My mom used all sorts of "New Age" tricks (50 years ago they called it Metaphysics) and mumbo jumbo to keep the family in line. She was also bipolar (untreated), with various other mental problems (also untreated). My childhood was your average nightmare.
My mom believed prayer, (specifically "HER" prayers) could heal. She told my doctors, her friends, and my teachers, that my celiac symptoms, allergies and autoimmune problems were "all in my head".
The fact that I came close to dying many MANY times had nothing to do with anything. It was always my fault I was sick ... she told me was doing it to myself. "If I acted well and believed I was well, I would be well!" (Fake it until you make it.) That I even survived with my brain relatively intact is amazing.
When word of "The Secret" first came out I was really put off by it. But when Oprah (I can't believe I'm admitting this) did her specials on it, I decided to look at the video. I started researching the various people who took part in the video, checking out their web pages and reading their books.
Eventually I read James Ray's "The Science of Success" and was bothered at how much of it was about material things, money, etc. But, there was some good stuff there, so I concentrated on that ... and here's the kicker, so many people ... smart people ... were talking about "The Law of Attraction", I started to second guess my whole take on it.
I suffer from autoimmune disease and severe allergies. Some days I can walk without a cane or walker, most days I can't. I was in a wheelchair for years. I've been told to get my affairs in order so many times, by so many different doctors that it's sometimes difficult thinking about living a normal life let alone planing for the future. I wanted to be healthy, have a good life, thrive. (Still do!) I thought what do I have to lose?
From then on I was a woman with a mission, making affirmations, reading everything I could get my hands on, forcing myself to walk, etc. Looking back I feel like an absolute idiot.
In 2007, I got an email from James Ray International stating that James Ray was going to be in my area for a "Free Lecture" so I went. ~ sigh ~ (stupid stupid stupid) I wanted to thank him for reminding me I'm more than my body or my illness. (even more stupid)
It was the first time I walked into a large building without my allergy mask, first time I stood in line for any length of time (we waited almost two hours ... they were very late), first time getting out in public in years. Mr Ray put on a good show, way too materialistic for me, but I wasn't there about money or getting rich. Besides which, neither my husband nor myself could afford the retreat they were selling.
So when the lecture was over I stood in line with my walker to say thank you. When Mr Ray looked at me I felt like rolling up into a ball. Oh boy ... I'm fat and I've seen that look before, from so called beautiful people who think fat people are useless pigs.
So I took a deep breath in and started to thank him. (He looked bored and uninterested) I barely got five words out, when he abruptly interrupted and asked if I'd signed up for the weekend. I told him I didn't have the money. At which point he immediately shut me up ... again.
"I'm going to do you a favor" he said, "Don't ever say that again, [that you don't have money] the universe is listening."
"But I don't have any money right ... (I was going to say right now)"
"I TOLD YOU NOT TO SAY THAT!"
"But it's true."
"Then borrow it!"
"I have no one to borrow from."
"You mean to say you have absolutely no friends who can loan you money?"
quietly ... "No, my friends are struggling to."
"You'll never be anything but a fat slob failure if you don't sign up for my retreat."
The brutality of his words, the sound of his voice, took my breath away. The people standing next to me were shocked by his words.
Whispers from people around me
"Did he just call that woman with the walker a fat slob?" "What did she say?" "Look at that lard assed bitch, James is right, she's a nothing."
I wanted to die. I have no idea how I made it back to my car. I can only thank God my husband was with me. I'd been feeling so good, but at that moment, all I wanted to do was run outside and jump off the parking structure. I cried for hours afterward.
All I'd wanted to do was thank him. I didn't know what I'd done to trigger such an intensely ugly response from someone I'd never before met. (Let's hear it for high pressure sales tactics ~ NOT!)
That was 2007, and I'm still here, alive and kicking. I located new doctors, new treatments, physical therapy, walking, different foods. Life is still hard, but it looks like I'm going to be around for a while now. Not because of some new age secret, or law of attraction ... but a lot of hard work.
When I heard about the people who had died at the sweat lodge, I realized that could have been me. Had Mr Ray shown a modicum of compassion, allowed me to pay James Ray International monthly payments for their weekends ... I'd have gone ... no questions asked, because he told me it was safe. He told me I could be cured, he had cured himself ... others ... anything we wanted was ours for the asking.
I'm an educated woman, I should have known better, especially after what I endured as a child. I'm stunned and amazed that I could fall for his vision of things so completely. I thank God he treated me so rudely that night, and I was able to see him for what he was ... a self absorbed bully who's all flash and no substance.
I may be fat, I may even be ugly (if fat = ugly), but I'm no longer broke and don't owe anyone any money. Oh yeah, I don't lie, I've never purposely hurt anyone, never stolen anything and I'm very much alive!