RIP Dr. Wayne Dyer

"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." - Dr. Wayne Dyer

He wasn't an actor, a singer, or a pop culture figure, but I considered Dr. Wayne Dyer to be more than that: one of my personal law of attraction gurus. I read many of his books, visited his website, watched his PBS specials, and listened to his program on Hay House Radio. His teachings helped -- and continue to help me -- through some challenging days. After following him for several years, learning of his death earlier this week at the age of 75 felt a little like losing a friend. Considering he helped introduce the concept of positive thinking to the masses decades before "The Secret" was published, I feel that he deserves a few words of tribute on this blog. 

Even if you're not familiar with any of his books, you may have seen him on PBS in recent years, lecturing to audiences to supplement each new publication. For the past few years I knew he had been battling leukemia, but his cause of death was actually a heart attack. In fact, his family released a statement on Facebook this week that said an autopsy revealed he had no trace of leukemia in his body, proof of his claims that he cured himself of it with his own teachings. 

Dyer's personal rags-to-riches story -- which he revealed in some of his books -- is pretty inspiring on its own. He was born in Detroit in 1940, to an alcoholic father who abandoned his mother and two brothers shortly after Wayne's birth. For the next ten years Dyer lived in orphanages and foster homes, returning to his mother after she got remarried -- this time to another alcoholic who was also abusive. “I was aware at age 10 that whatever happens to me, my own destiny was right in my own little hands and in nobody else’s,” he would write years later. 

As a child, Dyer fantasized about appearing on The Tonight Show and becoming an inspiration to thousands of people. Teachers and family members would call him a dreamer and gently try to persuade him back to earth, but Dyer recounted years later in the book Wishes Fulfilled that he chose to ignore the naysayers. 

Despite a challenging home life, he entered the U.S. Navy and later become a high school guidance counselor and college professor at St. John's University. His lectures at St. John's -- focused on positive thinking and motivational speaking -- started to become popular with the student population, which inspired him to write his first book, Your Erroneous Zones: Step-by-Step Advice for Escaping the Trap of Negative Thinking and Taking Control of Your Life, in 1976. 

He felt a very strong inner urging to quit his teaching job that year, despite having a family to support, and promote the book himself by visiting bookstores and giving interviews out of the back of his station wagon. After an interview on a very popular radio station, the title became a best seller and Dyer was invited to appear on The Tonight Show, making his childhood dream come true. 

Wayne Dyer appearing on the Phil Donahue Show in the '70s
He would go on to write dozens of more books, travel to give lectures, and film PBS and talk show appearances. The underlying messages in his writings pretty much remained the same from title to title:

*You create your life first in your imagination, then by feeling it into existence
*You are more than just your profession or career
*You are connected to a higher source (God, the Universe, etc.) that is all loving
*You must choose to feel good despite any outside circumstances
*You must let go of the past and forgive anyone you feel has wronged you in any way
*Letting go of resistance and judgment is one of the fastest ways to manifest anything in your life

Ironically, Your Erroneous Zones is one of the few Dyer books I have not read yet. I own a copy of Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting and You'll See It When You Believe It. Real Magic is also a favorite of mine. 

Dyer's personal life, however, wasn't perfect, and was often used against him by skeptics. He was married three times and currently separated from his third wife for a few years at the time of his death. He struggled with alcoholism, the very addiction that plagued his home life, and he could be judgmental and critical of other people until he learned it wasn't serving him. He got angry once while on tour because room service wasn't available to bring a sandwich to his hotel room -- until he remembered his teachings earlier that day and decided to purchase a sandwich in the hotel restaurant. 

He passed away at his home in Maui, leaving behind his estranged wife, two sons, and six daughters. 

I think the best way to end this is with some inspirational Wayne Dyer quotes, many of which has resonated with me through the years. 

“With everything that has happened to you, you can feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.”

“If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t you will see obstacles.”

"When I chased after money, I never had enough. When I got my life on purpose and focused on giving of myself and everything that arrived into my life, then I was prosperous.”

"Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed.”

“Circumstances do not make a man, they reveal him.”

"How people treat you is their karma. How you react is yours.”

"You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.”

"When the choice is to be right or to be kind, always make the choice that brings peace."

"When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself."

"There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love. There’s only scarcity of resolve to make it happen.”

Thanks, Dr. Dyer, for the reminder. 

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