By Shivi Verma
Shivi Verma interviews Patricia Crane and Rick Nichols, the only two in the world entitled to train facilitators of Louise L Hay’s Heal Your Life programme.
Rick Nichols and Patricia Crane, the right hands of Louise L Hay, were recently in India to hold a licensed Heal Your Life workshop leader certification programme. They also held the You Can Heal your Life workshop at the Delhi Life Positive Expo this year.
The door of the first class suite of Taj Vivanta, a plush five-star in South Mumbai, was opened by a charming lady with coppery hair. Her broad smile and twinkling eyes greeted me as though we had known each other from before. She introduced herself as Patricia Crane. We shook hands and she led me into a cosy drawing room. She wore a black, knee-length skirt teamed with a multicoloured top. I instantly felt at home. Seconds later, a middle-aged man in grey safari suit entered the room. He was Rick, her husband and fellow traveller. He put the water to boil in the electric kettle. As we settled into a conversation over hot cups of tea, it ceased to be an interview and unfolded into an informal chat with friends from overseas. I felt the reality of mutual interconnectedness as I entered the warm domains of their love and easy acceptance of the world around them. They endeared themselves to me with their hospitality, simplicity and humanity. An excerpt from the interview:
How did you come in touch with Louise L Hay?
Patricia: I met Louise L Hay in the year 1986. I had read her original book called Heal Your Body in 1981. The main book, You Can Heal Your Life, came out in 1984 and I read that right away. After that I read many books by her, attended many of her workshops and I felt that this was the simplest, most concise and most profound philosophy. It seemed to bring together everything I had studied so far. The mind, the body and the spirit were synthesised beautifully in it. I was very excited to meet Louise in 1986 in a seminar. She was holding a series of workshops and I attended each one of them. By the end of it, she asked me to join her.
Was it that simple?
Patricia: I got to know some of her staff members and one of them recommended me to her. I was also doing back-to-back programmes, and when she asked me to join her I was very much honoured. She did several one-week programmes that I was involved in as a staff member. And then she was on the Oprah Winfrey show and her book became an overnight bestseller.
How did Louise discover the specific emotional and mental trigger of every disease?
Patricia: Well, as you know, Louise had had a very traumatic childhood. She was abused as a child and was a school dropout at 15. She also became an unwed teenage mother. Later, she became a fashion model and married a business tycoon. But he left her for another woman after 14 years of marriage. She was devastated. About this time she found a church called Centre of Spiritual Living which taught her the transformative power of thought. Its founder, Ernest Holmes, taught that positive thinking could heal the body. He had blended Eastern spirituality with Western philosophy through his deep study of both. She also studied the works of authors like Florence Scovel Shinn, who claimed that positive thinking could change people’s material circumstances. Her newfound interest and deep study of these subjects made her eligible to apply to become one of the church’s licensed practitioners. She became a church counsellor. She also joined the Maharishi International University and learnt Transcendental Meditation. Through these engagements and interactions, Louise gradually began to be deeply aware of the specific body-mind connection behind physical symptoms. Observation and correlation of various mind-body patterns of numerous people suffering from diseases made her draw certain conclusions which proved their accuracy when she began to heal and counsel people. All this, she compiled in her first book called Heal Your Body. I was impressed by her teaching that unwelcome things happen to us because we reject ourselves. We do not love and accept ourselves. She saw a pattern repeating in her life of repeated abuse and rejection because of low self-esteem.
I am surprised. Why should she suffer from low self-esteem when even after so many setbacks she could become a fashion model and even manage to marry a wealthy businessman?
Rick: Many models suffer from extremely low self-esteem. The question is why should anybody want to become a fashion model or an actor or a famous person in the first place? You want to fill up that inner sense of inadequacy with social approval, recognition, and social prestige. And you try to do it by overachieving. We are all familiar with the tragedy of Whitney Houston. If you have not worked on developing a healthy sense of self, despite all your achievements, your life will reflect pain and unhappiness. Louise’s husband was a nice man but since she wasn’t accepting herself, he too reflected the same behaviour with regard to her.
When she came in touch with the new philosophy of every one being an expression of the Divine, she discovered the key to fulfilment, happiness and growth. She began to see that we were all one, and that each one of us was whole and perfect. And as she learnt, grew and benefitted, she also wanted to share this philosophy with others.
Did she take America by storm through her seminal work?
Rick: Louise achieved phenomenal success, because around the time her book came, America was struggling with burgeoning HIV cases. Louise was able to help many of those afflicted improve the quality of their life through her philosophy. Through methods like positive affirmation, loving oneself, healing the inner child, many patients were able to get rid of the guilt that comes attached with the disease. They were able to prolong their lives and live more healthily. She was also influenced by the book, Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by author Susan Jeffers that teaches you how to stop negative thinking patterns and re-educate your mind to think more positively. It is a 10-step positive thinking process which includes lessons on how to risk a little every day and how to turn every decision into a no-loss situation. She implemented these learnings actively in her life and her messages.
Tell us about your own journey, Patricia.
Patricia: I was a regular middle class American girl with a job, and a boyfriend. As the pressure of work and other challenges began to mount, I saw that I was heavily relying on liquor to beat stress.
Then I came to know about Maharshi Mahesh Yogi and his meditation techniques. He had become immensely popular in the USA at that time. I signed up for his class, and learnt Transcendental Meditation. As my meditations grew, I began to feel an inner strength and connection with a Higher Force I never knew before. My reliance on alcohol reduced.
Gradually, I began to question the whole pattern of our existence. I began to look for meaning and substance in whatever I did. I left my regular job and gradually came into the fold of Louise’s world. I believe that health is the reflection of our quality of life. I have also written a book called, Ordering from the Cosmic Kitchen, which is about using the power of positive affirmations to get what you want. I believe that the whole of the universe is within us. We only have to realise it to know our real power. We have 28 licensed teachers in India of Heal your Life, and going by the huge response we are getting here, Louise decided to send us here.
Is it so simple to get what you want?
Rick: Well, if you know how to place your orders definitely it is not that difficult. The trick is to want, but not too passionately. It is like wanting something, telling the universe about it, working for it but not being too attached to the outcome. One should not be too anxious about the result.
What’s your story, Rick?
Rick: I had a fairly nice upbringing, but was always perplexed about the purpose of life. I worked with AT&T, a MNC for 20 years before retiring voluntarily in 1989. I was looking for something that would satisfy my inner call. For sometime I wandered, spent time as a beach bum, and was again hired by the same company. I was in a kind of inextricable cycle. Then I landed upon a Seth book called The Nature of Personal Reality somewhere in the early ‘90s. It gave me a grounding in life and I began to relate with my actual calling. I knew that I wanted to help people heal, sharing with them the secrets of a happy life. I met Patricia in 1995, and both of us felt that we were perfect for each other. We married in the same year. Ever since both of us have been on the same course, walking together. I’ve also authored Who Do You Think You Are? which is a parable of an endearing and seemingly lost little bird as he searches for a place to fit in. It is the story of each one of us.
Their memory continued to linger in my heart long after the meeting. I felt a strange inexplicable kinship with them. Wherever they are, I am sure they are spreading happiness, love and joy. Louise definitely knows how to pick and choose her ambassadors.
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