16 February 2021

100 and Counting


This essay follows the two previous ones # 75 & 76 on The Gifts of Aging and Long Life. The present article should give the reader concrete evidence of what can be done in one’s advancing years. Consider the Possibilities: The sky may be a limit, but years need not be. People like Dr. Gladys prove that idea. So, you see ...

40 years ago, I had the good fortune to work with an extraordinary woman – a physician and healer, storyteller and shining light to the people and world around her. At the time, she was 60 years old. Last November – she a Sagittarian, my old mentor achieved the august mark of passing 100 years on planet Earth – this time around.

Ready for Birthday

Gladys Taylor McGarey is comfortable dealing with the idea of lifetimes. Gladys has even written about one experience she remembered from ages ago. In that lifetime, she was a midwife to Mumtaz Mahal in the old Moghul Empire of Shah Jehan. Mumtaz died at a young age and Shah Jehan built the famed Taj Mahal in her honor.

In the present time, Gladys Taylor grew up again in India as daughter to osteopathic physician-missionaries. According to her own writings and those of her own daughter Analea, Gladys was an unusual child. At an early age, she took to nursing sick and injured animals, and moved on to help her parents when they tended the humans in their care.

Gladys doesn’t remember wanting to be a doctor. She was rather born knowing herself to be a healer. Her insights grew along with her age as she recognized “one unvarying constant in all healings, whether it was a broken leg or a case of leprosy: the tender, loving care my parents gave each patient, the kind word, the touch of a hand, the reassuring embrace.” In brief – Love. Sadly, love is one most important thing Gladys and many others recall neither taught nor discussed in medical school.

Gladys was quick to learn some things, and not others – much like most of us. So, she was held back and had to repeat first grade. But by the end of public education in the USA, she graduated high school at age 17 and went on to college and then Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.

Inevitably, she met William McGarey in her medical school years. Bill finished his training in Cincinnati, then they married and raised a family. While practicing medicine and fulfilling many feminine roles, Gladys conceived, carried, and gave birth to six children – all of them eventually studied and worked in helping professions.

The McGareys were pioneers in holistic medicine. They developed the ARE Clinic in Phoenix AZ in the 70s. The Clinic stood for many years as a home for innovation, community and care for sick and injured as well as a training ground for young practitioners. Gladys and Bill ran a well-attended annual medical symposium for years. They also helped create numerous like-minded organizations and were co-founders of both the American Holistic Medical Association and the Academy of Parapsychology and Medicine.

The ARE Clinic based its work on holistic principles especially those pronounced by Edgar Cayce, The Sleeping Prophet. But, there were many other innovations. One of Gladys’s major contributions was the Baby Buggy Program in which nurse-midwives at the clinic did home deliveries. The Baby Buggy – a fully-equipped paramedical and emergency transport vehicle – was kept close at hand during deliveries in case of unexpected need of hospital attention.

At the Clinic with Gladys for nearly a year, this writer got to see her in action working with patients and care-givers. But mostly, he felt the “vibes” like others including her daughter. Analea thought of her mother as a “Greek goddess, an ancient queen” who “radiated an unknown force” which was key to her success as a healer.

Gladys attracted patients and the public because of her presence and also because she talked to them and encouraged them to talk. A simple but novel idea. “I invariably believe the patient. What better source do I have?” she said.

Gladys also boosted the body’s own healing powers as key to therapy “allowing the healing to evolve the way the body tells it to.”

Dr. Gladys was no common cookbook physician who merely touted the methods and treatments taught in medical school. She sought to understand however modestly what was happening inside the body and mind and soul of her patients.

Still nothing lasts, as we all know. Gladys and Bill parted ways in the late 80s. While the Clinic slowly fell into obscurity, Gladys went on to open the Scottsdale Holistic Medical Group with her doctor-daughter Helene Wechsler. Gladys worked at the Medical Group from 1989 to 2004 on a regular basis. In 2004, Dr. Wechsler opened a new practice called Scottsdale Private Physicians, where Dr. Gladys sees patients one day per week.

Along the way and with help, Gladys eventually formed The Foundation for Living Medicine.  Its MISSION is “to build a healthier world by encouraging individuals to follow their own Living Medicine Path.”

Dr. Gladys has long been called the “Mother of Holistic Medicine” and her efforts worldwide continue to receive international acclaim. But, it has only been recently that the orthodox medical society in Arizona has recognized and even honored her for her works. A pleasant surprise to many, we can be sure.

Gladys Taylor McGarey

Dr. Gladys  is the author of five books: The Physician Within You, Born to Live, Living Medicine, The World Needs Old Ladies, and Budhu’s Path to Enlightenment. She continues to write numerous articles for health publications, both as a columnist and feature writer. Her public speaking career bridges four decades.

According to her son Bob, Gladys is now at 100 and counting. He tells the story:

“Shortly after her awesome 100th Birthday Party on Zoom, my brother John told me that Mom told him she was a hundred and two. He sat straight up. ‘A Hundred and Two? What???’ he asked incredulously.

“‘Well,’ she said, ‘I'm a hundred years and two days old. So I'm a hundred and two. Tomorrow I'll be a hundred and three!’

“Unassailable logic, I'd say!”

Regardless of the passage, she continues with several projects. One is writing her sixth book to be called 100 is For Quitters...Why Stop Now. Another is presenting a TED Talk in the coming days. 100 and Counting, Dr. Gladys still has work to do, things to present, and love to share.

Comments always welcome at theportableschool at gmail dot com.

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