By Louise Anita Williams
Through her lifelong search for god, the writer moved from Christianity to spirituality, healed herself of childhood traumas and discovered the purpose of her existence.
In 1985, I thought I had arrived. The car I drove was a top-of-the-line Cadillac Seville. I had a posh office in Sherman Oaks, California, and was the owner of a successful advertising/sales promotion agency with clients like American Isuzu Motors Inc.; Walt Disney Productions; Southern California Edison; Mitsubishi Electric Corporation; City of Los Angeles Department of Airports. I wore designer clothes, had a maid (in the USA this is unusual) and my daughter went to the best private school money could buy. Then, I hit what I call burnout and started seeking God.
My spiritual path began in Christianity, but has evolved beyond to a realisation that there is no organized religion. We are all from the same source and all belong to each other. We are to walk in love and be love. This realisation came out of what appeared to be bad circumstances, but I now know each circumstance was just a step towards the truth. Without these steps the truth would not have been realized.
I was born into a poor illiterate family from the mid-west of America. My parents had a rocky marriage. Both drank, smoked and were quite abusive to all three of their children, which included me, the youngest. I had two siblings, an older brother and one younger sister. For some reason my father could never stay in one location for very long. I attended 25 elementary schools and nine high schools, not counting the ones I attended twice in one year. During my senior year I attended four different schools. It was a miracle that I graduated in the top third of my class from Beaverton High School, Oregon.
I was the only one in my family to graduate from high school. I truly wanted to attend college, but my father and mother would not allow it, nor would they support me in any way. Therefore, I joined the US Navy at the age of 18 to get away from home and to become a nurse.
When I was about 11 or 12 years of age, a woman by the name of Jeanne Hardwick came into my life. She was well educated, having graduated from Vassar University. She was older than my mother, but without children. She lived next door to one of the homes we rented in Portland, Oregon. Jeanne had a dog kennel and we became friends. She was very influential in my life and always encouraged me to better my life. One day during a conversation I asked her to be my ‘mom’. From that moment until the day she died at the age of 90, she truly remained in my heart of hearts, my mom.
Unlike my real mother, Jeanne was kind, loving and very encouraging. She became my greatest support and encouraged me to get an education through the US Navy.
From July 1960 to July 1963, I was in the US Navy. I attended and graduated top of my class from Hospital Corps School. The Navy was not a bed of roses, but I did learn a lot about medicine.
Several years later, after reaching as high as I could go in the medical arena without a nursing or medical degree, I decided to leave my position to venture into sales, marketing and advertising. With every position I held, I reached or surpassed all my goals in a very short time. I met a sweet kind man who later asked me to marry him. I did.
In 1974 I gave birth to a wonderful daughter who was and still is one of my greatest teachers. Her teaching began the moment she entered my life. Tiffany became a trigger for past memories that had remained hidden in the very dark corners of my mind. They were memories of severe physical, psychological and sexual abuse. It was her innocence that led me to seek help and to uncover what happened to me as a child. But the past dark secrets, life circumstances, and being in psychotherapy caused my husband and me to separate in 1978.
The driving force behind my success in business became my daughter. The one thing that was important to me was the fact that I was my daughter’s mother and that I knew for certain she would never know abuse. The main reason I started my own company was to be home when she returned from school. I went on sales calls when she was in school and when she was home I did paperwork as she did her schoolwork. Then each night we would spend at least one or two hours together doing whatever she wanted to do.
Fortunately for Tiffany, and for me, a beautiful lady Joel Marie Teutsch had come into my life. She was very spiritual. When I first met her, I told her that when I spoke with her it was like speaking with God. She, along with her husband, Champion K. Teutsch, wrote a book From Here to Greater Happiness. Joel was my teacher. She taught me how to raise my daughter in unconditional love.
In 1979 I decided to start my own business, Corporate Creative Services (CCS). Over the years I built it into a very successful creative boutique. As the business grew I became very proud of what I had accomplished. After all, I came from a very poor family. From the outside my life looked glamorous, prestigious, and successful. Yet, I felt empty inside. Something was missing. Throughout my climb to success, I had to deal with my past traumas. There would be months when I would be fine, then all of a sudden something would trigger an unpleasant memory…a smell, a sound.
In 1985 I was given a very attractive offer to merge my company with another advertising agency. Tiffany and I relocated to Orange County and I began working with the other agency, which proved after six months to be very unethical. I left and started doing consulting.
It might seem like I made a bad decision. However, by making that decision I moved to an area where I began seeking God by attending a church called the Crystal Cathedral. This is a very famous church started over 50 years ago by Robert Schuller. It was the fall of 1985 and the beginning of my spiritual path.
When seeking God one would think the path would be smooth. However, this was not the case with me. There were many times when I was on cloud nine, but then at other times, I was in and out of depression. Sometimes I would blame my past, but I kept searching for answers to peace.
One day while driving alone on Chapman Avenue in the city of Orange, CA, I heard an audible voice tell me, ‘I want you to fast for 30 days and 30 nights.’ I looked out my car window and said, ‘But God, I cannot fast. I have hypoglycemia.’ The voice again said, ‘Read Isaiah 58.’ When I arrived home, I immediately got my Bible and read the scripture which says:
…Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: To loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter, when you see the naked, to clothe him and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help and he will say: Here am I…
After reading this scripture, I was a little hesitant to fast because people with hypoglycemia are to eat every two to three hours. After careful consideration and prayer, I decided that if God had told me to do something, I had better do it. Immediately I called and canceled all my doctor’s appointments and began fasting on water only.
Throughout this fast I ran three miles every day, attended business meetings and luncheons, and went to various social activities. At meal functions I would drink only water. On the third day I was very hungry and tired. My daughter and I were up early running and I did not think I would make it home. I looked up to the sky and said, ‘Holy Spirit, if you want me to fast you had better give me the energy to do so.’ Immediately a wave-like rush of energy came upon me and never left throughout the entire fast.
At the end of the fast, at the exact hour, I received a phone call from a party who I had filed a law suit against, wanting to give me back all the money they had extorted from me. Before the sun set on that day, I had recovered all my money. On top of this, I went to see the doctor and had blood tests. I was completely healed of hypoglycemia.
This was one of the most memorable events at the beginning of my spiritual life…I kept seeking God and wanted to serve God only. In 1988 my daughter and I were slated to go to Japan as missionaries, but God had different plans. We went to Andhra Pradesh, India, to visit some orphanages and to volunteer at a youth camp.
I was shocked at the way the children in orphanages were treated. They wore rags as clothes, had cavities in their teeth and were treated as hired help for the owners of the orphanages while the owner’s children attended English medium schools and wore beautiful clothes.
I confronted the operators of the orphanages and told them it was not right to treat the orphans any differently from their own children…especially since they were living on donated money from abroad. This, I think, is when I decided that one day I would live in India and do something for her children. In my journal I wrote, ‘India is a toilet, but by the grace of God, I love her. I want to dedicate my life to her children.’
In 1989, I decided to take a course in Hinduism. After all, if I am going to convert them to Christianity, I should know more about what they believe, I thought. Was I in for a surprise…
While studying Hinduism in America, I began arguing with my Christian professors. I realized that Hinduism had been around long before the Holy Bible was written. This is when I began to question and not to take everything man said as gospel.
One instance was when one of my physicians felt I should learn to meditate. In Christianity, this is forbidden. Therefore it was hard for me to accept, but because of being in pain and wanting to get well, I took a course and learned Transcendental Meditation. I took a course in yoga. The combination of the two began to give me more peace than I had ever experienced before.
Knowing the value of fasting, I would fast for days at a time. During one fast God spoke to me and asked me to study the life of Mahatma Gandhi. In My Experiments with Truth he wrote how the statement, ‘The kingdom of God is within’, changed his life. It changed mine as well.
I finally realized that one does not need to seek all over the world to find God. God is within each and every being on this planet. God is not this huge mysterious being up in the sky. God is everywhere.
While fasting another time, God spoke to me through an inner voice and stated: ‘When Christ walked this earth, there was not any Christianity. When Buddha walked this earth, there was not any Buddhism. When Mohammad walked this earth, there were not any Muslims. Man has made all religions. I, God, am not a religion. I am that I am. You and I are one. You can do the same if not greater things than any other man or woman on this earth…you just have to do them. Follow me. Follow me alone. There is no organized religion. Be love. Be peace. Be truth.’
I met a visiting guru from India in Norwalk, California. His name is Akhileshji. He spoke about fasting and I listened as I had fasted for 30 days on water only before ever meeting him. I purchased all his books in English and began reading. Once I finished I decided to follow his sadhana. Over the course of one to two years I lost over 40 pounds, was taken off all medication and was at a normal weight. I decided to spend time in the ashram in Meerut. I lived there about six months and truly felt peace and tranquility. Although I was asked to stay permanently and become one of his teachers I had other things to do.
One of my clients in the USA, Ketan Parekh, asked me one day, ‘What would you do if you had all the money in the world?’ I immediately told him I would go to India and create homes for the homeless children. Ketan then told me that if I would go to India and rally up a team of people to do what my heart’s desire was, he would help raise money in the USA as well. Taking Ketan at his word, I went to India to see what I could do about creating homes for the children.
After conducting extensive research I found that there are 26 million orphans in India below 14 years of age. Thirteen to 16 million children in India not yet 14, live on the streets with no family, no home, no bed and no idea where their next meal will come from. Child abuse is very high in India.
Something had to be done. Children need safe loving homes to live in where they are encouraged and empowered to grow into self-sufficient adults.
Love Humanity was formed four years ago in 2001 to empower children. I devised the ideal curriculum to teach individuals how to raise children in a loving teaching manner. It is called Common Sense Parenting. By offering this course to the public at large, Love Humanity works as a sustainable organisation. The money raised from the course would be used to build loving family homes for the children who are without them.
As I look back I realize, had I started this work in India in 1989 when I first visited, I would have been very dogmatic in wanting to change the culture and have everyone believe and think like me. Now, I can reach out in love to all mankind to make this world a better place to live in.
Contact : Louise@lovehumanity.org
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