“Years ago, anthropologist Margaret Mead was asked by a student what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture. The student expected Mead to talk about fishhooks or clay pots or grinding stones.
But no, Mead said, the first sign of civilization in an ancient culture was a femur (thigh bone) that had been broken and then healed. Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger, get to the river for a drink or hunt for food. You are meat for the prowling beast. No animal survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal.
A broken femur that has healed is evidence that someone has taken time to stay with the one who fell, has bound up the wound, has carried the person to safety and has tended the person through recovery. Helping someone else through difficulty is where civilization starts, Mead said.”
—Dr. Ira Byock
I am extraordinarily proud to announce that Mariah Gladis has been selected for a National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Pioneer award for 2020. As I understand, this national award is NASW’s most distinguished honor. And as much as I am happy to see Mariah’s legacy as a pioneering clinical social worker continuing, I am also sad to use the word legacy. I wish she were here for this.
As you’ll see in her bio on NASW’s site, Mariah pushed the boundaries of the clinical social work profession to include loving yourself first so you have the strength to give to others whole-heartedly and unconditionally; the service she so exquisitely modeled to me and others. She also showed us, by example, how to share her generous heart and ceaseless soul even under the most trying of circumstances.
Part of Mariah’s internal belief system was that the knowledge of how to mend emotional damage and live a healthy life should not just be reserved for professionals but should be given to everyone. Proverbially, she taught people how to fish while giving them fish at the same time. An incredible talent.
A passage from her book, Tales of a Wounded Healer, sums up her passion: “A natural outgrowth of expanding your love and providing yourself with a successful healing journey is that you will naturally want to spread the inner wealth. So, notice, inquire and care about the needs of others. Supply them with a moment of healing if you’re able. Be curious about the moments of healing your loved ones need. Know them well; participate in their healing journey. Create little sweet moments with strangers. Practice compassion for those you don’t understand and forgiveness for the unforgivable. Pray for the healing of all people. Travel on the river that flows through the lives of everyone.”
‘Gotta Serve Somebody’ Bob Dylan once wrote and sang. Mariah served all of us, and with love.