You Can Heal Your Life
Louise Hay passed away on August 30, in her sleep, at the age of 90. I was aware of her work and had enjoyed reading her book You Can Heal Your Life, which spent 16 weeks on the New York Times bestsellers’ list, and sold more than 50 million copies throughout the world.
One thing I did not know about her was that Louise was already 61 years-old when she started her own publishing company. The little venture which began in her living room is now a global non-profit corporation that has sold millions of books and products worldwide. Hay House publishes the works of notable authors in the ‘self-help’ business, such as Dr. Wayne Dyer (who transitioned in 2015), Doreen Virtue, and Esther and Jerry Hicks, among others. What is truly remarkable is that the birth of this wildly successful organisation occurred after what could have actually precipitated the end of Louise’s life. When she was diagnosed with ‘incurable’ cervical cancer in 1977, she was already a sought-after therapist. She had also by then compiled a reference guide detailing the mental causes of physical ailments and developed positive thought patterns for reversing illness and creating health, long before this had become popular in ‘mainstream’ thinking. When she was diagnosed with cancer, she chose to bypass the traditional healing methods, and instead developed her own intensive programme of affirmations, visualisation, nutritional cleansing, and psychotherapy. Within six months, she was completely healed.
I recently recommended Louise’s books to a friend who was struggling with a much less serious and non-life-threatening ailment, with the aim of perhaps helping to provide a new perspective on things; although the answer I received was a curt, “Thanks, but I won’t be able to cure this thing just by thinking nice thoughts, don’t make me f*** laugh!” Obviously, there is a little more to it than that. And it does require a certain openness of mind. As it happens, Hay House author Wayne Dyer used to say that rejecting something you don’t know anything about is the highest form of ignorance. Sometimes it pays to try new things. Louise Hay did not cure herself of cancer just by ‘thinking nice thoughts’, she simply came to the overwhelming conclusion that by holding on to her resentment for her childhood abuse and rape she had contributed to the onset of the disease. So, she let it go.
Whether we encounter physical illness, or problems of a different kind in our world today, such as struggling with a tough professional decision, or wrestling with a difficult family situation, we are often encouraged to seek help outside of ourselves. Sometimes this approach can yield amazing results, especially when it comes to discovering new ways of thinking. help their client to connect with the unconscious resources within themselves. This might mean dropping limiting beliefs which hold a person back. Or letting go of negative emotions which eventually, if left to fester, may well end up creating negative effects in the physical body.
No matter what your opinion on the subject, the placebo effect is well-documented. The mind-body connection is real. In the case of Multiple Personality Disorder, some studies have even shown that physical characteristics such as eye colour, allergies, a burn on your hand or even a tumour might be present, or not, depending on which ‘personality’ is in charge of the body at the time. Could this really go to show how deeply subjective reality in fact is?
In NLP, we believe that whatever we think we are as people, in fact, we are always much more than that. Perhaps it’s time to let go of the kind of thinking that stops us fulfilling our highest potential.
“I do not fix problems. I fix my thinking. Then problems fix themselves.” – Louise Hay.