Rollins College – a small liberal arts college tucked away on lake Virginia five minutes from downtown Orlando -was the school, “Hanging Loose: How to handle stress,” was the class, and Dr. Farkash was the professor.
As a practicing Psychotherapist and Professor, husband, father and grandfather, he lived to inspire. The ideas which unfolded during his classes planted many seeds in my mind. One seed sprouted into the this blog almost six years after leaving the doors of his classroom, Get Inspired 2 Live. My goal is to inspire one other to #getinspired2 live better, in hopes they will inspire one more, and then one more. Because it only takes one to start a ripple effect…
Dr. Farkash, or Marty as he preferred, never ceased to awe and amaze during his classes. Though I was inspired by most of the professors I had during my years here, Dr. Farkash had that extra rare quality that’s hard to put into words. The combination of his humor, love for people, knowledge of the human mind and positive attitude toward life, drove his students to learn and succeed.
My last semester at Rollins, I finally managed to squeeze into the class everyone raved about, but was almost impossible to get, “Hanging Loose.” I was surprised to see the seats filled with not only psychology majors already well versed in the powers of the human brain like myself, but the school’s athletes. They were privy to Marty’s teachings on envisioning wins, a method known to improve performance.
The adventure began, and within the first week I realized why his classes were so popular.
He introduced his students to methods that calm and open the mind to new and more creative ways of thinking. He wasn’t just teaching a subject, he was teaching a way to live happy, relaxed, aware and more inspired. Everything we discussed went beyond the classroom and into daily life — no matter what life you lived you could benefit from his methods.
So how did he inspire us? By putting the whole class into a trance of course!
Almost every class involved him leading us into at least 10 minutes of meditation and breathing practices to promote fuller awareness of our surroundings and connection with our true self. He provided a guided tour into our own minds, and unleashed new and powerful ways of thinking. With our breathing relaxed, back straight, and brain pathways open, we went on a journey of discovery right from our desk.
The day he put us into a deep trance for the entire hour was the hour that changed me. Though, I only remember the first couple minutes of him guiding us into a deep state of conscious awareness and the last minutes when I awoke to realize class was over, the memory of how I felt afterward stayed with me.
I left feeling lighter and more aware. The air was more crisp and fresh, the sun was brighter, the sky more colorful. My mind was focused and clear. My outlook on everything was more positive and I was inspired to learn and experience all that life had to offer. The feeling returned after each class session.
My only complaint for the class was that there weren’t enough of them. He often canceled to leave for NYC. However, like the typical Florida college student, when classes were canceled I had no trouble taking full advantage of the day (if we weren’t being evacuated for a hurricane), but when his classes were canceled, I was always disappointed.
Turns out, he was battling melanoma cancer. He went to NYC for doctors’ appointments and to be part of a new drug study, a story documented by the Boston Globe in November, 2011. I recently learned he lost his 7 year battle at the end of 2011, passing away peacefully in his sleep at 72, but not before he was able to welcome his first grandson into the world.
“I knew there was a possibility of it coming back,’’ he said in a Boston Globe article by Carolyn Y. Johnson “And yet, on the other hand, I’m a very optimistic person and I always believe if I live long enough, they can come up with something for you.”
To put the semester class into one sentence, I’d say it was the one class that continues to give and has allowed me to live a more inspired and aware existence. I ended the semester with a 4.0 average and went on to experience the world and all its glory.
Through this blog, I hope to inspire others to live their best life by offering ideas and solutions to help increase awareness, relaxation and inspiration throughout daily life. One day at a time, one person at a time, together we can get inspired to live our best life for those we love, and better the world we inhabit with 7.6 billion others.
So here’s to you Dr. Farkash, your physical presence may no longer be with us, but your teachings and positive energy live on. Thank you for leading the way to opening the pathway to ones dreams. And thank you for teaching me how to unlock the doors to mine- to inspire.
In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”