Locals Mourn the Passing of Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, Iconic Motivational Speaker  

Published in Woonsocket Call on September 6. 2015

On August 30, 2015, the internet was ablaze with the news that Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, one of America’s most popular self-help authors and motivational speakers in the field of self-development and spiritual growth, had died one day earlier at his home in Maui, Hawaii.  He was 75 years old.

On his very popular official Facebook page (with over 2.5 million likes) Dyer’s family announced:  “Wayne has left his body, passing away through the night. He always said he couldn’t wait for this next adventure to begin and had no fear of dying. Our hearts are broken, but we smile to think of how much our scurvy elephant will enjoy the other side.”

Who was this man, raised by an alcoholic father and in orphanages and foster homes as a child, whose books, lectures and workshops, CDs, DVDs, streaming videos and weekly radio show, would strikes a chord with millions all over the world?

A Prolific Writer

According to a statement released by Hay House, over four decades the internationally acclaimed author, born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, penned 42 books, 21 of which became New York Times bestsellers.  Devoted fans would give him the affectionate moniker “the father of motivation.”

After a four-year stint in the United States Navy, Dyer would go on to earn his doctorate in educational counseling from Wayne State University before serving as a professor at St. John’s University in New York. Throughout his early years as a college educator, and as a clinical psychologist, he realized that there was a need to make the principles of self-discovery and personal growth more accessible to the public.

In 1976, Dr. Dyer began his writing career as an author by traveling the nation selling his first book, “Your Erroneous Zones”, right from the trunk of his car.  The self-help book went on to become one of the best-selling books of all time, with more than 60 million copies sold, printings in 47 languages, and 64 weeks spent on the New York Times bestseller list.  This put Dr. Dyer firmly on America’s radar screen, resulting in the bookings on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson a whopping total of 37 times.

With the publishing of a number of best-selling books on self-improvement under his belt, Dyer turned his attention to exploring the spiritual aspects of human experience. “My purpose is to help people look at themselves and begin to shift their concepts,” Dr. Dyer noted at that time. “Remember, we are not our country, our race, or religion. We are eternal spirits. Seeing ourselves as spiritual beings without label is a way to transform the world and reach a sacred place for all of humanity,” he said.  Throughout his life this theme would be woven into all his writings, lectures and workshops.

In 1993, Dyer began publishing his books with Hay House, founded in 1984, and he quickly became one of its most prolific and popular authors.  The company, with its headquarters in Carlsbad, California with international offices in the United Kingdom, Austria, South Africa and India, has published over 300 books and 450 audios from 140 authors.

At Hay House, Dr. Dyer also created several audio programs and videos, and appeared on thousands of television and radio shows over the course of his long career. His books “Manifest Your Destiny”, “Wisdom of the Ages”, “There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem”, and the New York Times bestsellers “10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace”, “The Power of Intention, Inspiration, Change Your Thoughts—Change Your Life, Excuses Begone!,” “Wishes Fulfilled”, and “I Can See Clearly Now”, have all been featured as PBS specials, raising over $200 million for public television stations nationwide.

Dyer did not even forget his alma mater, Wayne State University.  He raised over $1 million for the educational institution.

Dyer’s Death Hits Local Followers

In 1974, Gary Calvino, 62, remembers reading his first Dyer book, the “Erroneous Zones,” one that would totally impact how he would live his life.  “It changed my life and got me to think about looking inside my being for my happiness rather than seeking it from others.” The author’s “authenticity” who lived his principles and “walked his talk” kept Calvino reading more of Dyer’s books that ultimately would total 42.

Calvino, setting up a new nonprofit, Mindful Rhode Island to create an interconnected web of mindfulness throughout the Ocean State, also treasured a chance meeting with Dyer at a lecture in New York City, he says.  The Providence resident described a 10-minute private encounter with the motivational speaker, “a gratitude conversation,” he says that would ultimately give him a way to communicate in more “heart-felt way” with his dying father.

“It hit me very hard when I heard of Dyer’s death,” says Calvino.  “I know he had no fear of dying and he is now in a great place,” he adds.

“Reading and watching him on videos over the years actually allowed me to grow with him,” says Calvino, stressing that he was able to follow the author through all phases of his personal and spiritual growth.  “Every book he wrote was a learning experience for him.  With his passing I will miss his inspirational wisdom.”

Wanda Morrison, whose family business, Mind Body Barre is located in three locations in Southern Massachusetts, has followed the teachings of Dyer since her early teenage days. The fifty-two year old says “I have always known when his books came out and I probably have read them all,” she says.

Morrison’s says Dyer had the “most soothing presence and aura about him,” adding that people felt his “powerful presence of love and healing.”

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change,” is one of my favorite Dyer quotes, says Morrison, stressing that it’s made her more aware that she is a co-creator in her world.

“I was speechless and so sad when I heard of his passing,” Morrison says.  “There will never be another person like him.  His wisdom and way he chose to dedicate his life to help others with writings that were so simple and easy to understand will be hard to duplicate,” she noted.

“I will be reading his books and listening or watching his lectures for the rest of my life.  He will forever be a part of my world,” says Morrison.

Yes, Dyer taught us to overcome both their perceived and real physical limitations to make their dreams come true.  If his life mission on earth was to teach his loyal following to connect with their “Highest Self,” he truly succeeded.

Dr. Dyer was married three times, separated from his third wife and had eight children and nine grandchildren.

To order books, videos, CDs, go to www.drwaynedyer.com.

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Conquering Cancer Through Living Fearlessly

Published in Pawtucket Times, November 9, 2012 

             We’ve heard it before – “don’t sweat the small stuff”,  “do not fear death…only the unlived life”, “live your life to the fullest”.  Anita Moorjani, 50, only knows the truth behind these familiar sayings all too well because of a Near Death Experience (NDE) she had in 2006.

             In Moorjani’s book, Dying to be Me: My Journey From Cancer To Near Death, To True Healing, published in 2012 by Hay Houses, USA, the Hong Kong-resident recounts stories of her childhood, being raised Hindu while residing in a largely Chinese and British society in Hong Kong.   Throughout her adult life, she faced challenges to find a  profession, eventually found her one true love,  husband Danny, and eventually fought her devastating cancer, which lead to her death, but ultimately came back to life and became healed, an outcome that today baffles the medical world.

             The 191 page inspirational tome tells how Moorjani fought against Stage IV lymphoma for almost four years, ultimately a terminal disease that spread from the base of her skull, which traveled over her neck and down to her abdomen.  Her body was riddled with malignant tumors, “some the size of lemons”, she recalls.            

            As a result of her near death experience, and the publicity generated by her book, Moorjani now speaks at conferences and events around the world to share her insights gained from her Near Death Experience.  She is also a frequent guest at The University of Hong Kong’s department of behavioral sciences speaking on topics such as dealing with terminal illness, facing death, and the psychology of spiritual beliefs. 

 Crossing Over

             By the morning of February 2, 2006, Moorjani was wheel-chair bound, on oxygen and receiving full-time care at home.  She was sliding in and out of consciousness while experiencing breathing difficulties due to fluid in her lungs.  Her body was swollen with open skin lesions and she was soon admitted to the local hospital in a coma.  Her outcome was grim, and the attending physician informed her husband that he did not expect her to survive for another 36 hours.

              Now in the ICU and having been in a coma for nearly 20 hours, the forty-four year old woman’s vital organs began to fail. In fact, she was ultimately pronounced dead.  Moorjani recalls entering into a “NDE”, having a spiritual epiphany while on the other side of death’s veil.  She came to understand the ultimate cause of her devastating medical condition, which she reports as  “being fearful of life”.  When she chose to return to her physical body, Moorjani knew that she indeed had the power to heal her body of the spreading cancer,  knowing with certainty that this medical miracle would occur.

             Over a six month period after her NDE, Moorjani was given chemotherapy,  even though every medical test revealed no trace of cancer.  A lymph node biopsy also revealed no cancer in any of her lymph nodes.

.            Like millions of others who have reported NDE, Moorjani had experienced many of its classic traits.  She recalls having “an extreme sense of peace and well-being, an intense feeling of unconditional love”, and became reunited with deceased family and friends and spiritual guides.

             Her book noted that even in a coma in this very deep NDE, she was acutely aware of her surroundings.  She heard a physician tell her husband, outside her room in the corridor, that her organs were failing and she would not last the night.  In her NDE she knew that her brother was on a plane coming to say his goodbyes, too.

             On the other side, Moorjani recounts in this book how she received profound knowledge about her life, mission and purpose of life with an understanding of the nature of the universe as well.  When the terminally ill woman approached the boundary of no return, she remembers she had a decision to make, to stay and sever ties with her sickly body, or come back to heal and accomplish her life’s mission.   Choosing to voluntarily return to her disease-ridden body, upon regaining consciousness, she knew that her body would be quickly healed of cancerous tumors. She was released from the hospital within weeks, without a trace of cancer in her body.

             With an increased belief in the God-force within, no longer would Moorjani fear death, and this experience fueled her desire to confront life fearlessly.

 NDE Is a Common Occurrence

            Over the years, Jeffrey Long, M.D., a leading NDE researcher, has documented over 3,000 NDEs, posted on the www.nderf.org website. The practicing radiation oncologist says that this data base is by far the largest collection of NDEs, available in 22 languages, that is publicly accessible.  Readers from over 100 different foreign countries access Dr. Long’s web site monthly.  Over 300,000 pages are read from this website every month.

            Meanwhile, Dr. Long’s website, notes that although most people who come near death do not remember anything, around 18% later report that “something happened.”  That “something” is often a near-death experience NDE, says Long.  He notes a 1993 Gallop Poll estimated that 12 to 15 million Americans personally experienced a NDE.  As of 2001, almost 600 adults per day across the nation experience an NDE.

            According to Dr. Long, who penned the New York Times bestseller, Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences, Moorjani’s, NDE is “one of the most profound NDEs ever reported.  The insights that she received during her NDE are profound, yet corroborated by the insights of many other NDErs.”

            Dr. Long noted, “I have carefully reviewed Anita Moorjani’s incredible recovery and NDE.  It is medically inexplicable.  Doctor’s don’t like to use the term ‘miracle’, but that is the best word to describe her experience.”

            While he did not review her original medical records, one physician did. In an email and a press release, promoting a workshop to discuss Moorjani’s  rapid remission from an advanced stage of cancer, Dr. Peter Ko, an oncologist who reviewed her medical records did not attribute her dramatic recovery to her chemotherapy.  “Based on what we have learned about cancer cell behaviors, I speculate that something (non-physical…”information”?) either switched off the mutated genes from expressing, or signaled them to a programmed cell death.  The exact mechanism is unknown to us, but not likely to be the result of cytotoxic drugs.” 

Lessons Learned from Beyond the Veil

            Moorjani now believes that her cancer manifested in her physical body due to the fear of being herself, displeasing others, not measuring up to their expectations andthe fear of living life to the fullest.  In fact, it was being “fearful of everything,” said the internationally recognized writer, that blocked her greater essence from healing the physical body.  

            “Only when I realized my own magnificence, my own perfection, my own self worth as a beautiful child of the universe, was I able to let go of fear and embrace life with all its uncertainties, ambiguities, joys, sorrows, and challenges. Seeing myself as perfection, as an exquisite manifestation of life, led to my healing,” she said. 

            Moreover, a prevalent part of her experience was the realization that we are all interconnected and when she was not in her body she was able to clearly see this. 

            Finally, “laughter and a good sense of humor can be your best medicine” – Moorjani recommends not to take your life too seriously, just “Learn to lighten up and laugh. Don’t be afraid of just being yourself.”

            For more information about Moorjani’s NDE and her philosophies of living life fearlessly, or to purchase her book, go to  www.anitamoorjani.com,

            Herb Weiss, LRI ’12, is a Pawtucket-based freelance writer who covers aging, health care and medical issues.  He be contacted at hweissri@aol.com