Steer into the Skid

“When the unimaginable happens, steer towards the experience and discover the richness of life.” – by Gary Malkin

Who knew a phrase we all learned in Driver’s Education class would hold the secret of a successful life-Gary Malkin did? After a series of painful losses that brought him to his knees, he discovered in death, the gifts of life. When he faced the skid of serious loss and steered straight into his experience, he discovered a life beyond his imaginings. 

Through an intense journey of personal grief, Gary found a way to bring his life lessons to all of us in the form of his artistic craft as a musician. His work aids us in steering into all aspects of life’s transitions and emerging a better, more grateful person. His hope is that by telling his story, we too will acknowledge our impermanence and embrace gratefully the richness of a life well lived. In short, Gary has discovered his BEST EVER SELF.

Gary Malkin describes his childhood as chaotic. At times when overwhelmed  

by the relationships in his life, he turned to the piano to “chill out.”  He credits music for diffusing his reactivity while relating to others. At an early age, Gary was discovering the power of music to create what he calls “sacred space.” a way of calming himself and creating a more communal atmosphere.     

As an adult, having developed his musical talent, Gary went on to  become a very successful musical composer, performer and producer. His lifestyle was  affluent and he was married with one child. To most, his life and his many relationships appeared full and vibrant; however, he was soon to discover his life was void of meaning and purpose. The day the unimaginable happened, his life and perspective of life in general, changed forever.

One day Gary and his friend were working on a car when they  discovered his friend’s little girl had crawled underneath. Unaware  of her, they shifted the car and accidentally killed her. One can  only imagine the level of pain and guilt they would experience. Despite the emotional suffering he endured, what Gary remembers most vividly is the life lessons he learned from this experience.

For Gary, this beautiful little life even lying still in death, illuminated a light that was simply too bright to go out. Instead of turning away from her and all her death represented, Gary chose to experience every feeling. The entire experience of her death became an impetus for learning to lead a better life. He describes:

“Death  Is the mother of all life. If we directly experience the reality of our dying, we take a quantum leap to experiencing radical gratitude.“

Gary’s grief from this unimaginable tragedy became a catalyst for his new life. Gary has found a sense of meaning and purpose in creating music and introducing all forms of the arts as healing tools. His organization that he co-founded, Wisdom of the World, produces media that combine musical and visual aids and spoken messages to engage our senses and deepen our receptivity to compassion, peace, empathy, forgiveness, gratefulness and patience. His work is based on research by Daniel Goleman, who has found that by marrying the arts with the authentic spoken word, we develop a greater level of social intelligence that improves our ability to relate to others with a focus on these very important values. 

Gary is a social entrepreneur who’s vision is to improve how we relate as humans throughout the world. His latest project: Safe in the arms of Love allows people to connect with children by creating safe space through the spoken word and music. He is also working on a film series he calls “wisdom films” and he  is creating a psychospiritual audio support program with Duke University for Cancer Patients. 

We can all learn so much from Gary’s story and apply his lessons learned to our own relationships. His willingness to steer into the skid leaves us all with a greater capability to experience our full capacity to be human. 

I have stood at the bedside of someone who passed on with Gary’s work entitled Graceful Passages, a compilation of music combined with statements from famous people who have interfaced with death, playing softly in the background. There was a sense of peacefulness and calm and sacred space was surely present. I now have the piece on my iPhone and listen to it when I need to as Gary says “self soothe.” Gary is an inspiration. His gifts and talents have contributed greatly to the world. Thankfully, he was able and willing to steer into the skid!

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