Monday, September 4, 2017

Gratitude to a hero -- the luminary influence of Louise Hay

Acrylic on birch panel
4 x 6 inches
Barbara Muir © 2014
Before I first read You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, I know
I was already trying to be a positive person.  But all artists/writers/people
get the blues, go through hard times, and doubt themselves.
Louise Hay popularized the idea that it is okay to love yourself.
And in fact taught that all decent, kind behaviour to others begins
with accepting and loving yourself.

This was a major shift in thinking.  She wasn't proposing narcissism,
but trying to reform our natural tendency to self criticism.  That
doesn't mean that signing on to her ideas, and believe me they
were like magic for me, ended all my self scrutiny and worry.
But she gave people tools for transforming a bad day, hard
experience, and crippling lack of confidence into something
brighter, stronger, more resilient.

I will always be grateful.  A few years ago I did some small
portraits of some of my heroes to put up in a show I was in
here in Toronto.  I didn't intend to sell the work, and did not.
They were for me -- as recognition of a fantastic experience
I'd had meditating about meeting some of my favourite people
while my husband was having an acupuncture session, and I
had to sit with him quietly.  Naturally one of those portraits
was of Louise Hay. I would have loved to meet her.

Last week Louise Hay died, and it all came back to me. I wanted
to honour her here because I don't think this blog would have
happened, or that I would be an artist who's been featured in shows
in Europe and New York, without her influence. I think that the
happiness I enjoy with my family and friends, the wonderful people
I've met in my art and teaching career, and even my relatively good
health cycles back to the groundwork for joy in her teachings.  And I
just want to say thank you Louise.  Since you've been gone,
I keep hearing a quote from you.  "In the infinity of life where
I am all is perfect, whole and complete."  I love that and I
know that wherever you are that is true.

Have a caring for others and loving your life day.


Wendy Barrett said...

What a beautiful post Barbara! I too read a book in my younger years that was a revelation in understanding that we have control over what we think. I also got a lot out of Louise's book.
You have captured her perfectly in your inimitable style. You really do create magic with your portraits! You have honoured her well.
Hope all is going great with you and yours!
Take care,

laura said...

Hm. I think I should get a copy of that book--I am too self-critical and it holds me back!
Love the painting--what great colors in her hair!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Wendy,

Thank you so much. I've been thinking of you. We landed in New York City yesterday and Steven and I were talking about how much we enjoyed dinner with you. I hope you are well. I think you have my email. Write if you can.


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laura,

Louise Hay started the idea of looking at yourself in the mirror and saying "I love you." Seems
so simple. Al Franken did a very funny bit mocking her on SNL. But it probably affected him
even in jest because now he's a junior senator. And I think if you're well known enough to
be satirized it says something. There are lots of books on positive thought now. And they
all start with accepting yourself. I love your work so much. It is wonderful.


Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at:
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!