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You’re listening to Insights at the Edge. Today, my guest is Saje Dyer, the daughter of the very well-known and popular inspirational author and teacher, Wayne Dyer. Saje is herself a writer and speaker. She’s a new mother living in New York city, and she recently graduated from NYU with a degree in psychology. With Sounds True, Saje, along with her sister, Serena, have authored a new book. It talks about the story of Wayne Dyer’s death, how it impacted them and the ongoing relationship they have with the presence of their father. The book is called The Knowing: 11 Lessons to Understand the Quiet Urges of Your Soul. Take a listen.
Saje, I want to start this conversation together in a little bit of an unusual way, which is by sharing with you a confession. Here’s what happens when I prepare for a podcast: The night before is when I finally sit down with the book—I usually don’t start preparing weeks or days in advanced for whatever reason. I sit down the night before and I start reading the book and then I finish the next morning.
As I’m reading The Knowing, a couple hours in, I suddenly have the realization that the next day, the day that we were originally scheduled to record together, is my father’s birthday. This is suddenly filled with so much meaning for me, because your book, The Knowing, is so much about your love of your own father, Wayne Dyer, and his death, and what that brought up for you and the sense that you can still feel his presence in your life and influencing you in your life. And quite honestly, the deep love that you and your sister Serena, poured out in your book for your dad, filled me with this deep love that I have for my dad.
It also brought up, quite honestly, a lot of grief that I didn’t know was still in me, because my father passed away 36+ years ago. It also brought up some questions for me, about—is my father actually an alive presence influencing my life? I actually incorporated Sounds True—and this is the end of the confession—on my father’s birthday, 36 years ago, as a way to honor him, because I started the business with money that I inherited upon his death.
I’ve had this—I call it a myth, an inner myth—that he’s helping me and the company grow and evolve. He’s actually helping Sounds True. What I wanted to start off talking to you about is—how do we know when we’ve loved somebody deeply, whether they’re actually playing an active role in our life after they’ve died, or if that’s just our imagination, it’s just because we miss them and we want it to be true?
Saje Dyer: That’s a great question, and it’s something that I contemplated so much when my dad first passed away, because, as you know, having the father that I had, I was raised on these principles, that death isn’t real. I witnessed my parents both lose their parents—well, my dad lose his mother, my mom lose both her parents—and both of them continually talked about the signs that they were receiving and how they felt their parents around them.
I remember, growing up, at the various times of my life, when my grandparents passed away, and thinking, “But do you really? How do you know?” Because I was close with my grandparents, but not in a way where it shook me. It wasn’t this real deep grief that I felt after my dad.
When my dad passed away, I felt like I was sort of at a crossroads of—am I going to believe that he’s just gone, and this is it? Am I going to let that skeptic side of me that always existed take over? Or am I going to dive into everything that I was raised on? Because, for really the first time in my life, it applied to me in a big way. Prior to my dad passing, it didn’t. My life was pretty smooth sailing. I mean, we all go through our things, but I had never lost somebody like that before.
I remember in the early days after he passed away, I kept having this instinct of, “Just call Dad.” I would be deep in grief, crying and unable to feel anything positive, and my subconscious mind would say, “Call Dad. Call Dad.” Then I’d have to realize over and over again that that’s no longer possible; you will never call dad again. After torturing myself with these kinds of thoughts—I mean, it felt like torture, because you just keep saying it to yourself—after a few days of having those kinds of thoughts, I said: “OK, Saje, reality check. You’re not going to ever call Dad again. You’re not going to pick up the phone and call him. It’s not going to be the way that it was. But you have 30”—or no, at that time—“25 years of knowing Dad, what would he say to you right now if you could call him?”
I felt like I got this sort of this wisdom that came to me from myself, from the universe, from wherever, that said: “You can either make this be one of the worst things that’s ever happened to you. It can be a tragedy; it can be the end. It can be final. You can stay having these fear-based thoughts of ‘Death is it. Death is the end. He’s gone.’ Or you can choose to have a little bit of faith to open up to the idea that he could still be here around me, just in a different way. And you could use this as an opportunity to grow as a person, to help other people to be more compassionate.”
I made that decision, not in a moment, but I started to be open to that idea of, “OK, how can I see this as an opportunity to grow? How can I be open to this idea that my dad is still around me, that he might be sending me signs?” or on and on. Once I did that, lo and behold, I did start to feel the signs. I did start to feel this knowing, truly a knowing, that my father was still with me. I feel it more now than I even did then, because I feel like once you get a little bit of space between the event of losing someone and that overwhelm—my dad died suddenly; there was really no indication that his health was declining or that he was in his final days.
Actually, in retrospect, there were a lot of signs that he knew his time was coming, but nothing in his health indicated that, and so it was a shock. Once I got some space between that shock and being able to sit with what was going on, I just started to know. If someone would have said that to me before I experienced this, that skeptic side of me would have still been there. If somebody doesn’t feel like they can know that for sure, I just say: “Just open yourself up to the idea that it’s possible. Ask the universe for signs, ask your loved ones to tell you that they’re still with you. And then I think you’ll be amazed at what happens, and what you start to know, what you start to see, what you start to believe.”
If that answers your question.
TS: It does. The title of the book, The Knowing—and even as you’re talking about your own experience, that you started to know in your own experience, and that that’s deepened, that’s very powerful; I want to understand more. What gives you this confidence that it’s a knowing and not just a pretending?
SD: Because it’s like we have an intuition. We have an inner guidance inside of us. I think that that voice is often very quiet. It might not even be a voice. It’s more of a feeling that you can just become more aligned with, and I think that so many parts of our life push us to be not aligned with that voice. It was in losing my dad that I wanted to dive into these softer ways of living life.
One of the things I can remember when I was—I don’t know, in my early 20s. I was driving in the car with my dad and the song, “I Hope You Dance” by Lee Ann Womack came on the radio—one of those tearjerker songs that most of us know. If you haven’t heard it, I suggest that you listen to it. Anyway, he said, “Oh, this is one of my favorite songs,” and he turned the radio up and he said, “Saje, let’s listen to every verse of this song because I agree with every single line in this song. But there’s one line that I don’t agree with. And I want to know if you can pick it out,” and in the song it’s, “I hope you still feel small when you stand against the mountains,” I don’t know all the lines, but there are just really some really beautiful poignant points that are made in this song. We listened to the song and I don’t think I was able to pick out the one that he meant.
He told me afterwards, “The one line in the song that I don’t agree with is that you should”—she says in the song—“‘you should never settle for the path of least resistance.’” He said, “I just can’t even fathom that idea. You should always settle. You should always take the path of least resistance. If the universe is offering you resistance, you should take a look at that. It doesn’t mean that you don’t work hard or things like that; it just means when you’re feeling like you’re forcing something, that you need to take a step back and go more with the flow.”
I remembered that after he passed away, and I wanted to start to live a life that way, more a life of allowing what needs to unfold to unfold. That’s kind of how this book was born, was just this idea of “How do we tap into that, that voice? How do you tap into that knowing?” Like you said. I don’t know how to explain that if it’s all happening in my imagination, it’s enriched my life in such a way that I’m even OK with that. But in my heart and in my soul, I know that it’s not, I know that he is still with me.
TS: Now, I want to give our listeners a feeling for your relationship with your dad, with Wayne Dyer. Because I think probably most of the people listening to this will be, “Oh yes, Wayne Dyer. He was that hugely popular and influential, inspirational writer,” but they don’t know him from your perspective, as his daughter. Speaking as his daughter, tell us who you experienced your father to be.
SD: My father was one of the funniest and most fun and joyful humans to be around, that you could ever imagine. And he was brilliant. When I would be with him, especially as I got older, I would go out—he lived in Hawaii and I lived mostly in New York or in Florida—and I would go out and stay with him. I’d get up in the morning, I put on my workout clothes, I’d say, “I’m going to go exercise. I’m going to go for a walk or whatever,” and I wouldn’t be able to leave. I’d feel so drawn to his energy. I mean, he was just somebody who drew you in—little things like he would floss his teeth every day, every morning and every night; he would chase me with his floss and say, “You could sell this on eBay. Somebody would pay for this on eBay,” trying to get it all over me. He would get into things—like, towards the end of his life, he was into coffee enemas. This is kind of a weird thing, and maybe something you don’t share with everybody—you’re literally putting coffee in your rectum, and it goes into your colon and all that; and it has all these health benefits. He would share it with everybody. Everywhere we went, he’s talking about these coffee enemas; and he’s talking about, “It should be Folgers in your butt, not Folgers in your cup”; and he’s going to start a coffee chain called Star Butts.
Then, aside from the fun side of him, [there] was just this person who was the biggest presence of love and support that you could really imagine—both of my parents. They never put pressure on me or any of my siblings. I have seven siblings; I’m the youngest. They never put pressure on any of us to live a certain kind of lifestyle. There was an expectation to be kind and to be loving and to be following our passions and our dreams, but there was not an expectation to date a certain kind of person, to go to college or not go to college.
A lot of these pressures that I think people grow up with, we didn’t have that in our family. I knew if I called my dad or my mom with any kind of problem that there would be, first and foremost, a respect for who I am as a person—even if I was just a kid or a teenager. That kind of love and support, I think, fosters somebody in a way that really allows them to flourish.
TS: The love that you and your sister have for your father, that you write about so extensively in The Knowing, it really came through, really came through in a powerful way. Really beautiful.
SD: Thank you. It would be hard for it not to because it’s just so real. When my father passed away on August 30th, I had just been traveling with him in New Zealand and Australia for three weeks, which was such an exciting trip. We just had so much fun, an amazing trip, an amazing time. I saw him speak six or seven times throughout a three-week period. He was just so full of life, and that’s why, when I got the news … I got back, I think, on August 28th. So, on August 30th, I find this out. It was just really hard to believe, because somebody who was so alive and fun, that they’re gone. But we’ve come a long way from there.
TS: You mentioned a little earlier in our conversation that, although his death was a total shock to you when it happened, that in retrospect there were the signs, that perhaps he had some premonition, maybe even semi consciously or unconsciously. Tell me a little bit about that. What gave you that conviction that Wayne knew that he might not be long for this earth?
SD: I could give you two really specific examples that pertain to me, and my siblings have even more. I was in graduate school. I had just started graduate school when my dad passed away. I was actually starting it two days after; my semester was starting September 2nd. He passed away August 30th. I had graduated college and I was going to grad school. I was fortunate, all my siblings were fortunate, to have a family who paid for them to go to college if they wanted to.
My dad also agreed to pay for me to go to graduate school. For all of my siblings, starting from my sister (who’s in her fifties now) down to me, he paid for our tuition in the same way. He would have us write out our budget for one semester (like rent, food, whatever) and then figure out what our tuition would cost; he would give us a check that was supposed to last us the whole semester. He wanted to teach us about budgeting money. [He] said, “I’m not just giving you a credit card that you can swipe and put whatever you want on. You need to at least learn how to manage money if I’m going to pay for it.”
I realize how fortunate we all were to have that; we had this system of doing that. Every September, he would give me a check for the fall semester; and every January, he would give me a check for the winter semester or the spring semester. It was the January before he passed away, I was finishing college and he gave me a check for that semester, as we always did it. I was out in Hawaii, I was visiting him, and he said, “OK, here’s the check. Make sure this lasts you through the summer. And I’ll give you another one in September for grad school.”
I took the check. I said, “Thank you so much.” I went home and I deposited in my account. About a week later, maybe even less, I was back in New York, and he called me, and he sounded like he was in a very serious mood, and he just got straight to the point. He said, “Saje, I just mailed you a check, for all of your remaining semesters for graduate school. I want you to deposit that check, and I want you to make sure that it lasts you. Don’t come to me for more money between now and then.”
We’re talking two and a half years of tuition that he was giving me all at once. It was an insane amount of money. I mean, I went to NYU, it’s not an inexpensive school and he had never done this before. I said, “Dad, wait, that’s got to be so much money. I can’t even fathom accepting that from you right now. Why? Why change it? We’ve been doing it this way for so long.” He said, “If something were to happen to me, I want to know that the promise that I made to put you through graduate school is kept. I won’t be able to sleep at night or to rest, unless I know that you have that money and you can finish your school.”
I fought him on it. I said, “Dad, that’s crazy. Nothing’s going to happen to you. Why are you even talking like that?” I said, “You’re young, you’re healthy.” I said, “I’ll just rip up the check when I get it.” And he said, “Saje, I insist that you deposit that check.” We got off the phone. I called my mom and I thought she was going to take my side and say he’s being crazy or he’s being dramatic. But even she said, “Well, then honey, you better listen to him, deposit the check. Put it in another account if you have to.”
So, I did. I opened a separate checking account. I put the money in a separate checking account because I didn’t want to think I was Miss Money Bags over here and blow through this money. I was in my 20s. I sort of forgot about that. But then for the time being—because, again, this was January or February of 2015; he passed away August of 2015, August 30th. He knew. He had to know. If he hadn’t have given me that money for the tuition, I wouldn’t have had it. I probably would’ve come up with it for a semester, but maybe I wouldn’t have finished grad school because I wouldn’t have wanted to take out student loans.
It’s just to reflect on that, that he knew, that there was a part of him that knew that his time was coming. When I realized that, it actually brought me a great deal of comfort. I mean, it brought a lot of tears to my eyes, but it brought me a lot of comfort and recognizing that everything he spoke about is true. We come here on time and we leave on time. We all come here with a round trip ticket. Nobody gets out alive. When one of us is born or a baby is born, you don’t question at all that they’re born. You say, “How beautiful, the baby is here. Right on time,” but when somebody dies, I think we spend a lot of time saying and thinking, “What if I had done this differently? Or what if he had seen the doctor? What if he wasn’t alone that night?” Or whatever it was.
If it was a car accident, “What if he didn’t get in the car? If I would have gone there first.” But I think this is just a silly exercise, because I think the universe works in perfect, divine timing and order. Realizing that my dad had known somewhere inside of him that his time was coming and that he likely wouldn’t have given me another check for my tuition and living expenses—or maybe he would have given me one more, but then, after that, not—really helped me hone in on that idea that, “OK, this was in divine order.”
TS: You mentioned there were a couple things—it sounds like there was another thing as well. What was the second thing?
SD: The second thing was his last text messages to my sister and I. Like I said, my dad and I spoke on the phone more than we text because he was not technologically savvy. But we did text occasionally, and we had been in Australia. When we were leaving Australia, he was going back to Hawaii, and my sister and I were going back to the East Coast, so we were on different flights. He left that night, and we were leaving in the morning, and he sent a text to my sister—I don’t have it on me right now—but it was basically saying, “I love you guys. I’m so proud of you. I had such a great time,” things like that.
Then he said in there, something along the lines of, “I’m looking forward to some rest from this long eviction. Phase one is now complete.” He sent it in a group text (my sister Skye and I) because we were the ones who were in Australia with him. When I read that, my sister Skye and I were together, and I thought—we both looked at each other and [were] like, “Well, that’s weird. What does he mean?” But we talked about it. We’re like, “Well, he probably means that—” And I’ll give you a little background information. He owned a condo in Maui. That’s where he lived. It was in a condominium building. The building was shut down at the time, because they were replacing all the water pipes so nobody could live there.
For four months he wasn’t able to live in his home, and he was going to be traveling a lot of those four months. In between the traveling he was renting a hotel next door to where his condo was. When I read that, I thought like, “OK, maybe he means looking forward to some rest from this long eviction from my condo,” even though he wasn’t going back to his condo, or this long eviction from Maui, his home, and a place that he really loved. That’s sort of what I chalked it up to mean. And when he said, “Phase one is now complete,” I thought, “Well, he means phase one of—”this was like the Australia-New Zealand tour, then there was going to be a Europe tour. “So, he means phase one of these tours.” And that was that.
But then about 48 hours later, possibly less, he passed away, suddenly. When somebody dies, I think most of us cling to whatever we can from them. I obviously went immediately back to read text messages and emails and anything that I could get that had his spirit in it. And I read those text messages again, and I thought, “Wow, he wasn’t talking about his eviction from Hawaii. I think his higher self was talking about his eviction from God.” Because I had just been with him in Hawaii—I’m sorry, in Australia—hearing him speak at all these events. And he talked so much about death, the beauty of death, how he looks forward to it in a way. Looks forward to it on one hand, but also thinks life is very valuable on the other, but how he looks forward to it because he knows that it’s just this ultimate submersion into love, and beyond-our-wildest-dreams type of love.
I think that that’s what he was referring to in these last written words that he wrote to me before he died, that this was something he was looking forward to. “Phase one is now complete,” I thought, “OK, phase one, what’s phase two?” I was, a couple of weeks later, having a conversation with my dad’s good friend, Dee, who was also his assistant, and very good friend, and coauthor of a book. She was telling me about how they watched this documentary on people who were spending their life in prison, who had lifetime prison sentences.
She said that she asked him, “If you had to choose, would you rather spend your life in jail or die?” [and] that he said, “I would rather my life in jail because all life is valuable, and all life has meaning.” But that, “I look forward to the next phase,” and I said, “Dee, are you sure he used those words, “Next phase”?” And she said, “I’m sure, because I thought about it so much, this paradoxical idea that he valued life so much, but also looked forward to the next phase.”
Then this got me—I mean, I could keep going. This got me on this whole tangent looking into paradoxes, because my dad wrote a book about the Dao; in the introduction—I discovered this a couple of weeks later in the introduction to that book (it’s Change Your Thoughts—Change Your Life)—he talks about how the Dao, if you read it, is basically just one paradox after the other. It’s ideas that conflict, but that you need to approach this—because we come from this Western mind of thinking, and this is more Eastern style thinking—and you need to approach it from the place of paradoxes are not opposite ends; they’re not mutually exclusive ideas; they’re not opposites. They’re, in fact, just different ends of a continuum and they’re necessary components of each other. [It] gives us example of—it’s like, you can desire something. You have a desire and so there’s this idea of desiring. Then there’s this idea of allowing. They seem like opposites; desiring would be thinking about it, getting it, wanting it, doing something about it; allowing would be allowing it to come to you, allowing it to flow.
But, in fact, according to the Dao, these are two things that are necessary components of each other. You have a desire, like you have a desire to go to sleep because you’re tired, and then you get into bed, but then you allow the sleep to come to you. If you sit there and you keep thinking about how badly you want to go to sleep—we’ve all had this experience where sometimes the sleep eludes you—the allowing is a big part of getting what you want, and not just with sleep, with everything in life. You can desire to become a doctor, but it’s not going to happen tomorrow. You have to allow time, and so on.
Dee told me that, about him calling it the next phase. Then I’ve read this about the paradoxes. And I really just thought more and more about these last texts, and thought—he knew his time was coming; he was letting us know phase one is complete—“I’m onto the next phase.”
TS: Interestingly, you mentioned the date August 30th, and you do some interesting forensic work that you share in the book to describe how this date, the date of your father’s death, August 30th, was very significant actually in his personal biography. I’m just sharing this once again with our listeners—I read this book on the anniversary of my father’s birthday. I had a one in 365 chance of that happening. That’s weird. So, I want to hear about the date August 30th, but I also want to understand what you think in general, of these kinds of, we can call them synchronicities.
You mentioned that your father Wayne said that synchronicities are like winks from God. It certainly felt that way to me. I felt like I was getting a wink—feels that way. How do you understand synchronicities? And tell us about the date, August 30th.
SD: Synchronicities. I love synchronicities because I think it’s when you’re aligned, it’s when you’re allowing, it’s when you’re flowing, that things get in sync. It’s like kind of what we were talking about before this, not resisting. When you’re resisting, you get out of sync. My dad was really into that. I was raised on this idea of there’s an energy behind things. Like when you’re called to do something and it’s your passion and it’s your calling, things line up; dormant forces come alive. It just works out for you; it’s meant to be.
When things aren’t meant to be, you’re pushing and you’re forcing, and probably not feeling so synchronistic. I think these ideas all sort of go together. A coincidence is another word that people use for synchronicities. My dad always would say that the word “coincidence” is such a misused word in our society and in our language, because the word “coincide,” it’s a mathematical term, and it refers to two angles that fit together perfectly—they coincide. We’ve taken this word “coincidence” to mean two things that happen accidentally. But in reality, it’s two things that happen perfectly on time.
When you find yourself saying like, “Hmm, is this a funny coincidence?” Don’t question it. It’s not a coincidence. It was perfect. It was synchronistic. You’re in the flow. And yes, like you said, with the numbers, I mean, that’s wild that you read it on your dad’s birthday, and I think the listeners will understand after I share this story. My dad was really into numbers, synchronistic signs with numbers, and I am also. I like numbers. I’ve always been good at math. And my dad loved the number 18.
It’s in a lot of scripture […] It’s one infinite source—the number one, the number eight: it’s the infinity signs. There’s one infinite source, no matter what you want to call it—God, Theos, anything like that, it all comes down to one infinity. That was a powerful number to him. Just to give you a funny example […] he would go for a jog every day and he would time it on his stopwatch on his wrist. At the 18th minute, he would pause in his run, and he would try and get the stopwatch to stop at 18 minutes, 18 seconds and 18 milliseconds. It was just like a fun game he played with himself.
One day he got it; he took a picture of it. He sent it to the whole family, which is a big deal for him, because he wasn’t good at sending pictures. And he just included a funny email that we included in the book, because it showed his funny personality, but also how into numbers he really was. When he died on August 30th, the skeptic in me was like, “Well, if everything he taught and everything that he said is true, then there would be meaning behind the date August 30th.” And I couldn’t figure it out at first. The numbers don’t really add up to anything—8/30. I mean yes, the number eight, but 30; none of it had a lot of meaning.
I asked my dad and the universe, and I prayed, and I said, “Show me the meaning behind why you chose August 30th to leave this earth, and what were you trying to tell us by leaving on that day?” When I discovered what it was, I mean, it was unbelievable. So, after he passed away, I decided to read his book I Can See Clearly Now, which was a memoir—which is also an incredible thing, I’ll just say quickly, because he was writing this memoir when he was like 73 years old. He said, “I’m going to write a memoir.”
Well, first he said he was done writing books, and we thought, “OK, if you want to be done writing books, you’ve been writing your whole life, you deserve to be done.” But ironically, like two days later, he was back at the writing table and he said, “I’m being called to write another book. I can’t believe it. I was done. Here I am taking on a big endeavor.” So, he’s writing; he writes his memoir I Can See Clearly Now. I was out with him in Hawaii when he wrote a lot of this book. So, I felt very called to read it, because I knew how much he put into it to get it done before he left, just a couple years—by the time it came out, within a year.
In the book, he tells a story about how my father’s father, so my grandfather, his name was Melvin Lyle Dyer. My dad never met him. He left when my dad was a baby. My dad had two older brothers and his mother. When his mother came home from the hospital with him, he left within a few weeks. He was an alcoholic and he wasn’t a good father—when he was being a father—but my dad never met him. And as he got older and was a teenager and a young man, he had a lot of anger and resentment towards his father. He said that he used to have nightmares about him, nightmares where he’d be strangling him or beating him up or screaming at him and demanding, “Please, why did you leave me?” Just demanding an explanation. “Why didn’t you ever care to know that you had this son, Wayne?”—and his other two sons.
It tormented him for a lot of his life. And when he was in his 30s, yes, when he was in his early 30s, he—well, sorry, let me backtrack a little. His father was still alive for a period of time, and he was trying to find him, and he was never able to find him.
He even went to his grandmother’s funeral thinking like, “My father won’t miss his own mother’s funeral,” but he didn’t show up. He was never able to find him, and then he learned that he died. He was contacted when he passed away, and he thought it might give him closure, but it didn’t. The dreams didn’t stop. The anger didn’t stop.
Then, when he was in his early 30s, he found out that his father was buried in Biloxi, Mississippi, that he actually had a grave. He didn’t know. Coincidentally, he had a work opportunity in Mississippi, and he was given an opportunity to go down there and do something. They said, “Do you want to take it?” He said yes, because he was looking for an excuse to go to Mississippi anyway, because he wanted to visit his father’s grave.
There was a whole series of crazy coincidences that took place for him to find his father’s grave. [There was] something in the rental car—there was a business card, and the business card happened to be for The Candlelight Inn, which is where his father was buried. All these wild things that—I don’t want to mess up any of the details, so you can find it in I Can See Clearly Now.
I’m reading this book, I’m reading him tell this story, and he goes on to say that he visits—and this is a story that I knew, but there was a part of it I didn’t know. He goes and he finds his father’s grave eventually, and he gets there. His intention is to literally piss on his father’s grave. He’s angry. He wants to get all this anger out and yell and scream at him and condemn him for leaving, and—“How could you do that to a woman at that time? It’s not so easy for a woman to support three children,” and on and on and on. He does that and he gets angry, and he yells at him for an hour or two hours or whatever.
Then he decides, “OK, I did that. Now I’m going to leave.” He was walking away from his father’s grave, and he said that something called him back, something bigger than him said, “No, you need to go back. You can’t leave it at this.” So, he turned around and he walked back to the grave and a feeling of an overwhelming presence, feeling of love, just took over his body. He started crying, and tears were coming down his face, and it came out of nowhere. I mean, he went from having nothing but anger towards this man, to all of a sudden having this loving, loving presence, just like sort of enveloping him.
He felt called to forgive his dad in that moment. And he did, and he said out loud, “Dad, I forgive you.” He said, “From this moment forward, I send you nothing but love.” He said that he then he eventually left, and he carried that feeling of love and forgiveness with him, and that his whole life changed from that point, that his career started to take off. He wrote his first big book. He got into a healthier marriage, and on and on and on. The date that he went to his father’s grave, was August 30th in the 1960s. He says in the book, in his own words, he says, “If you were to ask me the most significant day of my life, and experience of my life, it is the events that took place on August 30th.” I think it was 1967.
I read that and I thought, “Oh my God.” He had this wild experience with his father on August 30th, that shifted his whole relationship with his father, even though his father wasn’t alive, it was still a relationship that he had. It went from one of anger and hate to one of love and forgiveness and really allowed him to flourish into the man that he was meant to be.
I felt like when I contemplated this idea, and when I told my whole family, I said, “I think what he was telling us was August 30th is not the day that your relationship with your father ends, it’s the day that it changes to take on a whole new meaning,” just like it did for him, with his father. And having that realization and a lot of these other realizations that we’ve already talked about, the tuition and the last text, these are what opened my eyes from being the skeptic, to just being a believer and to wanting to continue to foster this relationship that I knew I could have with my dad if I chose to have it. I could choose to just see him as he’s gone, or I could choose to see this as a change in our relationship, and choosing that has made all the difference.
TS: You offer a quote in the book from your father—there’s a lot of great lessons from your father that you weave throughout the whole book—but here’s the quote: “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” And as you were talking about your decision to change the way you looked at your father’s death, I thought of that quote. It seems like that’s a very important teaching for you.
SD: Oh, absolutely. I mean, yes, we write about that a lot in the book. It was a big thing that I learned. Again, this is something I grew up hearing from my dad, is one of his most famous lines: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change,” and it couldn’t be more true. I mean, you can find yourself in any circumstance; it doesn’t have to be death. It can be anything. It can be you lost your job, your marriage broke up, or your relationship, or anything like that. A situation that on the surface seems like it’s just fraught with sadness or grief or anger, and you can decide that “No, losing this job is not going to be me fumbling into nowhere and looking for a job. It’s going to be an opportunity. I wasn’t that happy at that job anyway.”
And just when you can shift your perspective, I mean, it’s like the catalyst that takes a whole new meaning. Your thoughts take on a whole new meaning. They start to just go in a different direction, but I think it does take making a conscious decision to see it differently, to change the way you look at things. Once you make that conscious decision, it sort of unfolds from there.
TS: Now Saje, I want to ask you a super personal question—I hope it’s OK—which is, here we are, we’re having this conversation about your book The Knowing, and really it’s about your life and your relationship with Wayne Dyer, your father. Can you feel him now, right now, as we’re having this conversation? Do you feel a sense of his presence? And, if so, what does that feel like?
SD: I do. And I don’t feel it all the time. I’m not going to say that I do, but I feel it when I’m in alignment. I mean, we talk about this in the book, because we don’t always feel good. Life has ups and downs, but I find that when I am in a state of joy or purpose, that I feel him so much more and I feel a lot of things so much more. And it just feels like a knowing. It just feels like a knowing that in this moment, I would say it feels like pride. My dad, especially my dad—I mean, both my parents—but they always made us feel good about our accomplishments, big and small. And I know that he would be so proud of me in this interview.
I know that he would. And proud of me and Serena for writing this book and sharing his messages and making them our own. I feel that right now; I feel that sort of pride. I write about it in the book […] because people say that “I feel my loved one with me,” or, “I feel my husband,” or, “I feel my son”—or whatever it is—“with me right now.” I always questioned that because I couldn’t imagine—how do you know that you feel them? I had an experience where I felt my dad for the first time, a couple months after he passed away, where I just knew he was with me in that moment. I couldn’t explain how I knew. When you know someone your whole life, you know what their love feels like, and that feeling is the same, when they leave, you just start to feel their love.
I think there are ways to sort of harness that ability, to tap into that, and I think they are through meditation, like I was saying before. Because when you meditate, you slow down your mind. Our minds can be going, going, going, going, going. It leaves no space for your loved ones to have you feel them, or to sort of speak to you, because sometimes—and this might sound crazy to some people—but I feel like I hear my dad speaking to me in my thoughts.
The way that I can differentiate it from my thoughts to him speaking to me is, I wouldn’t refer to myself as “Honey.” I don’t talk to myself that way in my head. I’ve had a few experiences like that where I feel like he is speaking to me or even just joking with me, but it doesn’t happen when I’m go, go, go, go, go, or when I’m really upset or really fixated on something; it happens when I’m a slowed down a little bit, more in tune with the moment. And how do you slow down? For me, it’s meditation, because that’s the whole point of meditation, is slowing your thoughts down, stopping your thoughts if you can, if you’re that well practiced into it.
I think that it’s like it’s the space between the notes, is where the magic happens. It’s the space between these thoughts that allows for you to know these sorts of things, that your loved one is with you right now, or speaking to you.
TS: I want to talk to that person who’s listening, who is like, “OK, I’m going to open up a little bit more, but truth be told I have yet to have an experience of this person who’s passed, that I could call a knowing. I can’t call it a knowing, I haven’t had that experience yet. And I’ve already learned some things from this conversation: slowing down, opening up, you mentioned talking directly, asking for a sign.” Anything else that might invite that kind of knowing into the listener’s life?
SD: Yes. I mean, I think you just summarized a lot, because I don’t think it’s one way. I think it’s a shift. It started for me when I surrendered to what was, when I stopped fighting and resisting, because when you lose somebody, I think it’s just natural for your conscious and subconscious mind to resist it. I can’t tell you how many dreams I had where I would find my dad and he would be alive. I would say, “Oh my God, everyone thinks you’re dead.” Or I would have a dream where if he just did this, he didn’t have to die. I mean, I don’t have them anymore, but at the beginning it was nightly. Dreams about Dad, convincing him not to die, discovering that he wasn’t dead. And it’s because I hadn’t accepted it. To me, death meant bad, meant to the end.
It was when I started to contemplate this idea of death as not being the end, as not being bad, but as just being part of life. When I surrendered to the circumstances that I was in—because we’re in them regardless. There was nothing I could do to bring him back. And [it] got to the point where I just said, “I need to stop resisting this. I need to stop fighting it. There’s nothing I can do to change it.” Look, let me just say, grief is important and it’s real, and feeling what you feel is so important. Feel what you’re feeling, have the tears and the sadness.
I’m not saying you need to just feel joyful right away. But having the awareness that it’s also OK to feel joyful and to surrender to the experience that you’re in, I think opens the door for these experiences, signs and so on. When you read our book, you’ll see. I’ve barely, I think, touched the iceberg of what we go into in the book (and I can’t believe we’re coming up on an hour here), but I think it’s quieting the mind, it’s asking your loved ones to give you a sign, to let them know that they’re with you, a sign that you can’t doubt. Not something like—I’ve got a lot of feather signs from my dad—but you can find yourself questioning feather signs, things like that. Or it’s just having some of these knowings, ask for them, quiet your mind, surrender to whatever the circumstances are that you’re in and ask.
TS: What’s a sign that you got after your father’s death that you couldn’t doubt, not a feather, but something else, when you were like, “OK, I can’t doubt that one.”
SD: I’ll try and make this one quick. When we were traveling throughout Australia and New Zealand, my dad’s publishing company was Hay House, and they put that trip on. It was a Hay House Speaking Tour. They paid for my sister Skye and I to go with him, and they paid first class for the whole trip. It was incredible. I’ve never flown first class and international first class—it’s really the way to go. It’s laid down flat beds, it’s meals and champagne and more nuts and towels, PJs, the whole thing.
My dad loved to tease us about this first class. He would say like, “Do not get used to this first-class treatment,” or he would be sitting in our beds and he would say like, “Oh, are you enjoying yourself over there with your blanket and your comforter and your warm nuts, and your champagne?” He loved to just tease us with stuff like that. It was a big theme of this trip, this first-class treatment that we were getting.
After he passed away, when he passed away, he was in Hawaii. I was in New York. I immediately flew to Florida, but then about a week later, we decided as a family to go to Maui, and Serena and her husband had a baby, six months old, or around six months old, or actually less, like four months old. They decided to book first class because of having the baby and whatever. Serena tried to convince me to upgrade my ticket to first class—we were on a different flight than the rest of my family.
I told her that I was definitely not doing that because it was not in the budget, and I was like, “I could sleep standing up right now. I’m so tired.” I hadn’t been sleeping well in those early days. I said, “I’m not doing it.” I knew she wanted me in first class. I knew she wanted me near them so I would take care of her baby for her. I said, “No, I’d rather be back in coach without a baby.” When we got to the airport in the morning, Serena and Matt, her husband, checked in for their flight and they were on a different reservation than me. And she’s taking her ticket and saying, “Oh, aren’t you jealous? Seat three,” or whatever.
Oh, just one more thing. When we were in Australia, when we were doing all these first-class seats, my dad told us that his travel agent knew to always give him seat 2B, because he just liked to make the joke, “Am I in seat 2B or not 2B?” So, in most of these flights, he was in seat 2B.
Fast forward back to we’re checking in for this flight to Maui. They check in, they get their seats. I go to check in, they do the whole thing and the flight attendant, the employee hands me my ticket. She says, “Enjoy first class.” And she said, “Here’s your license. Here’s this, that, the other. Enjoy first class.”
And I just stood back for a second. I was like, “First class? Do I say something? I didn’t book first class. I didn’t pay for first class.” So, I just sort of backed away slowly and went up to Serena and was like, “I’m in first class. I don’t know how that happened. Did you upgrade me?” She was like, “No, I didn’t upgrade you.”
We were flying on an airline, Virgin Atlantic, or Virgin America. I had never flown on it before. It’s not like I would’ve gotten upgraded or something like that. I looked at my ticket and it was seat 2B. And I felt like, I mean, I knew in that moment that my dad had done something to make that happen, however you could do that from the other side. I started crying because I felt like what he was saying to me was, “I’m always taking care of you, I’ll always take care of you,” because there was a big part of me in those early days—I was 25, I was the youngest of my siblings—I felt like, “How could you leave me when I still had so much left of my like formative years?”
I wasn’t married, I didn’t have kids. I just felt like I still needed him. So, I had a lot of this sort of anger towards him that I had to deal with of “How could you leave me when I still need you to take care of me a little bit? I’m 25, I’m not a child, but I’m not fully an adult. I’m not on my own.” And I felt like in that moment, that’s what he was telling me: “I’m always taking care of you.”
TS: Beautiful. What a great story Saje, 2B or not 2B. And you clearly got the seat that says “2B!” I’ve been speaking with Sage Dyer along with her sister, Serena Dyer Pisoni. They have written a beautiful new book, heart-expanding book. It’s called The Knowing: 11 Lessons to Understand the Quiet Urges of Your Soul. Saje, thank you so much. Thank you for being with us on Insights at the Edge.
SD: Thank you. Thank you for having me, Tami.
TS: Thank you for listening to Insights at the Edge. You can read a full transcript of today’s interview at soundstrue.com/podcast. And, if you’re interested, hit the subscribe button in your podcast app. Also, if you feel inspired, head to iTunes and leave Insights at the Edge a review. I love getting your feedback, being in connection with you, and learning how we can continue to evolve and improve our program. Working together, I believe, we can create a kinder and wiser world. SoundsTrue.com: waking up the world.