have to develop the femmafestation aspect, the duality of our nature. We have that dual nature within us. But we didn’t understand that.
Mark Divine 24:31
Yeah, that’s interesting. That spiral. I was thinking about that recently, in terms of like, starting with a cultural context, but it also has to do with our internal duality nature. So I’m glad you brought that this distinction. But, you know, the Western mental models just say, is linear. It’s got to beginning and it’s and there’s cause and effect, whereas the Eastern model and the agrarians models are circular, right? And they’re just different perspectives. But if you bring them together if you bring a line in a circle work together, you get a spiral. And that’s an integrative approach, right, where you can still have some directionality, which is the masculine, but the circularity and you know, coming back to your center, which is the feminine is part and parcel an equal partner in that. And I think that’s what you’re talking about. I think that you’re right, women are much more inclined to appreciate or naturally experience that that balance between the masculine and feminine, even though culture and medicine has tried to strip the or force you into the masculine. But I think men have it equally, but it’s just so taboo to express it, that it’s really suppressed.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 25:39
Trust it is what’s so important, after you manifest as a being and you have a name. So you become who you are, you have manifested with your first breath, then you have to let the femmafestation be cutting within you, I call it the physician within.
Mark Divine 26:00
You know, being authentic and okay to be inwardly focused, quiet, and to…
Dr. Gladys McGarey 26:08
Mark Divine 26:08
And to develop that insight in the internal skills, we’re most men are outwardly focused, because that’s, you know, that’s the way we’re trained. That’s the way our brains are wired to think.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 26:16
You know what, my eldest son is a retired orthopedic surgeon. And he came through Phoenix. And as he was going down to Dallas, Texas, to start his practice, and he said to me, mom, you know, I’m going into this world, I’m going to have people’s lives in my hands. He says, I don’t know if I can handle that. And I said him, Carl, if you think you’re the one who does the healing, you have a right to be sCarled, if you can understand that within that patient is your colleague, and that’s the patient-physician within them, actually knows what you are saying and what you’re doing. And that this is so important that you do both of them. You allow that inner aspect of the patient, to tell you how they’re going to accept what it is that you’re telling them.
Mark Divine 27:12
I love that. So you’ve been through many ups and downs in life, how do you recommend others move beyond pain and getting really stuck from life’s kicking in the Jimmy.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 27:25
Well you know for my last birthday, the 102 birthday, I rode in on a tricycle into the audience, on a tricycle because of that thing. And I did a little talk, and I said, this tricycle is allowing us to look at what it is we’re doing. First of all, we start out with two wheels. And these fields are the cycles in our lives. But they can’t go anyplace, they’re just cycling there, then they are doing their own circle of life, and so on, they can’t do anything until they are put into a structure, which is the frame of the tricycle. And then they can begin to move and do something. But they can do that, until they get the third wheel, the third wheel is the one that now brings into the cycle of the two of them the direction or the way it could go and so on. But even that can’t really do anything, until somebody sits on that seat. And so you bring that whole consciousness into reality, which is there to really go along with this amazing structure that has been created. And then we could go where we need to go.
Mark Divine 28:54
So if you’re feeling stuck, don’t focus on the structure, get back into the the reality that’s allowing it. Yeah.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 29:01
Mark Divine 29:02
Go back to source energy. I love that.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 29:04
Mark Divine 29:05
There’s a great quote, I was reading an interview you did. You were talking about, or someone asked you about the pain from the divorce that you had a 46 year marriage that fell apart. And you said something that I thought was really profound, said it’s not a matter of getting over stuff like that. It’s a matter of living through it. You talk about that a little bit more?
Dr. Gladys McGarey 29:24
Yeah. Because if you get over it, you just shove it in the corner.
Mark Divine 29:29
Dr. Gladys McGarey 29:29
It doesn’t heal. You have to, love and life need to move in order to heal and become real. I do a lot of my work with stories, mostly about my own life because that’s what I understand.
Mark Divine 29:44
You got a lot of stories to tell.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 29:45
Yeah. So I was the class dummy for two years or more. When I entered into third grade, my teacher saw something in me that the other had not seen. And so she appointed me as class Governor, this is in India. Because I could talk, you know, I could bring the work that we were doing as a class to the whole student body and give a report, I mean that I could do. So this one time, the third grade was doing a play. And the play was the frog jumped over the pond. So I was a the tallest of the class because I dropped the year before and all that stuff. So I could jump over the pond. My mother made me a dyed green suit and all that. And so I walked out on the stage, really proud of myself, I knew I could do this. But as I walked out onto the stage, I saw my two older brothers at the first row of the audience. And it just threw me off my step just enough that when I jumped over the pond, I landed in it. So I’m standing there in this pond, crying, the dye is fading and going into, and I can’t do anything but stand there and cry, my brother in the audience just cracking up. The whole audit is hysterical, teacher finally comes off, it leads me off the stage.
In my mind, I’m totally humiliated. I’m just done. And so we go home. And my brothers are telling the family at dinner, and my mother’s listening to what they’re saying. And I’m trying to give them the devil’s eye and they’re not paying any attention to me. But they’re laughing at that you just have it the best I would, with how it looks, you know? Finally my mother says, Alright, boys, you’ve had your fun now, what can we as a family do to help Gladys so that if this ever happens, again, she be able to have the people laugh with her, not at her. And I don’t remember what it was that we did. But that they that statement changed my life. Because with this dyslexia stuff, I’m clumsy. And I do a lot of times, walk up on a stage and I trip or fall.
Not too long ago, I tripped and got up and went up to the podium. And I’m standing there on stage of that audience. I’m such a drama queen. And the woman who had just introduced me came up to me and said, Dr. Gladys, will you please go sit down. There is blood that’s running down the side of your face. So my mother was always able to find something, some little thing to twist it around so that it changed. She was an angel with this, one time, just a week before she died, really, we were sitting out on our porch. And she says to my dad, John, look at that Petunia bush. It’s got at least 400 blossoms on it. And my dad says off, Beth, they’re are not more than 40. She says, what’s another zero? I get no. I mean, that kind of sense. A humor was the juice that actually allowed me and still does, allows me to take the things that are hard, and use them. Because now if I have something like that happen, I can have the audience in my hand, before I ever say anything, you know, because now I can understand that I’ve got to come up with something funny. And I always can do that. And we were off to running.
Mark Divine 33:50
Immediately you say there I am standing in the pond again, let’s make the best of this. I love it. You know, and that’s such a powerful principle for a well lived life is to make lemonade out of lemons, right? Because there’s a lot of lemons in life. And if you just are sour about all the lemons, then you’re just gonna be a sour person. So if you got to make lemonade and have fun with those, learn from those. But I liked that idea of living through it instead of getting over it. And we got to wrap up soon. But another really powerful thing you say, is kind of common wisdom that as you get older to power down, conserve energy slow down, and those things might happen. You have a different view on it, don’t you?
Dr. Gladys McGarey 34:32
Oh yeah. You know, like my eyesight. That’s dim now, and I can’t really see well, doesn’t mean that I’ve lost my insight. It’s a shift in perspective. As we get older, there are things that we have learned because we lived our lives this long. And if we can take those things that we have learned as learning instead of trauma, or things that keep us stuck. If we think that the things that are hard in our lives are the things that get us stuck, we’re going to die sooner. You know, life has to move. It’s essential that life moves. You know, when I tell a patient to go home and rest, I’m not telling them to go home and do nothing to rest is doing something. So when folks think that they’re, what 75, they need to stop doing this, that or the other thing, maybe they do for a while, or maybe you need to change the way you do things or something, maybe there needs to be a change, but you don’t stop doing it.
Mark Divine 35:47
Right. This is why the idea of retirement was such a horrible idea. Because you know, people die within five years of retirement because they lose their lose the movement, they lose their sense of purpose. And life just kind of grinds to a halt. So no to retirement, just shift your focus, you know, bring your lessons to the world like you have, or you know, be in service in some other way. And you can do that until the day you die and life will keep flowing.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 36:10
Well I always said that I wasn’t going to retire until I had something to retire to. And what happened was that my brother who had created future generations, which is a healing process around the world, it’s an amazing feat. He had found out that in Afghanistan, the Afghani women’s maternal death rate was higher than anyplace else in the world. And they couldn’t get the answer. They couldn’t get the story. They couldn’t find out why this was. So Carl, my brother. So now look, you’re 86, you’re saying, if you want to retire to something, how about you come with me over to Afghanistan, and we’ll set up workshops, where we can listen to the women about their birth stories. Nobody has listened to them. So I was 86 And so it sort of suited me fine. I went over there and spent time with women. We had two women from 10 different villages. In each of these workshops. We heard their life stories. We heard how they gave birth, we found out the problems they were having. They knew how they got pregnant, but they didn’t know what goes on., and you know, like, I don’t know what’s going on in my gut right now. You know, that process is processed all the time that you’re pregnant. So they didn’t know. And when they found out what was happening, and they learned it, and they took it to their villages, that whole process and got changed. But these Afghani women got it. And they taught. And women do this. When women learn something, really learn it, they teach it.
Mark Divine 38:03
Right. You’ve probably answered this, but like, what would you like to have known? Or what if you could go back and tell your 20 year old selves, something that would improve your life what would it be?
Dr. Gladys McGarey 38:15
Well this moment that I’m in right now is the most important, okay, really living each moment is the most important.
Mark Divine 38:24
Yeah, because that’s really all we all we have.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 38:26
Mark Divine 38:27
Everything else is just either imagination or memory.
Dr. Gladys McGarey 38:29
And it comes it goes.
Mark Divine 38:31
That’s right. Gladys this has been a true honor. I really want to thank you very much for your time and your contribution and people are gonna love your book. The book is The Well Lived Life. Is it out in the markets now as I’m recording this?
Dr. Gladys McGarey 38:45
Yeah, it’s around. It’s coming out in paperback too.
Mark Divine 38:47
I don’t imagine you use social media or any of that stuff. But if anyone wanted to kind of connect with you, how would they do so?
Dr. Gladys McGarey 38:55
Mark Divine 38:57
GladysMcGarey.com. Well, once again, thank you very much for your time. Really appreciate it. And I love the conversation
Dr. Gladys McGarey 39:03
You’re certainly welcome, It’s my joy.
Mark Divine 39:06
You have a wonderful day.
Transcribed by Catherine and https://otter.ai