2012: John Otterbacher and his Series of Adventures

side view of wooden sail boat cutting through the waterThe premise for John Otterbacher’s most recent work may well be that a strong connection with nature can save your life and bring your true self alive.  In 2012 the Michigan Notable Book author and world traveler teamed up with others to publish EarthSpirit!: Your Connection with Nature Can Save Your  Life.  Such an endeavor would be but the latest of Otterbacher’s “series of adventures.”  A proud native of Grand Rapids, as a young person he was inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy.  In part, due to his grief over their death in 1968, he first ran for office in 1972 and won a Democratic seat in Michigan.  Otterbacher’s political career included two terms in the state House, one in the state Senate and one ill-fated bid for the U.S. Senate against Carl Levin.  He went on to get a doctorate and had a private practice as a clinical psychologist.  After suffering eight heart attacks in short succession, his prospects were looking grim with doctors not holding out much hope.  His response was to go sailing with his wife and two youngest children on their boat Grace.  Not just a fast sail on Lake Michigan but on a six year, 30,000-mile family journey that included four ocean crossings.  For a man not given six months to live, he feels that nature and Grace saved his life.  “I don’t get to choose everything that happens to me. I do get to choose my attitude towards life and others. I do get to set my priorities, move in the direction of my dreams, and build a life that reflects my deepest values. I don’t have to let fear run my life. I get to choose.” John Otterbacher.  Mr. Otterbacher’s book Sailing Grace: A True Story of Death, Life and the Sea, is listed as a Michigan Notable Book.

Otterbacher, John Robert and Thomas Crum. EarthSpirit!: Your Connection with Nature Can Save Your Life! Place of publication not identified: KEI Publications, 2012.

Otterbacher, John Robert. Outrageous Grace: Taking the Long Way Home. London, England: Adlard Coles Nautical, 2009.

Otterbacher, John Robert. Sailing Grace: A True Story of Death, Life and the Sea. Grand Rapids, MI: Samadhi Press, 2007.