Louise Hay

Christmas: Book, Music, Film, & Magazine Tips!!

I am a serious book addict – & make no apologies about this. I’d venture to say the world might be more than just a little better off if lotsa folks would sit down more often with a good book & spend a whole lot less time in front of the tube (which my father used to call the “idiot box”).

Under the 'Recommended' tab on this blog are a couple lists of books that I recommend very highly – ‘Books That Could Change Your Life!’ & ‘Books That Could Change the World!’

I just want to very quickly name one super-special, off-the-charts fantastic & utterly timely book, plus one film & one CD & one magazine - any one of which would be a great thing to spend a little of your Christmas cash on. Buy ‘em for yourself, buy ‘em as gifts & share ‘em around…whatever!!

  1. Eaarth – Making a Life on a Tough New Planet – by Bill McKibben. Absolutely essential reading for women, men, children, & human beings of any & all persuasions – but only if you/they give a darn about the fate of this Earth (& our own fate) in the days to come! Read it, gift it, donate a copy to your local library, & maybe give one to a politician you trust (is that an oxymoron??? Not quite, I hope…)
  2. The Louise Hay DVD ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ is a very special one that I have plugged before. I gave copies as Christmas presents one year (& donated a copy to the local library, too). The film is a really fine, healing treasure.
  3. Last year around this time I put in a plug for the CD ‘Amchitka’ that raises funds for Greenpeace. Crazily enough, I still don’t own a copy myself – but I sure do recommend it to anyone & everyone out there! Fabulous music, fantastic group to support.
  4. Tikkun Magazine – a publication of the Network of Spiritual Progressives – is intelligent, thoughtful, insightful, & get-you-off-your-chair inspirational. (The word “tikkun,” btw, means to mend, repair & transform the world.) I wish everyone in the world would join & support the NSP & learn about the group’s ESRA – Environmental & Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, & also their Global Marshall Plan. Check them out at the NSP Web site. (& btw, donating a subscription to a really great magazine to a local library is something I’ve done now in 2 small towns. The library is always very grateful!!)

Janet

P.S. on Dec 27th: Another must-read book alert!!! Disconnect, by Devra Davis. "The truth about cell phone radiation, what the industry has done to hide it, and how to protect your family." Thanks to a gift certificate from my buddy Roof - I mean Ruth - I just bought this book yesterday. Yikes!!!!!!!!!! Please please please read it - & spread the word!! (only if U care about your own & your family's health, of course...) YouTube here. Book review here

P.P.S. It is almost painful for me not to also reference Eckhart Tolle & Pema Chödrön & Byron Katie & Joanna Macy & Elizabeth Lesser – whose books & wisdom mean such a great deal to me. & Anne Tyler & Barbara Kingsolver & Kurt Vonnegut (whose books & wisdom I also value greatly) & Alice Miller & Christiane Northrup & her buddy Mona Lisa Schulz – whose books inform & inspire me greatly. & Anne Lamott & Rachel Naomi Remen &, oh dear me….writers far too numerous to list!? (Margaret Atwood & Margaret Drabble also among them….) Do, do, do check out my recommended reading lists at the links provided above!!! (please note that these focus on non-fiction gems. My list of favoured fiction writers is a little too vast to attempt to wrestle with!?!?!?)

Funny (& Smart) Things Friends Have Said...

<written April 5/09>

I have an amazing circle of women friends. Plato said “Your wealth is where your friends are,” & his insight explains my considerable wealth.

My friends are awesome. Women are awesome. (Men are pretty cool too, but that’s a different essay, hmmm?)

My friends are smart. They say some amazingly astute things sometimes. Some very, very irreverent things sometimes too. As do I. I’m not going to quote the hilarious stuff a friend & I said one time about 2 x 4’s. Not fit for a family publication, as they say… This same friend once also hilariously said “Diarrhea will humiliate us all” & I just about fainted, I laughed so hard. This woman is smart, pretty, compassionate, wise & incredibly generous-spirited. How I’d get by without her friendship, I can’t even begin to imagine…

Another friend said something recently that I really, really liked hearing.

I want to preface what follows with the comment that some of my friends & I have been through some seriously challenging times in the past, oh, six months & one or five or ten or 15 years. Details not important, hmmm?

M. said she’d realized that, although she’d love to have a man in her life, she knows she is (& has) everything with or without one.

What a powerful (& perhaps rare) realization this is…

This woman is a delight. She’s been through really hard times in her life – yet she is joyful & cheerful & open & loving, & she just keeps right on growing & changing & being a great person & friend. Among other things, she knows the power of yoga & music & dancing & singing & walking, & she’s the one who introduced me to the great Louise Hay DVD ‘You Can Heal Your Life.’

I’ve done quite a bit of musing (a fair bit of writing too) about patriarchy in the past few years. Eventually, maybe, I’ll post my essay ‘Patriarchy Sucks’ & maybe I’ll publish my “Letters to Rebecca: Musings on motherhood…& feminism & patriarchy & female/male relationships & the state of the world…” book (it has lots of musings about patriarchy in it).

Meanwhile, the quick & dirty on women thinking we are “incomplete” without a man?

Hah!

I like having a man in my life (I like it a lot!) – but only if the relationship is authentic. Characterized by trust, honesty & talking (not to mention plenty of laughter; gotta be able to laugh, hmm?).Not always possible, apparently… (I think I will wonder to my dying day why laughter becomes such an early casualty in relationships. Thank God we women laugh so much when we’re together…)

I think I may have shocked someone recently when I declared (quite without meaning to; sometimes these things just rocket right out of my mouth), “I can live without a man, but I can’t live without chocolate.”

But it happens to be true! (maybe I could learn to live without chocolate. But…why would I want to?? There is a limit, surely, to what we must learn to live without?)

Anyway. This little essay didn’t go where I intended at all (& I haven’t even scratched the surface of smart & funny things friends have said). But I had fun writing it, &, as Kurt Vonnegut would have me say, if that isn’t nice, I don’t know what is…

Janet

P.S. on May 23/10. Here's something clever (& funny!! It's a 2-for-1 deal) good friend Barb said the other day: "I'd rather have my flaws staring me right in the face, than biting me in the butt." Gotta love that one...

‘Quote of the day’ w. this post: “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” ~ Douglas Adams

Happiness – An “Inside Job”

Does everyone know this?? That happiness is an inside job, I mean? Maybe everyone knows it in a sort of intellectual way, but not really down in our guts – & of course it isn’t until we grasp something in our “guts” that we really get it. We can sort of skirt around something for years & kind of get it – then, eventually, it lands in our guts with (sort of) a thud – & then we really get it. That’s the way it is for me, anyway…

I’ve observed that there are some people in my little town who appear to resent me. There’s a woman who works at my local coffee spot whose behaviour toward me usually borders on rude. We don’t know one another at all, & it could be any one of a hundred things that leads her to be grumpy with me. For sure, that great book The Four Agreements – A Toltec Wisdom Book (by Don Miguel Ruiz) has taught me to a) not take things personally & b) not make assumptions. Of course, being merely human, I do err & do both all too often before catching myself at it.

So it’s pretty silly for me to even speculate about this woman’s behaviour toward me.

I do have a notion that some people find my almost relentless cheerfulness annoying. I’m clearly a pretty happy person most of the time, & I’m aware that it seems to aggravate some people.

The people it aggravates seem to be not-very-happy people – & I suspect that a lot of the not-very-happy people on the planet have not yet grasped the wildly important lesson that happiness truly is an inside job.

There is so much help for all of us these days in transcending/transmuting our little personal “hells.” So many writers who can help us navigate our way out of our personal “holes.”

Writers like Eckhart Tolle & Byron Katie, for just 2 outstanding examples (both of them have faced considerable personal hell & demons themselves, btw). Pema Chödrön & Elizabeth Lesser are two more (they too have wrestled with daunting personal challenges). As has Louise Hay…

Most of our misery is mind-created. It’s our own thoughts that torture us & make us so unhappy. If we can change our thoughts – most of which, as Eckhart Tolle points out – are repetitive – we can change our emotions – & our lives!

I came across a really great quotation about attitude several years ago. It goes like this:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, or say, or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it.” (Charles Swindoll)

We are in charge. For some of us, it seems to serve some sort of odd personal agenda to be miserable – to feel like a victim. Some sort of neurotic pay-off. Whatever

But this kind of thing is clearly a choice.

Change your thinking; change your life!

The world can sure use our full attention – & energy – these days! It kind of needs us to wake up!!

Janet

p.s. Books by the authors mentioned that I recommend highly are:

Read just one, or any or all of them; every single one is awesome!! :)

p.p.s. Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life is also excellent, & the DVD that’s been made of it is very, very, very worth watching…

Today's quote: “It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, but it is not possible to find it elsewhere.” ~ Agnes Repplier (more quotations about happiness here)

** great big list of "books that can change your life" here

Prisons (& Prisms) of our own Making

<January 2009>

I often write cheery how-to advice pieces about how we can each change our lives, be happy more or less routinely, & so on. Not everyone I know buys my advice or is a big fan. (Heh heh.) I’m guessing some of the people pretty close to me dismiss me disparagingly as some kind of mindless “Pollyanna.” Funny, since if I had to name one of my top all-time favourite movies, it would indeed be Walt Disney’s “Pollyanna” from the 1960’s.

I don’t think everyone understands what "being a Pollyanna” really means. It doesn’t mean being a naïve person who wears rose-coloured glasses 24/7/365 & pretends or believes that everything in the world is just grand; what it means is, one is aware that what we focus on expands, & that focusing on the good in all people & situations is liable to make life a whole lot more pleasant & the people around us a lot more cheery (& the world, maybe, a better place to be, even!).

Does anyone really suppose I’m not aware of the myriad horrendous, despair-making problems that exist in our world? Trust me – I am! I’ve been a problem-watcher & hopeful world-changer all my life. That’s what my dysfunctional childhood led me to, seemingly...

What I find I see around me, quite a bit, are people whose minds seem to have become their own prisons. They’re always living out of old scripts, replaying ancient (& more recent) hurts & grievances, & just generally making their own lives miserable.

Whatever turns you on, hmmm? If misery is your “thing,” you go for it; no skin off my nose.

If, on the other hand, you’re tired of the mind prison you’ve spent too much time in & you don’t want to be a ‘lifer’ there, turf out the prison & exchange it for a prism.

Borrow “Pollyanna” from your local library (or video store that has the “oldies”) & watch it. Let yourself be a kid for a bit, & enjoy the scenes with Mr. Pendergast & the prisms that brought so much enjoyment to Pollyanna & her fellow townspeople (even & especially the really grumpy ones).

Swear off immersing yourself in bad news all the time. Start focusing on possibilities instead of on problems & limitations. Think about light & goodness, not darkness & evil. Practice forgiveness. Learn to live “one day at a time.” Remind yourself often that everything isn’t all about you. Smile often, & sing, too – both are free & almost invariable mood-lighteners. Take up a daily gratitude habit. Start doing volunteer work & learn that a life of service to others brings enormous satisfaction to ourselves. Take a daily walk (no I-pod – instead, focus on Nature – sky, clouds, birds, water, critters…).

If you want to read some wonderfully helpful writers who can help you switch from prison to prism, go for it! I highly recommend Pema Chödrön, Byron Katie, Eckhart Tolle – & I also recommend Louise Hay – especially her DVD “You Can Heal Your Life.”

I find this life we all lead a very circular sort of deal. It’s up and down & all around – like a roller coaster, or a merry-go-round. This particular little essay is as much me reminding myself of some things I need to remember as it is about advising anyone else. I happen to be going through some stubborn challenges of my own right now & I seem to need to re-learn some of the simple lessons that have helped me so much in the past, during other hard times.

Just like you, I’m making my way, moving ahead, one step at a time, one day at a time.

Far as I can tell, there’s no other way to do it!

Janet

p.s. I’ve said it elsewhere, and I’ll say it again now: read Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth – Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. There is no bigger favour you can do for yourself – I mean it!!

 

You CAN Heal Your Life

<December 2008>

Tons of people are already familiar with the astonishingly inspiring work of Louise Hay – author of the book You Can Heal Your Life, first published in 1984.

There is now also a DVD by the same name, and it’s a mind-blower! I’ve just watched it for the second time, and have ordered multiple copies to give as Christmas presents (it only costs $20, and you can order it on-line).

The DVD is awesome. It features Louise Hay telling her own amazing, inspiring story and life – but not just Louise Hay. It also has appearances by (Dr.) Christiane Northrup, (Dr.) Mona Lisa Schulz, Wayne Dyer, Gregg Braden – and many other equally wonderfully inspiring individuals.

They all back up Ms. Hay’s confident assertion that no matter what has happened in your life – no matter how deep-seated, numerous and stubborn your “wounds” – you can indeed heal your life!

Not only can you heal your life, only you can heal your life. No one else can do it for you or to you – it cannot be done against your will. It is completely and utterly up to you.

Now, lots and lots of us don’t really seem to want to heal. Family therapist Bert Hellinger explains this seeming mystery in his excellent book Love’s Hidden Symmetry – What Makes Love Work in Relationships.(1)

Some of us, apparently, are quite content to be unhappy. I don’t spend a great deal of time focusing on this, as there are so many more interesting, enlightening, energizing and inspiring ways to spend one’s time.

I do believe – down to my toes – the truth behind the assertions of Louise Hay and her small army of colleagues and happy, healed friends and acquaintances. I’ve written plenty of other items that speak to this in one way or another.

I expect some people ask themselves why I keep on and on with my own activism and attempts to help myself and others find healing. Given the truly grave situation the human race now finds itself in (and which, of course, we have caused), only healing strikes me as a worthy enterprise to spend my time engaged in. It is no secret, surely, to anyone, now, that our own extinction is a real possibility.

What could change us – turn us off the trajectory we’re on?

Healing. The healing of this planet can only be brought about by our own healing – not a radical idea at all to Buddhists, whose beliefs have always emphasized exactly this: we cannot heal anyone else, nor can we heal or change the world single-handedly. We can only heal – and change – ourselves.

What a lot of us have come to know is that, as we work on our own healing, we free up energy that can happily be put toward helping others and the world. And we can change things; we are changing things.

Life is not some pretty fairy tale, of course. My own life is no “happily ever after” story – although I do often lay claim to being one of the happiest people I know.

I make my fair share of mistakes and missteps, trip over my own feet all too often, and step in largish piles of doo-doo more than I wish for, exactly, too (sometimes rather spectacularly, I might add!?). Far as I can tell, though, that’s merely the human condition – and I am all too clearly and fallibly human.

Buddhists see life as “a joyful participation in a world of sorrows” (quoted in Pico Iyer’s delightful book The Open Road – The Global Journey of the 14th Dalai Lama).

Oprah Winfrey has a column in her monthly magazine in which she regularly muses on what she “knows for sure.”

One thing I know for sure is this: when I work passionately – on my own and with others – to help other people, and on the wildly serious work of “saving the planet,” it makes me feel like a million bucks. It feeds me – rewards me – challenges me – energizes me – and I am not about to quit.

Like tons of people, I had a somewhat less-than-Walton-ish childhood. I could let it keep sucking me down, but I choose not to do that. There’s so little fun in that, hmm?

Tons of inspiring people who’ve had wildly challenging things happen in their own lives (to put it mildly), are now doing truly mind-blowing amounts of good for millions of people. People like Louise Hay and Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie and … well, the list is long, and it’s growing longer all the time.

Eckhart Tolle says, “Suffering is the spiritual teacher.”

The lesson is that we needn’t stay mired in our suffering – that misses the whole point! Suffering is the motivator to make us grow. It’s the fertilizer

Well, I could go on and on, but I believe I’ve made my point.

You can heal your life; it’s your choice!

Why not do it, and come join the party, hmm?

Janet

P.S. This healing, by the way, not only won’t cost you a red cent, it’s as close as your own thoughts. Check it out! (What do you have to lose??) I’m convinced the Universe is ready to meet us more than halfway – but we do have to take that first step… Read Louise Hay’s book, or watch the DVD – you can’t help but be powerfully inspired by it!

P.P.S. I’ve donated a copy of the DVD to my local library, so others can see it without having to buy their own. Hurray for libraries, hmm?

P.P.P.S. You can watch a 4-minute trailer of the film here


(1) In his very, very interesting book Love’s Hidden Symmetry – What Makes Love Work in Relationships, under the heading “Understanding ‘Resistance’ as Misplaced Love,” Bert Hellinger explains that “clients have a strong tendency to use their strength to hold on to their problems and to avoid solutions.” And that “Therefore, finding solutions to our problems is threatening and unpleasant.” He goes on to say “Resolution and happiness seem dangerous because we believe they’ll make us lonely. Problems and unhappiness, on the other hand, give a feeling of belonging. Often this kind of belonging is more important to people than happiness.” Fascinating book!!