We are in an era when all reporting — wire services, networks, whatever — looks the way tabloid reporting did when I was small. Aggressive, emotional, mostly verbal renderings of disasters that are meant to strike terror into the heart of the reader. Sometimes, something miraculous or near miraculous. Once in a while in this constellation of stories there is something “inspiring.” We all need inspiration. It is tough to define and highly individualistic.

I actually like this definition more than others: That “feeling of enthusiasm” that makes you “do” or “create” something.

A close friend actually told me recently that she loves success stories. Massive weight loss (I am guilty of that one) or anything. I remember looking through my mom’s occasional tabloid newspaper purchases at the supermarket, looking for exactly that kind of “inspiration.” It gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling that anything was possible. A child wants to believe that all is possible. Maybe, just maybe, any adult needs to believe that all is possible. There is a lot written about the traps and treadmills that some people seem to be stuck in. Less about how to get them out. That is because, I believe, people have to get themselves out. This is the role of “inspiration,” Prisons people get themselves into can be either mental or physical. I have (rarely) seen people change their way of thinking. More often they will cling to an ideology or belief system long after it has ceased to work for them. People cling to ideas, for example, like “I could get promoted in this company if I only (fill in the blank yourself) and when they do it they do not get promoted — an example of the sort of “treadmill” bosses and companies put employees on. Physical prisons that are part of physical reality are plenty easier to understand. I think that this is one of the main reason that a lot of people take “inspiration’ from sports heroes.

The story about the man who fetches the ball at professional matches may not seem to be terribly inspirint — at least until you read the entire article. When you realize this is a seriously injured war hero — an American who served in harm’s way in the middle east, who once lay on the ground helpless and praying to avoid death — and is now, with a titanium rod in his leg. a ball runner for the U.S. Open, your spirit will get a boost from his indomitable courage and will. He called in his agony to supernatural forces: God and Jesus. I learned a long time ago nobody calls to the earthly forces, nobody ever calls “hey surgeon, give me a good sturdy placement for my titanium rod so I can walk again.” This is all right, though. My ego is not that fragile. Only yesterday, I saw a really distraught patient who was crying and asking Jesus for help. I had only one question for her. “Do you believe that Jesus could work through a red headed little old Jewish lady doctor like me?” She was nodding and laughing and from then on we did fine. I didn’t care where her inspiration came from. Only that she believed her own healing to be possible. So for a long time now, if a patient looks distraught, I say good bye with “Cling to whatever inspires you. Remember Iwo Jima. Remember the Alamo. The religion of your choice. Whatever. Find what inspires you and cling to it, because that is going to be what gets you through.”

Author's Bio: 

Estelle Toby Goldstein, M.D. is certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and is licensed to practice in the state of California. She holds a valid license from the DEA to write prescriptions, but is an expert in nutritional therapies involving vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other cutting-edge treatments.

A native of Boston, she graduated from medical school in France, and after returning the US, did her internship in general surgery and residencies in neurosurgery and psychiatry. She has also done fellowships in neurology in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and psychopharmacology at the University of Kansas, Wichita.

She calls her current practice “Natural Alternative Mind-Body Medicine” and chiefly concentrates on transitioning patients away from prescription drugs and onto natural substances. She is also a master practitioner of Emotional Freedom Technique, a powerful and dynamic form of energy psychology that usually brings quicker results than traditional psychotherapy.

A proud veteran, she has served as psychiatrist to the 82nd Airborne in Ft. Bragg, NC while in the U.S. Army and worked in the VA Hospital system in several states.

After her Army service, she held faculty posts in both University of Kansas and University of Oklahoma schools of medicine.

Dr. Goldstein is in demand as a public speaker and a media guest, and has written an advice column in a major market daily newspaper and hosted a weekly call-in radio show on one of the national networks. She now lives in the Napa Valley of Northern California with her husband and business partner, Wade B. Ward.