Next to my Root Teacher, Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati, there has likely been no one else in my life who has had a more profound impact on my personal and spiritual growth than my friend and teacher of eleven years, Dr. Louise L. Hay.
I first met Louise in 1987, shortly after being released from the hospital with a rare form of pneumonia for the second time. Four years earlier, I was brutally attacked, raped and beaten by four men in South Florida.
At the time, I was a young Franciscan-Buddhist contemplative, walking back to the monastery, when these men, who themselves had endured unthinkable discrimination and abuse at the hands of the police, since immigrating to this country, left me for dead on the streets of Hollywood, Florida.
But it would be in another Hollywood… this time West Hollywood, California, that my friend (and major crush) Louis Nassany, would take me and my boyfriend, Ronn, to a beautiful, poised and unassuming woman’s apartment on Santa Monica Boulevard, where about 20-30 other men were sitting, standing, and hanging on her every word, as she talked about our capacity for healing our lives.
Two weeks later, we were in a community centre in West Hollywood, and there were over 75 guys, then 90, and then more than 100 of us gathered for what had become known as “the Hay Rides”.
We were most men living with the dis-ease that had become known AIDS, and we were fighting for our lives.
Soon, the eighteen months in which doctors said I would be dead had come and gone. I’d begun healing my relationship with my family, with my spiritual tradition, and for the first time in my life, began unapologetically living a more authentic, loving and vibrant life as an openly-gay man.
Everything in my life began to become more “whole” during the eleven years that Louise was my teacher. Her monthly cards and letters encouraged me, inspired me, and resulted in my being privileged to become the founder of the Zenkondo Centre, and host of a weekly radio show, “Inner Alchemy – the Science of Spiritual Living”.
This morning, August 30th, 2017, my beloved friend, teacher and inspiration to millions, Louise L. Hay transitioned from this life in her sleep, at the age of ninety.
She will be missed, and her legacy will live on for generations.