An Advocate for the Disabled

Charles Carlson had always been successful: honors student and captain of sports teams in high school, student-athlete and elected to the honors society in college. A great job at the top of his field in Manhattan, a two-bedroom condo on Central Park West. A beautiful loving wife, two great children, skiing and sailing vacations all over the world.

Then the unthinkable happened: an acrimonious divorce, a business failure, a terrible accident that left his mother an incapacitated invalid, and finally a car accident that left Charles with a Traumatic Brain Injury.

The struggle to regain his life and his health continues to this day. That struggle is the basis for his memoir Passage to Nirvana. Charles has had many compassionate helpers: doctors, therapists, Zen masters, family, friends and last but certainly not least, his faithful dog Henry. Some of the lessons Charles learned about succeeding against long odds were new to him; others were lessons he had learned from his parents and teachers when he was younger but had forgotten. When you are successful, it’s easy to take your life for granted. But when everything comes crashing down, then you start searching for answers: “How did this happen? How did I get here?” And most importantly, “How am I going to get out of this mess?”

Charles found some answers to those questions. His recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury was certainly an example of how to succeed in tough times. A professional writer for most of his adult life, Charles’s ability to conceive, organize and write a powerful and complex book like Passage to Nirvana was the ultimate testament to his ability to triumph against long odds.

The positive response from readers of Passage to Nirvana was overwhelming, and Charles realized from the correspondence he received that there was a hunger for the same answers he had found. There were many, many people suffering tough times, for whatever reason: illness, accident, divorce, job loss, economic uncertainty…the list goes on and on.

So Charles decided to devote his life to being an advocate for the downtrodden, especially individuals and families affected by Traumatic Brain Injury. He has vowed to devote his life to helping others learn how to succeed in tough times, not only through writing, but through speaking, radio, seminars, the internet—whatever it takes.