Last week we lost an incredible man who, throughout his lifetime, defied the odds. His name was Stephen Hawking. A man who chose not to be a victim or limit himself by his disabilities, but who did choose to triumph and become a leader in the field of science. With a huge personality, he has inspired tremendous interest and innovation in science. Through a genuine quest for knowledge and truth, and an unconditional love of scientific advancement, Hawking has created everlasting change, and he himself has become an everlasting example of change through his actions.
He lived by the motto, “Do as I do, not only as I say.” He taught by example and showed that the appearance of one’s handicap does not define them, does not limit their potential to make a significant impact in the world. With a steadfast commitment to our own life’s work, accountability, and the persistent support of a loving community, we can truly overcome any obstacle. As the Founder of a recovery community, I strive to enmesh these principles into all of our programs and into everything we do. With an unconditional love for all people, our community leads with the overarching goal to help people, help themselves.
I’m reminded of a story of a man who had a near-death experience. The man flat lined and was pronounced dead, but came back to life. His teacher asked him what he saw and he said, “I saw an upside-down world, those who we respect down here are not so respected up there, sometimes they’re even despised, and those who we don’t really respect down here, are considered hero’s up there!” His teacher responded, “My son, you didn’t see an upside-down world, you saw a clear world.” It’s obvious that Mr. Hawking will be a hero in this physical world, including the nonphysical world.
We have a choice to be a victim or a hero or a survivor. Sometimes we will get recognition in this world, and sometimes we may not. Either way, our deeds do not go unnoticed and have everlasting effects. A person who has survived, who has overcome and accomplished, creates a ripple effect of more survivors. They create a wave of healing, of inspiration, that survives for generations.
Let us use Hawking as an example by which to live our lives, to remain accountable for our actions, and to fight always for the advancement of our communities and of humankind. Let’s be bold, courageous, and committed throughout our lifetime, whether or not we receive public praise. By doing so, we will create great change and live in a world that the teacher called a “clear world”.
~Asher Gottesman, CEO & Founder of Transcend Recovery Community