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102 years of wisdom in medicine

Interview with Dr. Gladys McGarey,
The Mother Of Holistic Medicine


Dr. Gladys, you have a lifetime of achievement, education, and inspiration that is truly extraordinary! How have you managed to maintain your own health and wellbeing while gracefully juggling the multitude of responsibilities that come with being a doctor, a mother, a spouse, a founder, and a leader?

I enjoy every step of the way. It’s exciting to me to be working with people all the time who are reaching what I call reaching for the light. People want to be healthy, they want to be happy, they want to be contributing something to the Universe. And a lot of times they’re lost. So when they start reaching and looking and beginning to find it gets exciting. And I get all excited!

What drew you into the field of holistic medicine? What was the catalyst of you achieving all of these great things in holistic medicine?

Life itself, because I was born and raised in India, in the jungles of North India. My mother went into labor at the Taj Mahal. I mean, wow. She was kind of a little drama queen, but it was the lives that I came into and watched my parents take their osteopathic training into the jungles of North India with no, basically no equipment. They had a truck full of stuff, and what they were doing and I was watching and participating in, was their very presence and the way in which their love was working as the big catalyst in the healing process.

“Love is the great healer anyway.”

So no matter what instrument or what medicine you use, if it’s not used with a loving attitude, it doesn’t reach the physician within that patient.

And can I just talk?

Of course, feel free to get anything off your chest that’s on your mind or in your heart.

My oldest son is a retired orthopedic surgeon. So when he finished his training, he came through in Phoenix on his way to Del Rio, Texas, where he was going to start his practice. And he said to me, “mom, I’m real scared.” He said, “I’m going into the world. I’m gonna have people’s lives in my hands. I don’t know if I can handle that.” And I said to him, “Well, Carl, if you think you’re the one that does the healing, you have a right to be scared.” If something is broken in my body, I want a good orthopedic person dealing with it. So you have worked with the patient and done all that you do, and the patient says, “Mm-hmm. I’m not gonna do that.” Well, they become a non-compliant patient, but a non-compliant patient isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Because if a patient really understands what their body works well with, and that’s what you use, that’s the right thing. It may not be the right thing that the particular physician is looking for, but as your body adjusts and knows different aspects of its own healing, it has the right to say, no, this works for me, not this.

I think there’s a lot of intuition and we know ourselves best. Right? So there are things that you hear these general tips and things, and you think, well, this really wouldn’t be something that I can do in my routine, or something that would work well for me personally. But then there are the things that you think, how have I not thought of this before? This would work great with my lifestyle and the things that I enjoy! So have you found any practices to take care of yourself, any self-love or self-care in your life to keep you on track?

I know I need to keep focused on that too.

I think we can all be better at that, right? It’s something we absolutely limit time for.

I really think that’s essential to healing.

“We need to love ourselves well enough that we can trust ourselves.”

I decided a while back, I had two doctors within me. One is Dr. Gladys, and one is Gladys. And Gladys, she kind of does what she wants to do. And Dr. Gladys comes along and says, “Uhhh, that’s not right.” And so then we have a discussion as to where it’s gonna go. But it is kind of fun, you know. If we can take the hard things that come along in life and look for something that’s joyous or humorous, even in the hard stuff, it sure makes life easier.

Good or bad, life happens anyway. So you have to take the good with the bad. I saw a quote this morning that says, “there are ups and there are downs, and it never stays the same for very long.” So you’re gonna have both. We talk a lot about love and healing. What ways can we spark and cultivate this love and healing in our life?

That’s so important. You have to look for it, you know? If you’re not looking for love, if you’re looking for people hating you, you don’t see it. I know a friend of mine said to me the other day, “There’s a person in town here who doesn’t like me.” He says, “I don’t understand, I like me. I don’t understand why he doesn’t like me.” If you are doing and saying and living the kind of life that you enjoy, that you feel is calling your spirit, that is calling you to do the things that you’re doing, you know, it works. I’ve kind of identified it as five L’s.

The first two L’s are life and love. Life by itself is like a big seed, one seed in a pyramid. It’ll be there for 5,000 years and you can’t do anything. All the love energy of the universe is within the shell, but can’t do anything until love in the form of water and sunshine and so on, activates and cracks the shell. And then the two of them merge and then become one. Life and love actively need to move together. It’s like a pregnancy, the sperm and the ovum activate, but the baby doesn’t take life until he takes his first breath.

So the third one is laughter. Laughter without love is mean. It’s cruel, it tears families apart. It causes wars. It’s awful. But laughter with love is joy and happiness.

The fourth one is labor. Labor without love is drudgery. Oh man, I gotta go to work. I just don’t know, too many diapers. You feel burdened down with that. But labor with love is bliss. It’s why you’re doing your job. It’s why I’m doing mine. It’s why a singer sings. It’s why a painter paints. You work harder at those aspects of life than you would if you were dragging yourself along, making yourself do it. So labor with love makes you sing, you know, it lights your light.

And the fifth L is listening. Listening without love is empty sound. The clanging gong, the “I told you and told you and you don’t listen.” And that kind of thing, if you don’t hear it, if a person doesn’t take it in, they haven’t heard it, so it’s nothing. But when they understand it, things happen. So for me, these five L’s kind of help to put things in life’s pathway so that I can work with them.

And that’s a great way to kind of compartmentalize everything into a way to remember, because we have to stay on top of ourselves to remember those things. It’s easy to get swept away by the million other things. But like you said, if you get up every day for work and you think, “oh my goodness, I have to go to work today.” Or if you think, “I work with some really great people. I love what I do. I love the people I take care of.” You’ve completely spun your mindset. And I think mindset is kind of the pillar of everything. So do you have any recommendations for keeping a positive mindset?

Talk about it. Think about it. And when you get stuck, look at where you are and make a decision. Am I going to be stuck here or am I gonna start looking for the light? I have this kind of idea that God, whatever God means to each one of us, created the earth and all the things on it. And he said to us humans, when he created us, he said, “look, I’ve given you this amazing place. It’s beautiful and all this, I now give you dominion over it because you have free will and you have choice, nothing else does.” And we, in our arrogance thought, he said, you have dominance over it, which means you get to, not to take care of it, but you could do what you want to with it. And that’s what we have continued to do in certain areas in medicine, engineering, all kinds of things. We’ve taken over and said, well, we know better than Mother Earth does. And that’s a lot of baloney. So, you know, it’s really reactivating what I call reaching for our true humanity. Our true humanity says we are the ones that can make these decisions, so let’s go on making them. So it helps everybody. And as it helps everybody, it helps me. We’re in it all together.

I think it’s so important to find community and support in your life, and that helps you with meaning and purpose and all of those other important things that we have to have to keep going in life. And lastly, I just wanted to ask you, what is a personal habit or routine that you have that helps you stay productive and revitalized and rested and something you just look forward to, to taking care of yourself every day?

The whole concept of love, but along with that, trying to find some humor in everything. My mother was an act person who found that and she understood that. She was always looking in the darkest moments, she could find something. In fact, when she fell, she was 96. My dad and I were lifting her from the gurney onto the x-ray table. She looks up and sees the pain in our eyes and she says “the old gray mare, she ain’t what she used to be.” But it was that kind of a sense of humor that was always looking for something that would make somebody else smile. And if we can keep looking for the light in our own way, then we move forward.

“If we keep looking over our shoulder for what we did wrong or what’s back there, we’ll always get stuck looking over our shoulder.”

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