Browsing Tag

childhood

death, Guest Posts, loss

Feeling My First Goodbye

January 20, 2015

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By Alana Saltz.

I wasn’t sure my grandfather was going to be aware of what was going on when I read to him from my novel. As I share the words I’ve written, he laughs at my narrator’s self-deprecating humor twice, and that’s how I know that he understands me. After I finish, he struggles to find the words to tell me what the story is about.

“The girl is very…it’s…very internal. It’s mel…mel…”

My sister and I take guesses at what he’s trying to say. Melancholy? Melodic? He shakes his head no. I never find out because he trails off and stares up at the ceiling. I hear the churning of the oxygen machine, see the silent face of Clifford on the TV screen, the show on mute.

Finally, just when we think he’s asleep again, he says, “You have a gift with words.”

I smile and say, “Thank you.”

Three hours later, I’m sitting in the front lobby of the hospice, watching the sun set over snow-covered roofs and bare trees. I’m thinking about how my grandpa barely knew me, only saw me once or twice a year when I visited St. Louis, yet he supported my dream to tell stories and have them heard. He helped me pay for grad school so I could study writing. But I’d never shown him any of my work until today.

There’s a whir of sliding doors behind me. Murmurs of nurses and patients down the hall. Clean couches, bright lights, my mother beside me talking to someone on the phone and complaining about his treatment, the sky dimmer, deeper, darker.

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death, Family, Guest Posts

The Cemetery.

October 29, 2014

beauty-hunting-jen-logo-blackBy Jane O’Shields-Hayner.

As a red-blooded American girl I grew up with a, pardon the pun, bone deep fear of cemeteries. My cousin Marcia, six years older than I, told me there were skeletons under the beds in the big old two-story house where I lived with my parents, my grandparents and my aunt Vivian. It was a decidedly spooky house to begin with, with old unused rooms and dusty beds never slept in, wearing the same sheets they had for decades. There were shelves full of books, unread in my lifetime and deep, dark closets that went to who knows where under stairways and slanted eaves. Remnants of the years my family spent as ranchers were present throughout this house: kitchen towels made from feed sacks and tack for horses, tools for marking and castrating cattle, which looked like torture devices to me.

It was twilight, always, there. Electric lights were used mostly at night. They hung on chains as small, pear-shaped pendants, or under one-bulb glass shades. Wood frame windows, with layer upon layer of peeling paint let the sun in, but just barely. The pomegranate bushes and apricot trees, untrimmed and old, bounced back most of the light before it entered those windows, so the sunlight happily found another direction to shine, rather than into this old, dusty house.

Inside the dark, foreboding closets there were wood-bound metal trunks and dusty coats hanging, and who knew what lay behind them. My father, a kind man by nature, once disappeared into one of those dark, untraveled closets under a stair with a two by four, and came out with a dead rat and a bloody plank.

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Guest Posts, love, Self Image

Wayne Dyer’s Daughter Reflects On Being Raised By Spiritual Parents.

November 18, 2013

On Being Raised By Spiritual Parents.

By Serena Dyer.

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People often ask my siblings and I what it was like to grow up with Wayne Dyer as a dad. I usually immediately feel this need to bring up my mom- since she did so much of the “raising” and has probably been the greatest spiritual influence on my dad throughout his life. The funny thing about that is my parents separated over 12 years ago- but they have remained incredibly close, so close that they have never gotten a divorce- they said they never felt the need to.

Whenever I am asked about my parents, usually my Dad, I reflect back on my childhood and feel overwhelmed with a feeling of security and love. My parents- both incredibly spiritual people- loved us unconditionally- and that love can be seen in family photos, when watching home videos, or even in my own mind when I reflect back on what it was like to grow up in my household. I am one of 8 children, and my siblings and I are insanely close. We spend all of our free time together because we really are each others closest friends.

But despite an ideal childhood filled with loving family and spiritually progressive parents that loved every part of me and made sure I knew it, it has been a struggle to find that same kind of unconditional love for myself- and that, I believe, is the most important kind of love we all need in our lives.

If we accept the fact that we cannot give away what we don’t have- then we must also accept the idea that until we learn to treasure every part of ourselves, we will not be able to fully love anyone else either. Love must begin within before we can offer it outward.

And for so many of us, loving ourselves, accepting our looks, being at peace with our bodies, embracing our past, treasuring our insecurities and giving up judgement of ourselves is the hardest thing in the world to do! We can encourage others to love themselves but we cannot allow ourselves to do the same.

I know a lot of people that also grew up with spiritual parents. Parents that told them they were wonderful, beautiful and capable of anything- but they never felt worthy of anything inside. I believe that learning to love ourselves- unconditionally- is one of the hardest things we can attempt in life.

My parents could have been Jesus and Mary and it wouldn’t have mattered- until I learned to love myself! I believe that when we put ourselves down- we are putting down the name of God. We are all little sparks of God- little pieces divinely created with love- and we each came here with a dharma to fulfill. If you want to know what your purpose is, you gorgeous little miracle you, then get quiet and thank the part of you that recognizes that you are indeed a little piece of God. A spark of the great oneness. Begin to honor the God-presence within you, and give thanks for being as magnificent as you are.

It was only when I stopped judging myself and tried loving myself that I began to discover that the universe, God, whatever you want to call it, fully supported me in my efforts and I started getting all “green lights” on my path toward discovering just what my dharma was. When I started attempting deep and profound self-love, the kind great parents offer to their children, I started to feel good- I started to find that the right people were showing up at the right places and my life began to feel more on purpose. Since I began the process of self-love and self-acceptance, the right man came into my life. When I started to offer love to myself on the inside, I started to lose the extra weight I was carrying around because I began to realize that I didn’t need food to give me the feeling of being full, I felt full and complete without food or drugs or alcohol.

The practice of loving myself has been filled with ups and downs- and that is ok- because it is a “practice” and i am still learning to get good at it. The practice of loving myself has brought miracles into my life. As Louise Hay says so beautifully “You have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving yourself and see what happens.”

I have given approving myself a shot, and it has been paying off. I urge you to do the same.

Serena wears my "What Are You Manifesting?" t-shirt.

Serena wears my “What Are You Manifesting?” t-shirt.

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Serena is a graduate of the University of Miami, holding a Master’s degree in International Relations and a Bachelor’s Degree in Religion. While finishing her first book, Serena is traveling and blogging while also maintaining her hobbies of cooking, reading, working to combat human trafficking, and being with her 7 brothers and sisters! Serena has co-authored a book about growing up with spiritual parents with her father, Dr. Wayne Dyer, called “Don’t Die With Your Music Still In You” which should be out in the Spring of 2014. Serena lives in south Florida with her fiance. Her website can be found at serenadyer.com.

Book Girl Power: You Are Enough now! A workshop for girls and teens. Space is limited. Sep 19 Princeton! Sep 20th NYC. The book is also forthcoming from Jen Pastiloff. Ages 13 and up. (NYC is 16 and up due to studio policy.)

Book Girl Power: You Are Enough now! A workshop for girls and teens. Space is limited. Sep 19 Princeton! Sep 20th NYC. The book is also forthcoming from Jen Pastiloff. Ages 13 and up. (NYC is 16 and up due to studio policy.)

Join Jen Pastiloff  and Emily Rapp at a writing and the body retreat in Stowe, Vermont Oct 2015. This will be their 3rd one together in Stowe. Click the photo to book.

Join Jen Pastiloff and Emily Rapp at a writing and the body retreat in Stowe, Vermont Oct 2015. This will be their 3rd one together in Stowe. Click the photo to book.