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Night Out With Meaning: Wheelchair Wisdom

Updated: Oct 14, 2021

Storyteller: Linda Noble Topf

My work exists for one reason and one reason only — to empower and enable people to fulfill on those matters that are of interest and importance to them. And, in the process, it is my intention to leave people transformed with more power, freedom, self expression and peace of mind. I know that living your best life is a balancing act of mind, body, and spirit that takes you beyond a mere understanding of how you see yourself and life as possibility—your priorities, your work, your relationships, who you are for yourself and others—as inventing and choosing a life of unencumbered freedom.

It’s my belief that the more we learn and the more we develop our talents and skills, the more we think we’re equipped to deal effectively, powerfully, and easily with challenges we face. We hope that the big picture and the best path will reveal themselves. We pray that with all of our education, background and past experiences, we have become adept at how we relate to the world, and the way the world approaches us.”

On November 8th we welcomed Linda Noble Topf as our Night Out With Meaning storyteller.

In 1981, at the height of Linda’s business success and in the middle of planning Philly’s 300th Birthday celebration, she was blindsided by the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Rather than forcing transformation to happen because of her physical challenges, she created ideal conditions for natural transformation to thrive.

In 1984, she pioneered The MS Initiative, an innovative project that inspired MS patients and their families to ask questions and explore alternative treatments and develop resources (and peer support) to maintain positive attitudes. The MS Initiative expanded to nine states, and was in existence for five years.

As an advocate for disability rights, she is a professional speaker, contributing editor, and author dedicated to assisting others in seeing that illness, injury, or any kind of adversity in any stage of life, can be viewed as a spiritual awakening, an opportunity for personal growth, and connection to the consciousness of who we all are.

In 1995, a ten-year project became a reality—You Are Not Your Illness: Seven Principles for Meeting the Challenge was published by Simon & Schuster. Her leadership in the disability community has consistently earned her a reputation for asking open-ended questions, such as “What is missing?” or “What is possible?” or “What can I learn?” or “How do we cultivate the imprint left after this initial awakening?”

Linda is currently writing Wheelchair Wisdom: Awaken Your Spirit Through Adversity. She was recently chosen as the Grand Prize Winner for Berrett-Koehler’s Open Book Editions! It has always been Linda’s intention that Wheelchair Wisdom shatters widespread notions of what it’s like to spend life in a wheelchair.


Six weeks after having my third child I went to the gym. I had not been to the gym during my pregnancy, and I was dreading the work it would take to get back into shape. The trainer talked a lot about strengthening my core – which was pretty much non-existent after my 9-pound bundle of joy. That was 3 years ago, and I still work at strengthening my core.

Our most recent Night Out with Meaning had me thinking about core strength in a very different way!

We all have core strengths, and it is a matter of going deep within to articulate those attributes about ourselves that seem to get us through life’s highs and lows.

The words I used to describe our storyteller, Linda Noble Topf are: passionate, talented, artistic, healthy, strong, humble, considerate and soulful. Linda truly inspired everyone in the room with the story of her life and her wisdom.

If you are interested in learning more about Linda’s work, I encourage you to visit her website:

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