By Michelle Pilley, Managing Director and Publisher, Hay House UK
Imagining the world if Louise Hay had not been born and her book You Can Heal Your Life had not been published isn’t easy. The impact that Louise has had on millions of people all over the world is hard to analyse scientifically, but we know that more than 50 million copies of this bestselling book have been sold, and many, many millions more people will have read it and changed the view they have of the relationship between our mind and our body.
Now, so many people in the spirituality and personal development world take this connection as a given, and Louise’s work has played a huge part in that shift of consciousness we value so highly. But back in 1980, when she began putting the ideas she had been teaching at her workshops and with clients onto paper, these ideas were radical.
Her life’s work began in New York City in 1970.Louise began attending meetings at the Church of Religious Science and then entered a ministerial programme. She became a popular speaker at the church, and this work quickly blossomed into a full-time career. After several years, Louise compiled a reference guide detailing the mental causes of physical ailments, and developed positive thought patterns for reversing illness and creating health. This compilation was the basis for her first book,Heal Your Body, also known affectionately as ‘the little blue book’.
Louise was able to put her philosophies into practice when she was diagnosed with cancer. She considered the alternatives to surgery and drugs, and instead developed an intensive programme of affirmations, visualization, nutritional cleansing and psychotherapy. Within six months, she was completely healed of cancer.
In 1980, Louise began putting her workshop methods on paper. In 1984, her second book, You Can Heal Your Life, was published. In it, Louise explains how our beliefs and ideas about ourselves are often the cause of our emotional problems and physical maladies, and how, by using certain tools, we can change our thinking and our lives for the better.
In 1985, Louise began her famous support group, The Hayride, with six men diagnosed with AIDS. By 1988, the group had grown to a weekly gathering of 800 people and had moved to an auditorium in West Hollywood. Louise, aware of the hatred and fear surrounding this disease, hadstarted a movement of love and support to help people long before people began to wear red ribbons on their lapels.
In 1987, when Louise was in her 60sand believedthat age was utterly irrelevant to achieving your dreams, and as a way to say what she wanted and not be edited by a large publisher, she began a small venture in the living room of her home. This turned into Hay House, Inc., a successful publishing company that has sold millions of books and products worldwide and now has offices in California, New York, London, Sydney, Johannesburg and New Delhi.
Having reached the end of an extraordinary life so well lived,Louisetransitioned on the morning of 30 August 2017 of natural causes at the age of 90. She passed peacefully in her sleep.
Louise was an incredible visionary and advocate. Everyone who had the privilege to meet her, either in person or through her words, felt her passion for serving others. She utterly and completely embodied the ideas she developed. Every word and thought was consciously created, and spending time with her quickly ensured that you became conscious of the innate negativity in the language we use and the thoughts we allow to drift through our minds. No one around Louise would describe anything they admired as ‘to die for’, for example.
There are so many ideas and principles that anyone who has experienced her work will cherish. So much of it is incredibly simple, as so often the greatest truths are. Just remembering lines such as‘There are only two things that matter – what you put in your mind and what you put in your body,’ encapsulate a powerful wisdom that she knew everyone could get. She wasn’t interested in things that didn’t work or were too complex for people to understand.
Everything Louise did was to help people, and that objective underpins everything that Hay House does. Hay House will carry on Louise’s legacy and continue to publish products and online learning courses that align with her message of self-improvement and self-love.
Louise Hay’s estate, as well as all future royalties, will be donated to The Hay Foundation,www.hayfoundation.org, a non-profit organization established by Louise to financially support diverse organizations supplying food, shelter, counselling, hospice care and funds to those in need.