As a world–renowned cardiologist and health activist, who has dealt with life and death on a daily basis, Dr. Terry Gordon understands that life can change in the blink of an eye. However, nothing could have prepared him for the fateful phone call he received in June of 2009 that his 20 year old son Tyler was involved in a near fatal car accident, sustaining a severe spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed.
Dr. Gordon’s journey from the day he left Akron to be by his son’s bedside and the profound response he received to his heart felt prayers, resulted in a spiritual awakening and a clearer understanding of life and the truths it has to offer. This compelling and emotional true story of surviving the fiercest of life’s storm to finding the rainbow through the clouds is documented in his inspiring memoir No Storm Lasts Forever – Transforming Suffering into Insight.
In No Storm Lasts Forever, Dr. Gordon contends that rather than lamenting so-called adversities in our lives, we can choose to be grateful for them. We can embrace them and accept them as gifts from the Divine. They can provide fertile soil for growth and enlightenment. For anyone dealing with adversity, tragedy, grief, pain and more he offers refreshing insights that can help us realize the “bigger picture” of life; and how a so-called tragedy can actually be a blessing in disguise.
In the short video below, Dr. Wayne Dyer introduces Terry at one of his programs.
Interview with Terry Gordon
When Terry Gordon and I met, there was this instant connection and we discovered quite a few similarities in our lives. I have also been very touched by the way Terry shares his personal story in the book – his vulnerability, his humor and love for life will stay with me for the rest of my life. I am so honoured to share with you a part of our conversation.
Soul Love: Terry, you have been a cardiologist for over two decades and you know so much about the human heart. How much of your medical knowledge and experience was supporting you during this life changing experience?
Terry Gordon: In science we don’t know squat. I’m still healing hearts but just in a different way. I’m trained at the world famous Cleveland Clinic, a top training program in cardiology and we came out of that place thinking we could cure anything. Literally – Angioplasty, heart transplants, defibrillators, all that stuff was brand new and it wasn’t until the tail end of my career that I realized: “We’re not doing any curing. We’re participating in the physical healing, but true healing doesn’t occur in the physical plane. True healing occurs in the spiritual plane”.
While it gave me a springboard from which to jump, mainstream medicine I think is missing it big time, because most of us physicians are so busy and so busied by the paperwork and the time constraints that we don’t take the time to think about what we are really doing.
Soul Love: Why is that you think?
Terry Gordon: Being overburdened, time constraints, perhaps even being afraid or hesitant to contemplate something beyond what’s right in front of you. Inside each of us there are two selfs: The physical self – that’s mortal, it’s fractured, it’s an ego encapsulated in a skin house that we call a body, but it dies. It can be irreversibly altered by disease, injury and death. The other self that resides within us is the spiritual self – it’s the immortal self. If we can connect more with that spiritual self, that’s when the true healing occurs. It doesn’t occur in the heart catheterization or the open heart procedure. That’s not the healing! Close to the tail end of my career I started sharing that with patients, but only if I got the sense that they could benefit from it.
There was this Harley Davidson biker dude and he came in the hospital with a heart attack and he was so pissed. He had piercings all over his body and he was a very angry dude.
The day before my patients would go home I would always sit down and talk with them about behavior modification – How do we prevent this from happening again, cholesterol, blood pressure, all that stuff and… meditating.
So I started to share with him my story about Wayne Dyer. I looked at this guy and he had this anger and the smoke coming out of his nostrils and ears and I decided for myself “this guy is not going to listen to me and so I even won’t waste my time”. So I left his room and I’m walking down the hall and I suddenly realized how judgmental I had just been. I decided to turn around and I walked back to his room and sat on his bed and started talking to him about my spiritual awakening and how Wayne Dyer helped me with that. He looked up at me and he said: “What the hell you’re talking about this Wayne Dyer dude?” I said “I just wanted to share this because he helped me”. Next to him on the bed was this old, beaten up leather knapsack and he opened it up and showed me two books by Wayne Dyer.
This guy taught me a very important lesson. First of all, don’t be judgmental, but more importantly, everybody is hungry for this. Everyone, and especially in today’s world, where there is darkness. Everybody’s searching, even the people that are creating the darkness, I believe are searching.
Soul Love: In the chapter “Do you believe in magic” you share a touching letter from Magic Moreno sent to your son Tyler. What is magic and what is real?
Terry Gordon: What is real magic? [Terry smiles now] My wife had a dream which she shared with me the same morning that I opened up the email about Magic Moreno and I think life is magical if you allow it to be. So many of us become so embedded in where we are and what we’re doing, but if you open your mind to the possibilities, to miracles occurring, they’re everywhere! It’s just magically marvelous, they’re everywhere.
There’s a book called “A Course in Miracles” and it says: “Miracles are natural. When they do not occur something has gone terribly wrong”.
I was a scientist – you’ve got to prove something to me first and then I was going to believe it. But one day, something extraordinary happened to me and it was the first magical thing that ever happened to me.
We were taking a much needed two week vacation. I got home from work at eight o’clock at night and after loading the Suburban we took off for Lake Mohawk. It was on the way down there that my wife Angela was trying to make small talk and she said: “You know honey, we really need a new vacuum cleaner”. The last thing I wanted to hear about was a vacuum cleaner and I kind of told her so and it wasn’t in a very nice way and so the rest of the trip was very quiet. When we got to the cabin, I went straight to my room.
The next morning, I got up and went down to the lake to unwind and I get down on my knees and began pulling weeds. I was down there for a good couple of hours and Angela left for the grocery store. I knew I was still in the doghouse because usually she would yell down: “I love you sweetie”, but she didn’t that day.
She was gone for about five minutes when I heard her call my name. Now the strange thing was, her voice came from behind me and behind me was just forest. I even looked in the forest, but I went back to the lake. A couple of minutes later my daughter Laila came running out of the cabin yelling and screaming “come quick, come quick!” So I ran to the top of the hill and she says “mommy is at the front gate, there’s a man dying and they need you”.
I hopped into the other car and made it up to this fellow and he was in a full cardiac arrest. At the same time emergency medical services got there, I grabbed their defibrillator and shocked him about four times. His heart rhythm came back and I went with them in the ambulance to the nearest hospital and we dropped him off.
On the way back it hit me that I had heard Angela call my name. I didn’t tell her what I experienced but I rather asked her what she had experienced. Her first thought was to turn around and go get me, but she knew that would take too long. Her second thought was “Terry, you’re in such a stress right now, you need some time off, let somebody else handle it”. She said that she couldn’t do that either. I asked her what happened next and she said “I decided to call you but I couldn’t remember the phone number and then I just called out your name”. It was four miles down the road, from the Suburban, that I heard Angela call my name. Without any question I could hear her as clearly as you can hear me now.
That same night the telephone rang and it was the wife of the man that I helped resuscitate. She was so thankful and told me she just knew an angel had arrived and she wanted to get me something. I told her: “Ma’am, you don’t understand, being able to help save your husband’s life is the most invigorating thing I can do, I don’t want anything”. But she insisted and she said: “We’re hard working people, we work for Hoover, can we buy you a vacuum cleaner?”
Now, if that doesn’t affect someone, I don’t know what will. It changed my life! It changed me from saying “I believe it when I see it”, to “I’ll see it when I believe it”. And that magic is there all the time. It’s just a matter of recognizing it.
Soul Love: As I was reading your story, it seemed that nature was playing a more and more important role for you to reflect on your daily circumstances and moods. What connection do you feel with nature?
Terry Gordon: It’s just such an unfathomable, peaceful, beautiful experience. I have always enjoyed nature but I never stopped and smelled the roses until I retired. I now had more time and in that contemplation I see things in nature that I never, ever noticed before. To look in the eyes of a squirrel or a raccoon for example… Nature has provided me much insight and continues to do so.
“The falls of your life provide you the energy to propel you onto a higher path.”
Soul Love: Are you willing to share with us what your truth in life is?
Terry Gordon: Our purpose for being here is our transformational enlightenment. It’s to end up in a place of higher consciousness. It might just be a small shift, maybe a large one. I think that our purpose is not to become famous or to have things named after us, but it is our transformational enlightenment. I also think that life is a solitary journey, that doesn’t mean we’re alone, but it’s a journey to a higher consciousness. That’s my truth.
Soul Love: Why do we always perceive suffering as a purely negative experience and how could we change that?
Terry Gordon: Well, by accepting the non-duality of life. Lao Tzu talks about that in the second verse of the Tao Te Ching – Where the calm sunny day is perfectly balanced by the storm and perfect health is perfectly balanced by disease and injury. If you can accept both of those as being one and the same, just different ends of the journey, then it makes perfect sense that you’re going to suffer because you can’t know what freedom and peace is without suffering. So you have to experience both. But the important thing is to let go of the attachment to what you perceive is good as much as you let go of the attachment to what you perceive as not so good. And that’s when you get the true freedom – when you experience the profound sorrow, like what we’re experiencing with Tyler and yet you also see the beautiful side of that. This is what I meant by “accepting the non-duality of life”.
INTERVIEW BY: DIRK TERPSTRA – SOUL LOVE FOUNDER