Today, spiritual teacher Louise Hay celebrates her 90th birthday. One of the founders of the self-help movement, Louise has inspired millions of people with her positive philosophy and affirmations. The best-selling author of several books, among them You Can Heal Your Life, she has helped facilitate–and often accelerate–the healing process.
In June of 2004, I discovered Louise Hay. Here is my story…
I was between appointments and had an entire day to myself. After running several errands, I wandered into the Bookshelf Café. I hadn’t picked up a book since receiving the diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer. Appointments, tests, and trips to the Cancer Centre had taken over my life, leaving little time for anything else. It was time to start reading again.
A self-help junkie, I decided to check out the latest in that section of the bookstore. As I glanced through shelves of books extolling improved self-esteem and better work performance, a cover with a beautiful rainbow set against a yellow backdrop caught my attention. A picture of a perky, forty-something blonde rested on the bold title: You Can Heal Your Life. Later, I discovered that the perky blonde was sixty years old when the picture was taken.
I was curious about the boldness of the title. How could a woman who was not a doctor make such a claim? I turned the book over and read the short blurb describing her background. Metaphysical lecturer and teacher. Science of Mind minister. Personal growth and self-healing. New Age stuff. As I started to put the book back, I noticed a glowing testimonial from Dr. Bernie Siegel, the author of Love, Medicine & Miracles.
I then turned to the Foreword written by Dave Braun and was struck by the first sentence: “If I were cast away on a desert island and could have only one book with me there, I might well choose Louise L. Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life.”
Another bold claim!
Intrigued, I flipped through the pages of the book. Several sentences caught my attention: “Releasing resentment will dissolve even cancer”; “The breasts represent the mothering principle. When there are problems with the breast, it usually means we are ‘over-mothering’ a person, a place, a thing, or an experience.”
I bought the book and spent the rest of the day reading about an amazing woman who had endured a traumatic childhood, poverty, divorce and a diagnosis of cancer in the vaginal area. She was short on clinical details, but it sounded like the cancer was in the advanced stages. I was particularly struck by the following comment: “The word incurable, which is so frightening to so many people, means to me that this particular condition cannot be cured by any outer means and that we must go within to find the cure.” Louise went within and healed herself of cancer without surgery or treatments. That was over thirty years ago.
While some of Louise’s suggestions were definitely out of my comfort zone, I didn’t dismiss them entirely. Instead of surrounding myself with bright lights and ocean scenes, I hung a print of an Italian soccer player in my bedroom. Each morning and evening, I would imagine that handsome young man kicking the tumor out of my breast. It had come from nowhere, and I wanted to send it back to nowhere.
I developed an interest in visualization and started thinking in positive affirmations, using several of Louise’s suggestions:
• I lovingly do everything I can to assist my body in maintaining physical health.
• Today, every cell of my body radiates health.
• I relax and let my body heal itself.
Excited about the book, I shared Louise’s ideas with friends and relatives. I chuckled at their raised eyebrows and forced smiles. To be fair, that would have been my reaction before the diagnosis. But cancer had staked its claim and thrown a monkey wrench into my life. While I listened to my health care team, I also incorporated suggestions from this remarkable woman, who is a living testimonial to what she teaches.
*Originally published in Memoirs 2013.