In my counseling practice, I always had a few gay men. And when AIDS came out, it terrified everybody on Earth. I remember one of these men called me and said, “Louise, would you be able to start a little group for people with AIDS.” I didn’t know what to say. What did that mean? Okay, I told him. “Let’s meet.”

So the next week six young men came to my house. This took place in 1983. And we talked about releasing resentment and forgiveness and how to love yourself. I didn’t know exactly what we were going to do, but I knew what we were not going to do: Play “Ain’t It Awful!”  We were going to take a positive approach and we would see what would happen. So we talked, we sang, we did a meditation and then they went home. The next morning, one of the men called me up and said, “Louise, this is the first time I slept in four months.”

The next week, we had 12 people. The following week, we had 20. It just kept growing and growing. When it got to be 90 people, my living room couldn’t hold everyone. So we managed to find a gymnasium in West Hollywood who accepted us. We went from 90 to 150 the first night there. And then it kept doubling and doubling until they couldn’t hold us. Finally, the City of West Hollywood gave us space so we could meet every Wednesday night. It got to a point where we had almost 800 people every week.

During these Wednesday night groups, I would ask the following questions every few months: Why do you think AIDS is on the planet? and Why do you think you got AIDS? The answers were often: It has given me a chance to love myself, Now I know how loved I am, I am finding my spiritual pathway, I needed to change my life in every area, I had to learn that people cared. Or as one person put it, When I was well, I was really sick. Now that I’m sick, I feel well for the first time in my life.

One person felt so strongly about this that he wrote a letter to his AIDS, and gave me a copy. This is what it said:

7-22-87

Dear AIDS,

For so long now I’ve been angry with you for being a part of my life. I feel like you have violated my being. The strongest emotion thus far in our relationship has been anger!

But now I choose to see you in a different light. I no longer hate you or feel angry with you. I realize now that you have become a positive force in my life. You are a messenger who has brought me a new understanding of life and myself. So for that I thank you, forgive you, and release you.

Never before has anyone given me such great opportunity. You don’t know how much you have given me. You have given me the push I needed to take a look at my life, see the problems and find the solutions. I now realize all the choices that I have in life.

Because of you I have learned to love myself, and as a result I love and am loved by others. I am now in touch with parts of my being that I never knew existed. I have grown spiritually and intellectually since your arrival. I have become a loving, honest, and caring person. So again I thank you for giving me this opportunity to have insight into my life. How could I not forgive you, when so many positive experiences have come from your visit?

But you have also led me to the realization that you have no power over me. I am the power in my world. So since I forgive you, I will now release you from my life.

I accept and love myself just as I am. I am healing, and I accept perfect health and energy as the way for me. Again I thank you, forgive you, and release you from my life.

With love,

Paul

There is always a choice of love or fear. If we choose fear and the alienating behavior that goes with it, we go down the tubes. It is up to us. The future is ours. If we choose love and the opportunities it offers us, we will be able to heal ourselves and the whole planet.

Let’s affirm:

Today is another precious day on earth. We shall live it with joy. We accept this gift with gratitude and joy. We realize that we have no time to waste on living in the past. So we go within, and seeing with eyes of love, we seek out all the dark corners where pain and fear dwell. We no longer choose to put up with these old handicaps. We move into our heart space, and we bring the abundant light of love we carry within us. We allow this love, which sees without judgment or expectation, to flood our body, our mind, our consciousness. This light of love shines on and dissolves all that is unlike itself. We are willing to release all old garbage. It has no life of its own; it has no truth in it. It is only an old memory that no longer exists, disappearing from our lives. We are one with the power that created us.

We are safe, and all is well in our world.

In 1986, Louise established The Hay Foundation, which continues to offer to support to various AIDs organizations and charities. For more details, click here. For more information about World Aids Day, click here.

Portions of this article were excerpted from The AIDS Book: Creating a Positive Approach by Louise L. Hay. Copyright © 1988 (Hay House).

Louise Hay, the author of the international bestseller You Can Heal Your Life, is a metaphysical lecturer and teacher with more than 50 million books sold worldwide. For more than 30 years, she has helped people throughout the world discover and implement the full potential of their own creative powers for personal growth and self-healing. She has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and many other TV and radio programs both in the U.S. and abroad.