The conversation I recently had with Serena Dyer was beautiful, open and very natural in so many ways. People who know Serena Dyer also know that she’s the daughter of the internationally renowned author and speaker Wayne Dyer. But I connected with a real and vulnerable Serena and not ‘just’ the daughter of Wayne Dyer.
Co-authored with her dad, Serena has written a book called Don’t Die with Your Music Still In You, the book is about growing up in a spiritual environment and what she has learned about self-worth and following her dharma. Serena’s book will be coming out in Spring 2014, so it was a bit too early to discuss her story in detail but we did speak about what it is like to be raised by spiritual parents (and I learned some more interesting facts about her parents) but also about how to find your self love.
Soul Love: Everyone who knows you, also knows that Wayne Dyer is your dad, but what many people don’t know is that Marcelene is your mom. What was it like to be raised by two spiritual oriented parents of which one is world famous and traveling a lot?
Serena Dyer: I would say that my mom’s spirituality is in a lot of ways more innate than my dad’s. I think that my dad has overcome a lot in his life and those lessons that he has taken, have taught him to be more compassionate, more loving and more understanding. My mom is innately that way.
My dad started out with a very different message and now he is just infused with this idea that we are all coming from divine love, so his whole message is about divine, spiritual love. But it wasn’t always that message – before that, it was more about motivation, about achieving and about letting go of the ego.
My mom always was this person that was filled with divine love, she offered it to everyone, she always had this angelic quality about her. She also never drank alcohol, never did drugs, doesn’t even drink coffee and she’s always been in tune with nature and doing what is natural and what feels good. My mom always was so much the spiritual leader in the household. My dad has been that way too but just differently.
My parents are technically married but they have been separated for over 12 years now and in this period they also see other people, like my mom has had the same boyfriend for twelve years now, but what is really neat to see is that they have become closer and closer friends. This can only take place when you have two people that are really committed to live in a spiritual practice. I would therefore say that both of my parents have always been very spiritual, but my mom has always been very natural about it, where my dad had to learn some of these lessons more on his own I think.
Being raised like that is just a really beautiful and safe experience because it is very special that when you’re young and you have two people that tell you over and over again “I love you, no matter what – you can be a painter, scientist or a rollerblader and it is not going to make any difference what you do because who I love is not what you do. Who I love is who you are”. This made me feel that I wanted to offer that same accepting love to other people that I have met.
I have definitely struggled with it at times too because even though you have parents that are very spiritual, you still have to learn to love yourself in that way. You can have great parents, you can have abusive parents, you can have mediocre parents and you can have no parents – unless you learn to offer that same unconditional love toward yourself, you will struggle with that and I think everybody does at different points in their lives.
“I do think that out of personal struggles, we grow and learn the most and life does become more beautiful”.
SL: Do you think that your experience is similar to what so many kids feel when they grow up, or do you think that this feeling is also related to way your parents raised you?
Serena: I sometimes think that it was a bit of both but also definitely related to the way I was raised. I am 28 now and as a teenager I didn’t have any of those struggles – I was very confident, I was very comfortable with who I was and I felt very safe in my skin. It was really more in my early to mid twenties that I really struggled and I think it was because I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with my life and with my career, like a lot of people in their 20’s, 30’s or even any age at times are not sure. I always had this sense of identity from being a student. When you say “I am in college” people respect that and you have an identity from that. The pressure of “what do I do” didn’t really exist for me because I was a student, that was it, that was fine.
As soon as I graduated and I wasn’t doing anything necessarily, I felt like I was nothing. So who I was, was so wrapped up in what I did but at the same time I had parents that had taught me this idea that I create my own reality, that I create my own life and that I am responsible for the things that happen in my life because I align with them – my thoughts create what my existence is. I think that is a lot of pressure, because having that awareness, it’s like “Shoot I am not doing anything but I know better. I know that I shouldn’t be beating myself up over it, I know I should be accepting of it and just focusing on getting beyond this stuck period but I am not able to do that”.
Sometimes I think that having very aware parents that taught me that my thoughts create my reality, made me feel guilty at times, because I knew better. And I felt that if you know better you should do better and I wasn’t really capable at that time of doing better. I was enjoying being depressed and being stuck and I was not really willing to get myself out of it and I wanted other people to pull me out. I think that a lot of people struggle with that but for me ‘knowing that I was creating it’ made it even harder to stop.
SL: What would you want to tell teenagers about finding their purpose?
Serena: You don’t have to necessarily quit your job. If you work at a pizza restaurant, but you really want to write music, I would say “You don’t have to quit what you are currently doing to be able to do what you’re passionate about”. If you have to support yourself and this restaurant is supporting you then let’s just leave that piece alone for right now. But I would say that if music is what you’re passionate about, then make music your life and making the pizzas just the thing that keeps you afloat until music can become your life. I don’t think it is necessarily bad to do the typical responsible thing if you can figure out how to make what you’re passionate about, work for you as well.
SS: You once wrote: “One of the biggest lessons I have learned from Oprah Winfrey is that of setting your intentions, becoming what it is you want to attract (not just asking for it), and then most important, letting go”. When I read that, I was kind of surprised because I thought that your own dad would have taught you that already a long time ago.
Serena: I always say this to people when they find out that I never really read any of my dad’s books: “If you’re dad was let’s say Mick Jagger, would you play his CD’s in your car on your way to work?” Probably not because you hear it all the time at home. Even though I might have a dad that’s teaching these lessons and goes out into the world to spread this very message, sometimes hearing it from somebody else has more of an impact. It’s like you can raise your children with these same ideas but maybe if they hear my dad say it, it might be more impactful just like if I heard you say it it might be more impactful than hearing my own dad say it.
The way Oprah has inspired me personally is that she created her own lifestyle brand that never really existed before. What I like so much about her is that she knew what she liked, which was to be around people, to talk to people and to talk about ideas and to tell stories. But there isn’t really a career path that fits into that and she created it for herself. She then taught other people how to do the same thing and that’s what I like so much. My dad has done that in a way too, but what I said, I hear my dad all the time.
SL: In the spring of 2014 you will publish your own book called: “Don’t Die With Your Music Still In You” (click the book to pre-order). I know that this is also your dad’s favourite quote, but can you explain to me what this title means to you?
Serena: The title means for me that we all come here with a physical body where everything is taken care of – even the bodies that don’t come here looking like everybody else’s body, that’s part of that person’s individual journey – so I believe that we come here with the physical body provided for us and we incarnate into this body and I am this person.
I also write about my belief that there’s a purpose for us, it is something our soul comes here to experience, that is my belief. Whether you choose to follow that calling or not is really the biggest choice in your life – Do I go after my purpose, my dharma, what I feel I came here to do, to learn, to teach, to spread, to be part of, or do I live somebody else’s life?
Not dying with the music still in you, means not dying having lived somebody else’s life, not dying and having served pizza’s in stead of writing music. We all have a calling, we all have a purpose and that purpose could literally be anything in the world. It doesn’t have to mean making a lot of money, it doesn’t have to mean having fame or a great deal of success but we have something that excites our soul that we feel called to do.
My greatest fear in life is to not play the music that I came here to play, but I think that I am on the right path because it excites me. It gives me this excited feeling and that’s how I know that it works for me. I can’t wait sharing my story with the world!
Thank you Serena Dyer, for this awesome conversation, I really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to read your book!
Visit Serena’s website: SerenaDyer.com
INTERVIEW BY: DIRK TERPSTRA – SOUL LOVE FOUNDER
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