(October 8, 1926 - August 30, 2017)
Louise Lynn Hay was an American motivational author, as well as the founder of Hay House Publishing. She authored several New Thought self-help books, including the bestseller You Can Heal Your Life (1984). Louise was born Helen Vera Lunney in Los Angeles, California, to parents Henry John Lunney and Veronica Chwala. Hay describes her troubled childhood during in interview, stating that her step-father, Ernest Carl Wanzenreid, was physically abusive to both her and her mother. Also, at age 5, Louise was raped by a neighbor. At age 15, Hay dropped out of University High School in Los Angeles. She soon became pregnant, and on her 16th birthday gave the baby girl up for adoption. She soon moved to Chicago where she started working very low-paying jobs to support herself. In 1950, she moved to New York. It was at this point she changed her first name from Helen, to Louise, and began a career as a fashion model. She achieved success working for Bill Blass, Oleg Cassini and Pauline Trigere. In 1954, she married the English businessman Andrew Hay (1928-2001). After 14 years of marriage, her husband left her for another woman, which left Louise in a state of devestation.
It was around this time that Louise Hay discovered the First Church of Religious Science on 48th street, in New York, where she was taught about the transformative power of thought. It was here she became interested in New Thought and began studying the works of authors like Florence Scovel Shinn and Ernest Holmes (Founder of Religious Science). Hay also studied Transcendental Meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at the Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa.
In the early 1970's Louise Hay became a Religious Science practitioner. She became a popular workshop leader around this time, teaching about how the power of spoken affirmations can help to heal illness. Around 1977, Louise Hay was diagnosed with cervical cancer, which doctors at the time told her was incurable. Hay believed that her illness was in part caused by her holding on to the resentments she had for her childhood abuse and rape. Hay refused most conventional medical treatment and began her own regime of healing, through the power of forgiveness, along with therapy, nutrition, and reflexology. Louise had successfully healed herself of the Cancer.
In 1976, Louise Hay wrote her first book, Heal Your Body, which began as a small pamphlet containing a list of different bodily ailments and their most probable metaphysical causes. The pamphlet was later enlarged and extened into her book You Can Heal Your Life, published in 1984. In February 2008, the book was second on the New York Times miscellaneous paperback best-sellers list. In 1984, Louise Hay also established the Hay House publishing firm. In addition to running her publishing company, Hay ran a charitable organization called the Hay Foundation, which she founded in 1985.
Around this time she also began leading several support groups for people living with HIV/AIDS, which she referred to as "Hay Rides". Her work with AIDS patients drew fame and was soon invited to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show, along with The Phil Donahue Show, that same week. Soon after, in 1988, her book You Can Heal Your Life immediately landed on the New York Times best-seller list selling more than 50 million copies sold around the world. Around this time, Reid Tracy joined her publishing company, Hay House, as an accountant and later becoming its CEO. The business flourished and attracted a various popular writers.
In 2008, a movie about Louise Hay's life was released, titled You Can Heal Your Life. In Hay's own words on the film's official Web site: "This movie is the story of my life, my teachings, and how I've applied the principles of my teachings to my own life." The movie also features notable speakers and authors in the field of personal development including Gregg Braden, Louise Hay, Gay Hendricks, Esther and Jerry Hicks, and Doreen Virtue; it was directed by Emmy Award-winning director Michael A. Goorjian. In the same year Louise Hay won a Minerva Award at The Women's Conference.
On August 30, 2017, at the age of 90, Louise Hay died peacefully in her sleep from natural causes.
Links & Resources
Heal Your Body (1976)
You Can Heal Your Life (1984)
Love Yourself, Heal Your Life (1990)
Love Your Body: Positive Affirmation Treatments For Loving And Appreciating Your Body (1990)
The Power Is Within You (1991) 101 Power Thoughts (1995)
Power Thoughts 365 Daily Affirmations (1999) I Can Do It: How To Use Affirmations To Change Your Life (2004)
Life Loves You: 7 Spiritual Practices To Heal Your Life (2014)
You Can Heal Your Heart: Finding Peace After A Breakup, Divorce, or Death (2014)
Mirror Work: 21 Days To Heal Your Life (2016)