By Lori Porter
Acorn Staff Writer
Many people come to the United States to discover the American dream. One such person is Geela, who goes by her first name only, and who immigrated here 25 years ago from Israel to pursue her dream of a musical career.
She had no idea that her journey would lead to finding the truth about the original American Dream.
Geela, called "the healing goddess of Pop" by the media, will sign copies of her best-selling new book, "The American Dream," on Jan. 26 at Barnes & Noble in the Thousand Oaks Promenade.
Geela lives in Westlake Village with her husband, John Parish, and her 11-year-old daughter, Ashley.
As "The American Dream" begins, Geela talks about her passion and talent for singing and how she wanted to make that her career. She came to Hollywood when she was 19 years old. She’d left her hometown of Tal-Mond, a small seaside village in Israel where televisions, telephones and shopping malls were scarce.
The contrast between Hollywood and Tal-Mond during the late ’70s was a culture shock for the young immigrant. She questioned her dreams after witnessing much corruption, such as record producers making promises to her in exchange for sexual favors.
Through it all, Geela held onto the integrity she inherited from her parents.
"The American Dream" includes many inspirational adages from her father, such as "Wisdom is like money in the bank." Geela took those words to heart while struggling to make it in America.
Determined to fight obstacles such as low-paying jobs, an unreliable car and criticism for her accent, Geela pressed on and finally saw the fruit of her labor when a record deal came her way.
But her luck seemed to change for the worse when she was thrown from her car during a collision. Geela discovered her significance in the world after miraculously walking away from the auto accident without a scratch. She vowed thereafter that she would use her gift of music to benefit others and help them realize their American dream.
"My message is about why the American dream has failed us," Geela said. "We’ve been brainwashed to believe in an illusion. The original American dream was about work ethics birthed out of individual needs. But now need has turned into greed."
In Geela’s book, she describes America as a nation of producers that has turned into a nation of consumers. She writes that corrupt companies such as Enron have turned "heroes into zeros."
The book has drawn critical praise.
"Geela’s journey is a testament to how the human spirit can triumph over adversity with courage and unshakeable faith," said co-creator of "Chicken Soup for the Soul" Mark Victor Hansen. "It should be savored by anyone who wishes to experience a richer, fuller life."
Though many "self-help" books include lists and give specific directions on how to improve your life, Geela’s book tells more of a personal story, including one chapter outlining her "Principles for Successful Living."
These principles are based on the premise that people are spiritual beings in a physical world who fail because they pursue the illusion of materialism. Geela’s principles reveal why many successful people remain unhappy.
The author says success and happiness comes when people give a portion of their riches to others in need. But Geela emphasizes that "riches" don’t always equal money.
Someone can be rich in compassion, Geela said. But if they never share their wealth, they’ll become miserable.
Some of Geela’s insights challenge popular fundamental thought such as "Money is the root of all evil." Geela disagrees. She said she believes money is the root of all potential. Life, she says, is all about balance.
Geela and her husband are the founders of Global Vision Media as well as a nonprofit organization called One Spirit, One World, whose purpose is to promote world peace and benefit humanity, especially in regards to children.