Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Change the Way You Look at Things

Wayne Dyer is dead.

For years I've been obsessed by The Times's obituaries. Not only are they beautifully written, but they tell stories of incredibly varied and inspirational lives. Whenever I want to motivate myself to get off my arse, I make myself think "what would they write in my obituary?"

I stopped reading the obituaries in the last few years of drinking. I now know why. Because I knew it would make me realise that my obituary would read something like this:

She had huge promise. A privileged upbringing and an amazing education. She went to Oxford and travelled the world. Her early career was stellar. She had 3 lovely children. But by the age of about 30 she stopped. Nothing much more to say after that. She drank. Full stop.

That's not what they're saying about Wayne Dyer. He was a man - a self-help guru - who changed people's lives. Even if he didn't change your life, he at least made you think. When he spoke he held people in the palm of his hand....then he'd let them go and watch them fly.

I only came across Wayne Dyer a few months ago when mentioned him in a post. She'd been to see him talk and she quoted something he said that had a huge impact on me.

He said that the strange thing about 'recovery' is that, at the end of our journey we'll recognise it as the place where we started (see my post Full Circle).

That was the incredible thing about Wayne Dyer. Even second or third hand, his quotes had the power to change lives.

So, in honour of Wayne, I watched his full speech yesterday on The Power of Intention. Here's one of his most famous quotes from that talk:

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Wayne talks about Albert Einstein, who observed that the most fundamental decision you have to make in life is Do I live in a friendly or a hostile universe?

If you see the universe as filled with hostility and anger then that is what you will experience. Likewise, if you see the universe as fundamentally loving and beautiful, it will be.

Scientists have proven the power of perception, of the subconscious, over and over again. For example, think about the use of placebos in medicine. I love the fact that if I say to my children Mummy will kiss it better, and I kiss the 'ouch', it really does get better. Because they believe it will be so.

(N.B if they actually manage to chop off the end of a finger, this will not work. Go to A&E).

So, according to Wayne, you will never be happy if you look for happiness outside yourself, in possessions, appearance, reputation, money, etcetera, because happiness comes from within. It is about the way you look at things.

In essence, quoting Wayne again: There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.

I believe that what makes the difference, when you quit drinking, between being happy and sober or miserable and sober is to change the way you look at things.

Stop seeing alcohol as the thing that's making the fun. See it as a destructive, addictive poison that's gradually pulling more and more people into its web.

Stop seeing 'sober' as dull and boring. See it as a huge opportunity to live life the way it was intended, and to fulfil your potential.

Funnily enough, when Wayne talks about harnessing the 'power of intention', he says that one of the first things you should do (everyone, not just addicts) is to stop drinking.

Wayne, by the way, was sanguine about death.

He said that it's about going from nowhere to now here to nowhere. Purely a matter of emphasis. Of spacing. (I don't think that works in Chinese).

Farewell then, Wayne Dyer, and thank you. I'll leave the final words of this post to you:

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.

SM x


  1. 'Stop seeing sober as dull and boring.' This is one of the mind shifts I am trying to put in place. Thanks for your post today. Annie x

    1. Annie, read this one:
      big hugs to you xxx

    2. Just read it. Thanks for the link. Love the rebel blog idea! I never really look at stats, but noticed yesterday that my blog had over 1000 views that day, more than any other during the past year. Can't understand it - it wasn't a particularly fascinating blog post, or anything - so strange! Annie x

    3. Mine too! It's all those people getting kids back to school after weeks of overindulging and thinking "time to do something about my life." :-)

  2. Thank you SM. It is all in our perception. Just read some Wayne Dyer this morning after seeing his obituary. My favourite quote was about choosing to be kind instead of right. It is all about perception, I am dreading getting on my bike to pick up number 2 son as it's the half day Wednesday here in Belgium. Instead of seeing it as a bum-aching, sweaty chore; I will view it as a chance to get some fresh air, exercise, spend time with my boy and hopefully be arse reducing too.

    1. Yay! Put the Queen songs "Bicycle" and "Fat Bottomed Girls" on your playlist and pedal like a dervish!

  3. It is all inside us. Happiness, joy, peace.
    And although I continue to be a seeker of knowledge, I must regularly remind myself I am not doing it to find the answer. I already know the answer. I just have to listen to my own heart.

    And Wayne Dyer was right. Drinking prevents that. He was sober for a long time. He was a good role model.

  4. We must be on the same wave length SM. Found Wayne Dyer in the last couple of days too. Anne and I agreed that he showed up when I was ready to hear him. Great post SM xx

  5. Brilliant post
    You're a genius xxx

    1. thanks '69! Were you born the same year as me, or is it a sexual fetish thing? xx

    2. Born same year! First name that came into my head! Xx

  6. Have recently come to this conclusion myself. I keep hearing myself saying to people 'we only have one life' I know it's something people say just off the cuff but I really MEAN it. Make it happen people. We only have one chance....