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    Once we open the door to “fabulousness,” however briefly, we can never be the same.

Start: If you haven’t heard of the The Secret by this time, you’ve managed to successfully avoid popular culture for nearly three years now.

(You’ll have to tell us your secret.)

Needless to say, we’ve all heard of The Secret, the inspirational movie that tells us we can create the lives of our dreams, and explains the keys to make it happen, a movie which has sold by the millions on DVD. Most likely you either thought there was something to it, that it was New Age Woo Woo, or that it was Twenty-First Century snake oil.

Or, you’re in the handful that either swears by it or takes it for granted because you’re already doing it.

This is a suceessful popularization of the “The Law of Attraction,” of course, the metaphysical principle underlying how Life works, of bringing into manifestation the things on which we focus our attention.

There are many sources who can speak to this with real authority. If you seriously want to learn more about this, I suggest you seek one of them out.

Alas … I am not one of them.

I’ve heard about this for many years, called by different names. This, of course, was the “message between the lines” Napoleon Hill hinted at repeatedly in his classic Think and Grow Rich. The Unity School of Christianity calls it “co-creating with God.” Louise Hay applies this thinking to the health of the body and the “metaphysical causations” that are associated with illnesses.

Is it true?

I believe it is.

Am I successful at making it work the way I want?

In a word, no.

In two words, not yet. But I think I can be.

Let Me Tell You a Story …

My wife and I caught the February 8, 2007, installment of The Oprah Winfrey Show that featured several of the key players of the movie — Rhonda Byrne, James Arthur Ray, Lisa Nichols, and Michael Beckwith. We were impressed. Perhaps it was simply a matter of timing, but at that stretch in my life I was beginning to embrace the idea that I am totally responsible for my life and that my life is what I make it. In several ways my life was a mess, at that point, so it took a bit of fortitude to buy into the idea. The payoff, of course, is that I can make it better.

My wife in fact bought into it far better than I did.

Let me give you some context. My wife, Gayle, is disabled. She has chronic rheumatoid arthritis and, on top of this, has a lower back issue that makes it impossible for her to sit for long periods of time. She deals with an enormous amount of pain constantly, some days much more so than others. We sleep in separate rooms because, due to the medications and the pain, her sleep patterns are frequently out of kilter. Yet somehow she’s able to find a core of happiness or contentment that allows her to keep smiling, keep sane, and keep moving forward.

The morning after that Oprah episode (it was a day off for me) she came into the living room, where I was busy at the computer.

“Well, good morning,” I said. “How’re you doin’?”

“I’m fabulous!”

Normally it was okay enough, okay, or on one of the better days pretty good.

I stared at her blankly for a moment.

“Don’t you get it?” she insisted. “I’m fabulous!”

It felt a little like a Bob Newhart moment. “Fabulous,” I repeated pensively. Then. trying to get into the swing of it, I said, “and I’m excellent.”

(I wasn’t particularly convincing.)

(And, actually, I said “I’m exemplary,” which sounds kind of snooty, doesn’t it?)

Then it clicked. There was an undertone of willfulness to her attitude, not unlike the “faith by strength of will” I’d seen in Christians I’d known through my life.

I’m afraid all I could say for a moment was, “oh.” And then I thought: Who knows? Who am I to dismiss this? Maybe she can make it work.

And she did.

The suggestion had come her way that, on her good days, she could volunteer at a nearby elementary school, giving one-on-one help for children as they worked with their reading. The elementary school was about a half-mile away, a strenuous effort for her on her better days, and impossible on others.

She had thought about seeing how hard it would be to walk it, the first logical step in considering to try it on a regular basis.

Despite my concerned protestations, she did it, and made it back without any real difficulty.

Still feeling fabulous! she wanted to go out and have a good time. At the time, she enjoyed playing nickels at a casino chain that caters to the locals, and normally would drop about sixty a session. (Yes, this annoys me, but how can I begrudge something she obviously enjoys so much, especially when she can’t do it very often?)

She rarely wins, and never wins six hundred — like she did that day.

So, for a short stretch, we were Mr. Excellent and Mrs. Fabulous!

However, in only a couple of days Gayle wasn’t fabulous any more. The magic that was shoring her up caved in, and she was pretty much her old self again. Having the “magic touch” dissipate so quickly was disheartening to her, and set us both back a little, but the reality of the experience remains.

Skeptical of the Skeptics

Most skeptics would deny there was any cause and effect relationship between my wife being exposed to the Law of Attraction through The Secret and her subsequent … fabulousness! … and would dismiss this episode as coincidence.

Well, I for one dismiss the skepticism. I don’t believe in coincidence. I feel what happened is that Gayle had a little peek at the potential we all have inside, and was able to feel it more deeply than most people do. Then the terrible self-doubts and limiting thoughts that tear us down from the inside out reasserted themselves, and she became a mere mortal again.

If that line of thinking is correct, and if we can eliminate those inner demons, all that will be left is Heaven.

Sounds pretty darned exemplary to me.

One Last Note …

One last note about The Secret: We did buy it shortly afterwards, though I found The Secret’s home site, actually was an obstacle to purchasing it. The site wouldn’t allow me to get to a products page without registering for (an admittedly free) membership. Incensed, I found it on and bought it there. The site would have gotten my money, but that wasn’t enough — they wanted some kind of personal information out of me in the process, which I feel confident would be used to attempt to sell me other products, and in turn be sold to others so that they could do the same.

Sorry. I have a “no soliciting” sign on my door for a reason.

It is only natural the “big money” attitude that has engulfed The Secret would tend to undermine the message, but in all fairness, the messenger, not the message, is what is at fault. The hype and ostentatious display that surrounds the Outwardly Successful can’t help but betray an inner poverty, and the fact that the key players of The Secret allow this money machine to develop around them reveals something about their natures that is, in my humble opinion, less than … exemplary.

I do feel the basic message is sound. It is a perennial message, and will surface again and again in countless forms into the far future, until there is no longer any need for help to understand it.

In our own way, Mr. Excellent and Mrs. Fabulous! will keep working toward our fulfillment, and we have the faith that we will someday make “The Secret” really work for us.

And if we become wildly successful, we’ll make sure to have our administrative assistant let you know.

(And call us — we’ll do lunch.)


Copyright © 2007-2009, by Daniel Brenton. All Rights Reserved.

This article is revised from a previous version (no longer available) which was published on this site, June 5, 2007.