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“To my wife, Beth. The night we met, you had the courage to take my hand and dance. We’ve danced together through friendship, dating, marriage, parenting, challenges, joys, and life ever since. Thank you for being a constant encouragement, a wonderful mother, an awesome wife, and a best friend. I love you.” – John O’Leary’s dedication from his book ON FIRE

Over the weekend, I gathered with nearly 1,000 of my friends and family for an amazing celebration with live music, inspiration, drinks and fun.

To those of you who were in the room (and those of you who were there in spirit), I can’t tell you all how grateful I am for your support, your belief, your posts, your shares, your investment, and your celebrating the successful launch of my book, On Fire, with me. [Check out the pictures here.]

While this weekend’s On Fire Book Launch Party was amazing, I haven’t always experienced this amount of love and positivity.

Recently I was asked to write an article to share on BeliefNet. I wrote about one of the harder moments that occurred nearly 30 years ago.



“If he was a horse, I’d shoot him.”

I’ll never forget the sting of hearing those words spoken about me. [Tweet this] | [Share on Facebook]

To read this article and “meet” a man who is an inspiration to me, visit www.beliefnet.com.

This is your day. Live Inspired.

John O’Leary


When have you been stung by the words of others? How have you overcome them? Share your own story in the comments below.

3 replies on “Don’t Shoot the Horse”

I had so many of those experiences in my life but the hardest one was being in med school and being told by my dean that I shouldn’t be there (based on his belief system – not American or Canadian.) He never stopped. He was constantly telling me that I should be with my family at home and that I had no place to be there. The other one was when I had a UTI and someone said loud enough for me to hear, “See I told you she was a skank-ho!” I had no idea why anyone would think those things about me because I’m a really strong Chrisian. But the two of those comments and then Dr. S refusing to post our neuro notes until 3 days before the exam because I had gotten almost perfect on the first exam really made me bitter. How did I deal with it – the best that I could being so far from my only support. Then being drugged, nearly destroyed me. I was living in a world with people that didn’t value women, let alone smart women and that was the hardest thing that I had ever felt alone. The women from that culture shared with me that the good looking women from their culture are married off, and the others are sent to school. How should that make me feel, was her question to me. My response was that I didn’t have a face that pretty to pull off wearing that scarf so I guess I’m in school because I’m considered ugly too. I learned so much from that experience to how I never want to feel again to how I never want to make another person feel again.

Live inspired. Live full of love. Today, 7 years later, I am no longer carrying the burden of those people’s thoughts, but had the pleasure of chatting with a man from that culture here in Toronto in the grocery store about how we use cilantro. God is good. God heals. If we let him pour salve on our broken heart and minds. I’ll never forget how I learned about you. Yous spoke at my friend’s school’s convocation, UMHS. My friend who had also experienced being drugged at our other school. He is now a psychiatrist. Your words helped on my journey of healing. So you never know who you are helping heal and how. Keep doing what you do. I helped him finish. You’re helping me. I’m preparing for my MCAT to return. Yes, even in my old age 😉

My father, a farmer, lost one hand in a corn picker accident when I was five years old. He might have made a comment like the “shooting a horse” one before that time. Even as he continued to farm with one hand (and never complain about his plight) his attitude didn’t soften much until later in life. It was at his funeral that I learned how many others he had positively influenced. The line for visitation at the funeral home snaked out the door, down the street and around the block for the entire six hours. Many people stood in the rain in their “church clothes”. Too bad as children we missed this kinder, gentler side of Dad but the lessons I learned from him remain. We can only hope this arrogant physician has changed too by now.

Mean words do sting especially when it comes from a love one. It stings because the spirit in us is the complete opposite. I have learned to just take deep breaths and confirm within my self that , that individual must feel unloved. There is no way a person who knows how to love and feels that way. I instantly meditate on ‘ a soft answer turns away wrath. …’ And to do that is to respond in love.

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