By Christine A. Holliday
Robert Moyers goes by the name Mr. Happy these days, but his life took a lot of twists and turns before he could describe himself that way. His journey from anger and bitterness to role model for upbeat thinking is the basis of his life’s work, and the source of material for his books and presentations.
Moyers admits that a great portion of his life was marked by negative stress, unhappiness, and resentment, even though his family was a happy one. The author of several pamphlets and a book on peaceful thinking got his writing start in high school, where he combined his love of sports with his affinity for writing. He thought he wanted to study to be a minister, but his mother insisted that he study journalism. He followed her direction and majored in journalism at Ohio Wesleyan University. “Sports was my God,” he recalled, noting that he didn’t have time for anything but school and sports. His dream of being a Phi Beta Kappa was dashed when the university determined that some of his journalism courses would not count toward his GPA, and he carried resentment about that into a future that would be marked by more “How dare you do that to me?” experiences.
He married when his mother suggested it was time, and he enjoyed brief successes as Sports Information Director at several colleges. He says now that he undermined his own achievements by what he calls his “Self-Centered, Self-Exalted, Self-Indulgent, and Self-Righteous” behavior. He chose the sports world, with the accompanying post-game gambling and drinking binges, over family life, and began a downward slide made worse by health issues and the loss of his job. He was an angry man as he tried several new jobs, including forming his own unsuccessful companies, and lived through several divorces and other unsatisfying relationships.
His life was changed when a man explained to him how to find the peace he sought. Moyers realized he would have to seek peace by asking a higher power for help. He promised and resolved to follow a spiritual path with the acknowledgement, “I knew I had to live my life God’s way or the relationship wouldn’t work.”
His struggle wasn’t always easy, and he was still challenged by circumstances. But since he made a serious commitment to follow the will of God, Moyers has learned several truths he shares with others. “You have to make God your first priority,” he explains. “Your second priority is yourself. You must learn to love the good and the bad about yourself. Your spouse comes third, and friends who do the will of God are fourth. After our relationships get our attention, we can turn to the joy and peace in our lives and to our work.”
Moyers teaches others, through the work of his Center of Unconditional Love and Positive People Partners, that stress keeps us from giving these priorities the care they deserve. Our desires to be right, to judge others and to control others keep us from stress-free lives, according to Moyers. He has an answer for the temptations of controlling others: Do a random act of kindness, saying, “The love and joy we receive will be more pleasurable than the habit we are trying to break.” Essentially, Moyers promotes, we should love as a way to do God’s perfect will.
In practice, Moyers’ plan advises people to “…decide to start each day with joy. Declare that each day is a happy day, which means we tell the whole truth all the time and listen to what others tell us. Listening is love in action.”
He promotes the last Saturday of October as National Forgiveness Day, a day for all to repair, restore, rebuild, and revive damaged relationships. To help with that effort, he offers a Be Healthy Plan which he describes as a “positive, pro-active, preventive strategies for honest, happy, healthy, humble living.” It includes “The Promise of Compassion,” “The Prayer of Forgiveness,” and a SALT Plan for every day (Speak the Truth, Ask Good Questions, Listen with Understanding and Think.)
Moyers’ life work now is to get the Be Healthy Plan to as many people as possible. He is very serious as he explains, “Love, care, listen, encourage, and forgive no matter what. You have the power to control the words that come out of your mouth. Do not let the “HOW DARE YOU DO THAT?” words cause relationships to be controlled by anger, hurt, and fear. Say these wonderful words as often as possible: I’m wrong. I’m sorry. Forgive me. You did a good job. What is your opinion? I love you. Thank you. Please.”
Good words for our world, indeed!