I have a hero named Wayne Dyer. Ever since I found him on a bookshelf about three years ago, he has been a part of my life. I'm not always good at practicing his wisdom, but I am more often than not transformed by it. I find that hormone imbalances such as those I've experienced through pregnancy and the birth control pill are the enemy of spirituality for me - but when I'm not emotionally out of control from hormones, I find immense solace and peace through the words of Wayne Dyer.
I spent last week in Nelson with my inlaws. I've had the hardest time getting along with them. I have felt judged, condemned, insulted, even hated by them. I have allowed their low opinion of me to invade my peace and been overcome frequently by anger towards them. I had no intention of going there this summer even though I knew it was important to my partner to spend time there and let his parents get to know his only biological child. I was determined to let them suffer for their treatment of me - the subtle criticisms, the utter disregard for my feelings, the patronizing way they've spoken to me about how I parent and who I am as a person. I also didn't want to put myself through it some more.
But after I picked up Wayne's book recently, "The Power of Intention," I was moved to change my mind about the trip to Nelson. Throughout the book I used my relationship with my inlaws as the example of what I need to overcome if I want to reach my spiritual potential. Of all people in my life, they have been the most critical and hurtful. They have been my biggest obstacle to achieving peace in my life in many ways. I have considered that I did not want to be a part of my partner's family because of how I've felt because of them. I have wanted to reject his last name and even cursed the decision to give it to our son. I wondered how I could ever love and overcome my anger towards them.
But Wayne changed all that.
Now when I see people, I don't see their skin colour, their weight, or anything about their appearance (except to marvel at our differences). I see the light of God in them. I look at all the people in my neighbourhood when I'm walking my daughter to school, and though I cannot picture their faces clearly from a distance, I can see the light of God in them. I chose to see the light of God in my inlaws, rather than the disapproving looks on their faces. I chose to believe what Wayne says - those who are constantly criticizing are using lower vibrational energies and by practicing higher vibrational energies in their presence we can make the lower energies disappear.
I also chose to listen to Wayne's advice about wanting more for others than ourselves. I chose to want my partner to have what he needed - to see his parents and his children together - rather than want what I believed I needed - to avoid the pain and humiliation of being in his parents home.
I went to Nelson, and there were moments when I felt judged, but I let them go. I let go and let God. And it worked. I had the most peaceful, wonderful holiday I think I've ever had. I didn't want to come home. Our children were so happy on the farm. We saw farm animals, wild animals, walked paths through the forest and over skinny bridges of rushing streams and rivers, and enjoyed the beautiful weather. My partner and I got drunk on a patio of a pub in Nelson along with all the hippies who live there, made love on a cliff overlooking the lake, and slept peacefully in the camper on the property while my mother-in-law took care of the kids in the house (and awoke with my youngest son in the night on a few occasions as well).
I've believed in God for just over 7 years now. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had wanted to learn about God because her dad was a Christian and so was his mother. I wanted to know more about what my daughter would be taught growing up with their influence. While reading the bible, I had an epiphany. I came to know God and shortly after the birth of my child, I was baptized alongside my very close friend Jocelyne (whom the annual Exotic Dancers for Cancer is in memory of).
But church didn't work out so good for me. I attended for awhile, then off and on. Then one day I went to church with some friends I knew from when I was dancing, including an old customer who used to make and bring jewellery to the club to give out to the dancers and waitresses where I was a dancing waitress. We all went in our own cars to a restaurant after church for brunch. The customer's wife was there, my friend and her husband, me and my daughter. Later that day, when I was home, my friend called.
"Did you know there are naked photos of you on the internet?" she asked. My stomach turned. "Yes," I said. I regretted it, but had posed for $100/hour for naked photos a few years before when I was a bit hard up for cash. I had also signed away all my rights and this wasn't the first time someone I knew had found my photos.
It turned out that this customer had found some photos of me on the internet, printed them up, brought them to church, then showed them to my friend's husband after church (and before brunch). Needless to say, I've been to church a few times since then but it's never been the same.
Now Wayne is my church. Instead of going to a house of God every week, I read a bit of Wayne (and other spiritual leaders he recommends or quotes from) when I'm eating, waiting, or needing a bit of a lift. This is a daily thing and it has changed my life.
Although "The Power of Intention" is an excellent book and it's only the second I've read by Wayne, my favourite is "There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem." While I was in Nelson I picked that one up for my partner's aunt who has been battling cancer for the past several months. It was the first Wayne Dyer book I read and I've read it a few times. I've also given it to my brother, my cousin, my son's godfather, and now my partner's aunt. I skimmed it again before giving it away and remembered what an incredible book it is. I wish everyone would read it because I know it changes lives. It impacted both my brother and my cousin incredibly. And I have a friend in the coalition who is also a big fan of Wayne's.
So that's my hero Wayne. I've never sent him a letter telling him how much he means to me, but I know he feels it anyway. And I hope that anyone reading this will be inspired (taken from the two words "in spirit") to read Wayne and see what I mean. He's not a motivational speaker, he's a spiritual leader. And God knows he was there when I needed him.