Minutes after losing her job, Louise Lewis sat in the boarding area of a California airport and began to panic. Weak and vulnerable, she asked God for guidance, and she says his reply was, "This is just another chapter in your life. You hold the pen, I'll guide your hand, and together we'll write one hell of a chapter." Lewis' resulting spiritual journey and search for a life of new meaning is chronicled in her new inspirational book, "No Experts Needed: The Meaning of Life According to You!"
Interview with Louise Lewis
No Experts Needed: The Meaning of Life According to You!
iUniverse, Inc. (2007)
Reviewed by for Reader Views (10/07)
Today, Tyler R. Tichelaar of Reader Views is happy to be joined by Louise Lewis, author of “No Experts Needed: The Meaning of Life According to You.”
Louise Lewis has two decades of experience in marketing and advertising, having held senior-level positions on the client, advertising agency, and ad sales sides of the business. Louise considers herself a self-growth junkie, continuing to seek light, love, and wisdom in her daily life. With an innate passion for spiritual growth, she has a strong desire to give back to the world. Along with the inspiration and direction received from Spirit, Louise continues to touch the lives of all she meets. Born and raised in Louisiana, she received a bachelor’s degree in communications at California State University in Fullerton. She now resides in Southern California and volunteers at Children’s Hospital of Orange County.
Tyler: Thank you for joining me today, Louise. To begin, I understand writing “No Experts Needed” was the result of what most people would consider a traumatic experience, the loss of a job. Will you tell us a little bit about how losing your job led to your writing this book?
Louise: It’s my pleasure to be here with you. Yes, losing my job was traumatic since I’m a single gal with a mortgage and the industry (high tech) had been laying off people for two years prior to my pink-slip day. But fortunately, the trauma of it all lasted only minutes. Sounds strange, I know. But my world turned around just minutes after getting “set free” from my job.
It all started in the San Jose, CA airport. I sat in the departure area panicking over where I’d find a job. As I said, everyone—co-workers, clients, competitor companies—had already been hit by the “dot com bomb.”
In my weakened, vulnerable state, I said, “God, what am I going to do?” I began to see a mental image of myself in slow motion falling into a deep dark depression. Suddenly, from below me I “saw” two cupped hands rise up to catch me. They were the hands of God and I plopped into His palms. The plop was so great that it brought my mind back to reality and to the airport waiting area. I looked around to see if anyone saw me jump in my seat from the plop.
With a deep breath and my head hung low, I again asked, “God, what am I going to do?”
My head was lifted and I received His message, “I’ll take care of you, Louise. This is just a new chapter in your life.” In that moment, the heaviness from my worries lifted from my body, and I was able to take a deeper breath.
He repeated, “This is just another chapter in your life. You hold the pen, I’ll guide your hand, and together we’ll write one hell of a chapter.”
In that moment, I knew I had been set upon a dramatically different path in life. I didn’t know the answers to the why, how, when types of questions. I merely promised myself that I would continue to listen to and follow Spirit’s messages.
From the start, I wrote down in my journal every detail of the journey of receiving these messages. Ultimately, it was another message from Spirit that told me also to begin asking people: what is the meaning of life?
The journey, the messages, and the Spirit surrounding the many amazing events grew so large that I just had to put the story between covers and share it with the world.
Tyler: Louise, will you tell us a little bit more about these messages. How do you receive them? Would you share with us an example of a typical or special message?
Louise: Well, I’ll quickly state that I don’t hear voices; just don’t want anyone to think I’m bonkers! We all receive messages in some form or another. Who has not said something like, “I don’t know why I did that, but I just knew I had to do it.” Others fully admit that the reason for a particular action could have only come from divine intervention. Messages are being sent to all of us. But are we all listening?
For me, I can tell the difference between a “normal” message—one that comes from my own intuition or intellect—and one that comes from Spirit. The best way I describe receiving a message from Spirit is by calling it a “heavy thought.” It’s a thought that, instead of whizzing across my mind as do most random thoughts, drags slowly, deliberately across my consciousness. And the impact it has on me…well, there’s not enough time to describe that!
As for special messages, I have received many that have taken my breath away. One, of course, is the message I received just minutes after getting “set free” from my job as I mentioned earlier. Another message so very close to my heart is the message I received from my Dad as he was passing. It’s one chapter that is a favorite among readers.
Tyler: Louise, will you tell us what that message was?
Louise: His message was “Go call your Momma.” It was his way of honoring one of my requests of him before he would pass away. I received his message just in time…it came just minutes after I left his hospital bed and just minutes before I boarded my flight back home. Just minutes after I returned to his bedside, he passed away. Coincidence?
Tyler: Of course, everyone wants to know “the meaning of life.” We also often go to self-help gurus, religion, and various teachers for answers, so I am intrigued by your subtitle, “The Meaning of Life According to You.” Why did you choose this subtitle?
Louise: Let me first say that I don’t have anything against “experts.” Collected knowledge and wisdom is very valuable and can be used to guide or motivate us to our Truth. However, when it comes to answering the touch questions about (our) life, we are left to our own knowledge of what we know to be True. In other words, no one can tell you your Truth; that is a journey you must travel alone.
So, even though I would encourage people to obtain guidance if they’re stuck in life, I think it is absolutely imperative for people to think for themselves and search for their own answer to the big questions in life. Once you do the work, you will learn that your answers to all of life’s question live within you.
Tyler: Louise, I’m interested by your statement that no one can tell a person his or her own Truth, and that the answers to life’s questions are inside of us. We live in what is relatively a Christian country, and a lot of conservative Christians will tell you Jesus is the truth and the only way to salvation is by belief in Him. Are you able to reconcile your messages with that belief, or are you not operating within the belief system of Christianity?
Louise: Does God not live within us? Should we not have a deep and personal relationship with our Creator? Do we not speak to God with our hearts?
Sorry if I’m about to “split hairs” here, but when I said, “no one can tell a person…” I really mean no human (hence, no experts) can tell you what’s inside your heart and soul. A human can guide you, etc., but only you know what you see and feel when you look inside your heart, your mind, and your soul.
Personally, I believe a person’s Truth (capital T intended) can only come from a higher source. And to hear that Truth, one must go within.
As for me operating within the belief of Christianity, simply put, I am a Christian, so it’s impossible not to operate from that base. Also, I walk through life allowing my inquisitive brain to glean a bit of understanding from the teachings of eastern philosophy. And, I also love learning and experiencing different peoples and their cultures.
When all of this (faith + knowledge + experience) marinates in my soul, a Truth rises up. I guess the quickest way for me to describe that Truth is by using the old saying, “all roads lead to Rome.” I know full well that it’s possible for people to have their own definitions or versions of this belief, so I am able to respect all interpretations. “A rose by any other name”…well, it’s still a rose!
Let me also add that I intentionally kept “No Experts Needed” on a Spiritual level vs. one of a particular religion because while walking on my Spirit-led journey, I welcomed a conversation with all people, all faiths/religions, and all cultures. Why? Because I want to be a part of the movement that gets all people thinking about the meaning of life… It comes full circle…eventually.
Tyler: Louise, will you tell us a little bit about how “No Experts Needed” is organized. I understand it is made up of many people’s stories. Why did you organize it the way you did?
Louise: Let me first admit that I am not a writer, so I had no experience as to the “right” way of doing anything. But I thought it was necessary to tell my story exactly how it occurred. Meaning that as much as possible, the story unfolds in chronological order. As my feet moved along my new path, I wrote about it and laid the adventures “end to end.”
I hope that when people read the story of my journey, they say, “Wow, she just walked through her daily life, listened to Spirit’s direction, and met so many wonderful people who shared their amazing life stories with her.
It still makes me giggle when I tell people I want to be the poster child for how enriching life is when you take the time simply to turn to the person sitting next to you and begin a conversation.
Tyler: Would you share with us one of the other stories in the book?
Louise: Thank you for not asking for my favorite story. That would be like asking a parent who is their favorite child! I love them all because to this day, I am still amazed at how I was “delivered” to meet certain people and receive their story. One such event is about meeting Dan.
One evening I decided to go out to dinner. I got in my car and started driving even though I didn’t know where I was going. My brain juggled many restaurant options until I received word from Spirit, “Go to Bayside.” By this time on my journey, I had learned not to question the messages I received.
“Hmm, Bayside?” I thought. “That’s the restaurant where my book began.” In that moment, I just knew that something good was about to happen.
After ordering a glass of wine, I looked around the bar, thinking, “Okay, bring it on, God. Why am I here?” Was I brought there to meet my next boyfriend? Well, that didn’t happened but something better did.
I passed the time writing in my journal when from my right shoulder I heard a man say, “Are you writing a book?” Now some might say that was a good guess, but I knew differently. “Yes, I am. Would you like to be in it?” I asked. Never before had I just blurted that out. But, once again, I knew tonight was different.
I told him that to be in the book he would have to answer one question, but that I would not tell him the question until he agreed to be in the book. It was an all-or-nothing deal. He abruptly said, “No,” and turned his back. About 2.3 seconds passed when he spun back around and said, “Okay, ya got me. What’s the question?”
He read the paper with the question “What is the meaning of life?” He smirked, “I’ve been thinking about this for over a year now.” I waited. Then he continued.
“Within the past eighteen months, my son was killed in a car accident. And my father died of a heart attack. And my brother died of liver failure.”
As he wrote his answer, I revisited all that happened that led me to meeting Dan. Some people call it “coincidence.” Not me.
So, you see those are the kinds of stories that are in the book.
Tyler: Louise, that’s an amazing “coincidence.” But if you don’t believe it’s a coincidence, how do you think Spirit brought you together? Tell us more about Dan and why his beliefs about the meaning of life are important to you.
Louise: Great question, but these days I am trying my best to stop my analytical mind from having to find such answers. I no longer ask the how’s or why’s. It is what it is. When something wonderful like that happens to me, I gently shift my mind into a state of gratitude and simply say, “Thank you for bringing us together. Keep it comin’!”
Thank you for wanting to hear more about Dan. I so love the story and could go on and on, but I’ll try to keep this short.
As he wrote his ‘meaning of life’ answer, I watched Dan from the corner of my eye. Mind you, this was after he told me of the consecutive losses of family members.
I looked into his face to see if I could detect any shades of anger, resentment, or bitterness. You know, some of the stages of grief. But there was none. I tried to read his energy to see whether there was some sort of dark cloud hovering over his head. But there was none. Instead, Dan’s face and energy was nothing but peaceful.
“How can this be?” I thought. “He must be very spiritual.”
Dan handed me his answer. After reading it, I acknowledged it with a knowing nod. But as is my inquisitive nature, I pushed the envelope a bit further and asked, “How have you survived?” With eyes locked on mine, he quietly stated, “I believe in God.”
Why is the story of Dan and his answer so special? Because this entire event, experience, adventure was all Spirit-driven, and I can truly weep with deep and immense gratitude that I was given yet another opportunity to play a role.
Tyler: Will you tell us a little bit about your writing process in creating the book?
Louise: Not being a writer, I first had to develop a writing process. But actually, the truth behind my writing process was to allow room for my writing process to develop on its own. I merely stayed true to my commitment to trust that I knew what was right…for me.
Having said that, there were many times I stared at a blank screen. Yet other times, it was like the book wrote itself because I found that the more I stayed true to the experience of my journey and told the story using my own voice, the struggle ended and the words flowed freely.
Tyler: Many writers discuss writing block, but I think it’s more that we need to get ourselves into the right state of mind and relax enough to make the words flow through us. How did you make sure you were staying “true to the experience of my journey” and when did you realize you weren’t?
Louise: I knew I was being true to my journey whenever I wrote from Spirit, my version of what you call the “right state of mind.” Unfortunately, throughout the writing of my book, my Ego always tried to take center stage by yelling in my ear negative things, like “You’re crazy to think you can write a book.” Or, “People will think you’re nuts if you tell the story exactly how it happened.” Or, “No one will believe you!”
Fortunately, I have a secret weapon for dealing with Ego. Each time Ego raised its voice, I simply asked myself, “In this moment, am I living in Spirit or in Ego?” Pardon my “French,” but since I am hell bent on always living in Spirit, merely asking myself that question aligned my every thought and action with Spirit. And once in Spirit, I gained the confidence to tell the story my way, in my words, with my voice.
Tyler: Louise, what advice would you give to people who have lost their jobs?
Louise: Goodness! That’s a tough question because every situation is different. But overall, I would encourage people to look for the positive opportunity hidden just beneath the layer of trauma. Sure, a person has to deal with the reality of it all. But when possible, step back and take a large view of what this could really mean for you. Sometimes, losing a job just may be the boot in the butt to change direction in life.
Tyler: Why do you think the loss of a job, specifically, led you on this spiritual journey, rather than some other life-changing event?
Louise: That’s a great question and difficult to answer in a sound bite. But I will say (only somewhat jokingly) that if God were trying to get my attention so that he could put me on another path in life, having my financial security taken away sure did the trick.
The shock and panic of not knowing where I’d find a job left me feeling tremendously vulnerable. Before, I always felt in complete control of my life; well, as much as one can control things. But losing my job did me in. All I could do was surrender and ask for His help. I think that anytime we truly hand our life over to God, we are in for one hell of a journey!
Tyler: Now how do feel when you look back on that day when you felt devastated by the loss of your job?
Louise: With immense gratitude!
Tyler: What impact do you hope “No Experts Needed” has upon people?
Louise: I’d love for people to finish reading the book saying, “If she could do it, so can I.” And the “it” doesn’t mean writing a book.
At the end of the day, I’m just a simple gal living a simple life. In my moment of crisis, I turned inward and sought my Truth, explored the meaning of my life, and then allowed myself to be Guided. Truly, if I can do it, so can you.
Tyler: What response have you received so far from readers?
Louise: Oddly enough, I am getting somewhat of the opposite reaction of what I imagined. I thought people would love reading everyone’s ‘meaning of life’ answer. And they do. I thought they’d love reading the moving stories as told to me by the people I met along my Spirit-led journey. And they do love that as well.
But, over and over, I’m told that what people—readers and reviewers alike—most love about reading “No Experts Needed” is my storytelling…my thoughts…my experiences. That has been an unexpected yet welcomed surprise.
Tyler: Have you had any skeptical readers, ones who don’t believe life has any meaning? What is your response to them?
Louise: Oh, sure. There are always a couple of “life has no meaning” people who cross my path. Thankfully, I’ve learned to walk through life with an open mind, heart and ears. And I’ve also learned how to disagree respectfully with someone.
So when people say, “I’m sure you don’t like hearing me say I don’t believe,” I simply tell them my intent is to learn from them…not to change their minds. It takes a lot of practice and I’m still a work in progress!
Tyler: That’s a great response, Louise. Do you have plans for any additional books?
Louise: Yes indeed. “No Experts Needed” will be a series. I have the children’s version ready to be pulled together. And I am currently crossing the country attending motorcycle rallies for the biker version. Yep, there’s a story behind that one.
Tyler: The biker version? I love it. Besides being an author, where else in life do you think or hope Spirit will guide you?
Louise: Oh, Tyler, right now I’m happy just to be a pawn on Spirit’s chessboard of life. I know that with each Spirit-guided “move,” my journey just gets better and better. And because I’ve experienced this for so many years, I know simply to embrace the future and say, “Bring it on!”
Tyler: Thank you for joining me today, Louise. Before we go, would you tell our readers your website address and what additional information they can find there about “No Experts Needed”?
Louise: Thank you, Tyler, for this wonderful opportunity. I invite everyone to visit my website—www.noexpertsneeded.com—to find book excerpts, reviews, additional Q&A sessions. Also provided are easy order links to all major online booksellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Tyler: Thank you, Louise. Best of luck with your book, and we hope you come back when the children and biker versions come out.