Q&A with Louise Lewis
1. Louise, when did you first begin to communicate with the one you call ‘spirit’ -- and what did you make of this communication?
First, I think it’s important for you to know that the one “I call Spirit” is actually God. In the book, however, I purposely chose to refer to Spirit rather than God because I wanted to share my story with all people . . . of all faiths and philosophies. In doing so, I think it more accurately reflects and gives respect to the diversity of the people in the book. But to answer your question, since I was raised Christian, I’d have to say that my “communication” with God began at birth in the belief that God is always with me. However, for the longest time, this communication was unfortunately more of a one way street. You see, even though I believed that God’s word was there for the taking, I have to admit that my ears were not always open to hearing what was being said.
2. Why do you feel you are able to tap into the power of spirit?
That’s easy . . . I did the work. I am able to tap into the power of Spirit today because a long time ago, I took a long journey deep inside myself to find out (for myself) what Spirit really meant to me. What is Spirit? What role did it play in my life, etc.? After a lot of soul searching, as they say, and a lot of study, I not only found my answers to these questions but I also learned how to communicate these answers using my own voice.
3. What circumstances led you to write No Experts Needed?
Oh, God, there’s so many parts to this answer. You see, several events occurred . . . one after the other . . . that were perfectly orchestrated, perfectly timed to bring me to the point of proclaiming, “I’m writing a book.” But the main event that got the ball rolling was getting “set free” from my job; also known as getting laid off. This event led to the most powerful one of all. It was only a few minutes after getting laid off that I received a life-altering message from Spirit. Spirit told me: “This is only a new chapter in your life. You hold the pen; I’ll guide your hand. And together we’ll write one hell of a chapter.” As they say, the rest is history. Or I should say the rest of the events are given in my book!
4. While interviewing scores of people for your book, what did you come to conclude about the state of humanity?
Based on my experience with so many wonderful people, I was reminded that no matter what their race, religion, or geography, people possess far more similarities than they do differences. When you think about it, we all eventually experience pretty much the same stuff that life dishes out: the same joys, the same pain, the same sorrow. Even though our stories may vary a bit, there are many common threads that keep us tied to the person next to us, or across the oceans.
5. How does one come to determine what their meaning of life is?
I believe that the process starts by asking the question with the intention of allowing the answer to reveal itself. When you’re ready to receive the answer, you must first set the stage, so to speak. First, you must put the world on “mute”, meaning you must get quiet. Second, open the communication channel from your head to your heart. An easy way to open this channel is to take a few slow deep breaths. Now you’re ready to pose the question. Ask the question aloud and then let the question float down to your heart. Allow your thoughts to gently form in your mind. Take only a few minutes to collect your thoughts and then begin to write the first thing that comes to your mind. Let your words flow freely onto the page. Do not stop the flow by editing your words or making several drafts of your answer. Simply capture your spontaneous answer.
6. What do you believe is the meaning of life?
I have not told anyone my answer. I strongly believe that a person must learn life’s answers for themselves. Now, that may sound odd since No Experts Needed is chock full of answers. But I am convinced that once a person begins exploring the answers of others, that person will feel more motivated (and less intimidated) to tackle the question on their own.
7. How did you find people coped with severe situations, such as the death of a loved one?
I did meet several people who had recently lost a loved one. Their stories of how they’re dealing with the loss still make me cry. But one man, in particular, stands out in my mind. His name is Dan. The story of meeting Dan makes me still laugh because Dan immediately turned me down when I asked him to be in my book. But within seconds, he was overcome by curiosity, and he gave in. Dan told me that the “meaning of life” question was not new to him because he’d been wrestling with it for over a year. In one breath, Dan explained that over a year and a half, his son was killed in a car accident. And his father died of a heart attack. And his brother died of liver failure. How did Dan cope? I asked him that very question. His answer was simple. He said, “I believe in God.”
8. You lost a job after 11 years of loyal service. How did getting laid off change your outlook on life?
You’ve heard the expression, “to come full circle”? Well, I experienced a full-circle moment within minutes of getting “set free”. You see, before I got laid off, I felt really secure in life. I worked for a great company. I loved my job and my clients. I dedicated a lot of my time and emotion to my job. I was even prepared to be at that company until I retired. Of course, getting “set free” trashed that retirement plan and my feelings of security. But within just minutes of that event, I received words from Spirit, words that delivered me back to a place of feeling secure. Only this time, I now knew that I was my own security. My feeling of security now comes from within. And I now view getting “set free” as a blessing.
9. You call yourself a “self growth junkie.” How so?
Many years ago, I took a long hard look at myself and chose to take responsibility for how my life had turned out (so far). Mainly how my relationships with people had turned out. Ok, I’ll ‘fess up. After my divorce, I realized that my life had been shaped by the decisions I made, whether consciously or subconsciously. And no one else was to blame. From then on, I analyzed and questioned my every thought and action and sought out the answers. I became “addicted” to this process. Ask a question, any question, and then learn the answer. It was so fun! And still is fun . . . because I still have a lot to learn.
10. If life happens -- such as divorce, job loss, death -- and no one escapes the unpleasant stuff, how do we confront life?
By asking yourself, “How do I choose to confront life?” Of course we can’t control everything in life, but we do have a choice on how we respond to such situations. As in my example earlier about divorce, I could have chosen to remain bitter, angry and blamed everything on my ex-husband. Fortunately for me, I chose to focus my energy on the role I played in the whole thing. You see, I follow a certain philosophy that states that in any given situation, It’s never about the other person. This means that before you point the finger at someone, you must first look at your own actions. It’s all about our choices.
11. How should we balance emotions and attitude about our life and the role we play in a world gone mad?
Your question holds the answer. Balance. Sorry if I sound like a broken record, but I do believe that balance can be achieved if you choose to be balanced. It’s not easy, but look at the alternative. Once you choose a life of balance, your eyes will begin seeing many, many ways to get you there.
12. Is the secret to surviving tragedy based on what one believes the meaning of life is?
In a word, yes. And I’ll take it a step further. I think the quality of one’s survival is definitely linked to the quality of one’s answer to the meaning of life. For example, let’s say someone’s answer to the meaning of life is shopping. Then, they suffer a tragedy. Let’s say, their spouse asks for a divorce. Their world is shattered; their foundation is shaken to the core. It’s in that moment that the person must grab onto their meaning of life to weather the storm. So, if shopping is the meaning of life, what do you think will be the quality of their survival. Sure, in the short term, it may sound like a good diversion, but the aftershocks of a tragedy last a long time and we have to be prepared for the long haul. In this case, I would strongly urge someone to peel back a few more layers to learn their true answer.
13. How can we deal with living in an uncertain time, where we constantly walk through life feeling unnerved by the state of the world?
You deal with it by changing the state of your world. Let’s face it. It is difficult for all of us to find balance when we are constantly bombarded by news of war, terrorism, murder, and rape. And don’t get me started on the constant political squabbles! Some things we just can’t change. But there are many, many things that we can change. We can change our world . . . the world we touch directly.
14. From the people you have met, what were some of the most interesting perspectives expressed about the meaning of life?
Oh, that’s a tough one because so many answers either touched my heart or made me raise an eyebrow. But I guess the one that comes to mind is the one that I most disagreed with. It came from Del, an 80-yr-old man who had just lost his wife of 56 years. His answer to the meaning of life was: “There isn’t any. It’s random events.”
15. What do you tell someone who doesn’t believe life holds any great meaning for them?
Funny you should ask that because in the book, I go into detail about my conversation with Del. With Del, as with everyone else who answered my question, I did not judge the answer he gave. I simply asked him why he thought that way, and then I told my Ego to just shut up and listen to his explanation. It’s fascinating to listen to people with the intent to learn, versus listening with the intent of changing their mind. But, I admit, when Del finished his explanation, I offered my counter . . . in a loving and respectful manner. There’s no time now, but the story of Del will tell you what happens along the way to get Del to eventually change his answer.
16. You had an unusual conversation with your dad just months before he died. What took place?
Oh, now you’re going to make me cry. In the book, it’s the story of my Dad’s passing. My parents came out to California for a visit. When my Dad walked off the plane, for the first time in my life, I saw him as an old man. The result of a hard life had finally taken a toll on his body. In that moment, I knew he did not have much time left. Just minutes after arriving home from the airport, my Dad turned to me and said, “So, how long will it take you to get home if something happens?” That one question was all it took for us to have the “death bed” conversation, right there and then.
17. Why do people not talk about the meaning of life more openly and often?
Well, they do with me! I think the reason is because they’re afraid. Afraid that they don’t know the answer . . . or that someone will laugh at their answer. So they stay safe and not even make the attempt. That’s one of the reasons I wrote No Experts Needed. To say to people, “Hey, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there.”
18. You managed to ask actor Richard Dreyfuss about the meaning of life. What did he say and how did you come to meet him?
Yes, the story of how I became a celebrity stalker! Just kidding . . . I spotted him at a gift shop in the Boston Logan Airport. I overheard him ask the clerk for the closest ATM. I followed him, of course keeping a respectful distance. But once his transaction was done, I pounced on that cutie pie! I love his answer because he, too, believes in Choice. In fact, he begins his eloquent answer with the words: “It’s your choice.”
19. Did you interview people victimized by the hurricane Katrina, and if so what did they share with you?
Yes, I spoke with many Katrina survivors. I love the Katrina story because it makes a full-circle connection between Oprah, Jon Bon Jovi, these Katrina survivors, and my hometown in Louisiana. The Katrina survivors I met are simply amazing. They have dealt with devastation, turmoil, tragedy and loss, and yet they see it all as a blessing. Unbelievable strength.
20. A lot of people link the meaning of life to their family. Why do you think this is so?
Family is certainly the epicenter of most of our lives. No doubt about it. But as soon as someone tells me that their family is the meaning of life, I gently push the envelope a bit and ask them a few more questions like: what is your definition of family? Is family just those people who are related by blood? Do you have only one family in this life? You see I believe that one’s answer to the meaning of life needs to go beyond the confines of the physical world, beyond the physical body. Because if the only meaning to our life is wrapped up in someone who will die and leave us, then what are we left with? In other words, if the meaning of life is our family, what meaning is left when our family members die? It’s tough to think about. But inevitably, we all face answering this question one day. It is my mission to encourage people to start now searching their hearts, minds and souls for their true answer.
21. Others believe their meaning in life is linked to God. What do you make of that?
Well, it’s very easy for me to understand that connection because I believe in God. But to tag on to what I suggested earlier, if you agree that your answer to life’s meaning must transcend the physical world, then I think your search naturally brings you to exploring higher levels of thought, of consciousness, of spirituality. Whether you call it God or not is based on your own personal belief system. Reaching these levels of thought take time and commitment, but it is here where one finds the answers to all questions.