The woman responsible for keeping my crazy in check is not my mother (she only adds to the madness), but New Age guru Louise Hay. Many years ago, I picked up a copy of Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life, whose manifesto can be summed up rather simply: “Change your thinking. Change your life.” Lord knows, at the time, I had to change. I needed to be free — free of the raging anger, free of the self-loathing. And the application of Hay’s simple message to my life set me free.
After immersing myself in every New Age tome I could put my hands on from Love is Letting Go of Fear to The Road Less Traveled, I decided to take a break from the constant introspection that was slowly leading to self-absorption. I was becoming too involved in “fixing” myself — meditating on this affirmation or that one, visualizing this outcome or that.
Several years into this journey of self-discovery, I realized that there are some aspects of my personality, although imperfect, need not be fixed. I like my snarky sense of humor and my brashness. I can do without my hair trigger temper that seems to flare up at the most inopportune times like when the surly cashiers at Whole Foods at Columbus Circle in NYC start giving me attitude. But those bouts of anger arise far less often than they used to. I have also moved on to Christian purveyors of the New Age doctrine like televangelist Joel Osteen author of the bestseller, Your Best Life Now (who would, of course, adamantly deny that he is a follower but I know my kind).
With that said, I was happy to see the New York Times Magazine article on Louise Hay (“The Queen of the New Age”). The detailed piece talks about the woman – her journey and her business. Hay is the founder and co-owner of the successful publishing company, Hay House which last year “sold 6.3 million products, taking in $100 million, 8 percent of which is profit.”
Of the thousands of words written, the final paragraph of Mark Oppenheimer’s piece struck a chord:
At You Can Do It! events, when Hay signs her books, she stands behind a lectern; when I asked her why she would stand for hours on end, signing hundreds of copies on her feet, she was surprised I need to ask. “Because,” she said, “they all want to hug me.”
Me too, Louise. Me too.