An Extraordinary Inspiration

Rev. Suzanne Marlatt Stewart

More than 30 years ago, I was invited to attend a lecture by a well-known holistic doctor. I remember we were all sitting in a circle of three rows. She passed around a container of nuts and encouraged us to all take some, explaining their food value.

I was searching the web a couple weeks ago and came across a press release about a new book titled The WellLived Life. The author was Dr. Gladys McGarey, and this was the same person I had listened to years ago. What an inspiration—she lives in Scottsdale, she is 102 years young, rides a tricycle, and is planning her next 10 years!

Dr. McGarey has an amazing story. She is recognized as the “Mother of Holistic Medicine” and a co-founder of the American Holistic Medical Association (and past president), as well as the co-founder of the Academy of Parapsychology and Medicine. She has had a family practice for more than 60 years.

The daughter of two medical doctors, Gladys Taylor McGarey was born in India in 1920. As a child she traveled through the Indian outback on medical safaris with her parents. She came to the United States in 1935 to attend college and medical school.

During her medical training she thought that medical school would be her biggest challenge. After graduation she interned at Deaconess Hospital, at that time the only woman to do so. She soon discovered that the senior staff felt it was their responsibility to make her life difficult. She said of this experience, “They didn’t understand that medicine was something I had to do. I turned to the advice my father used to give me, ‘Never give up.’ It became my mantra. I try to instill this drive to share with every female health provider I meet. The drive to be a trailblazer. If you see an injustice, fight for it, research it, prove the efficacy of your beliefs.”

Dr. Gladys felt the emphasis on disease and pharmaceutical intervention was wrong. In their zeal to combat infection and disease, doctors often overlooked the most important aspect of patients—how they heal. She believed doctors should focus on the whole person, with treatment that emphasized prevention and wellness through lifestyle changes. She was the first medical doctor to utilize acupuncture in the U.S. and trained other physicians.

In her latest book, she shares her six valuable secrets to enjoying a life that is filled with healthy longevity, being happy, and is purpose-driven:

* Spend your energy wildly: How to embrace your life fully and feel motivated every day.

* All life needs to move: How to move—spiritually, mentally, and physically—to help let go of trauma and other roadblocks.

* You are here for a reason: How to find the everyday “juice” that helps you stay oriented in your life’s purpose.

* You are never alone: How to build a community that’s meaningful to you.

* Everything is your teacher: Discover the deep learnings that come from pain and setbacks.

* Love is the most powerful medicine: Learn to love yourself—and others—into healing.

Dr. McGarey shares her own extraordinary stories and endless wisdom—from her early childhood and a serendipitous encounter with Mahatma Gandhi to her life as a physician and a mother of six, to her survival of both heartbreak and illness. And she doesn’t look backwards, she continually looks forward. At over 100 years old, she has an inspiring plan for a healthier and more joyful future for all. Kudos to you, Dr. McGarey!

Rev. Suzanne, a resident of SaddleBrooke, is an independent writer and speaker. She was ordained non-denominational, representing all faiths, and her focus is inclusivity. Email her at [email protected].