The Day I met Elizabeth Gilbert (and a story about Magic you will have to read to believe)

The Day I met Elizabeth Gilbert (and a story about Magic you will have to read to believe)

A wise yoga instructor of mine said that micro movements over time bring massive change.

(I’m going to give you a minute to let that one sink in)

Micro movements over time will bring massive change.

That very rule of law is how someone can go from flabby to buff in seemingly no time at all, from uneducated to world scholar in just a few years, from not being able to speak a language to having total mastery over it after a single summer spent in a country where that language is the mother tongue.

As I let the weight of my instructor’s words wash over me, she had more wisdom to share. She asked us to move into a pose, but as she did, she said, “Move at your own pace.”

Not something we haven’t heard before in a yoga class, right? And probably something we’ve casually ignored as we – instead – moved at the pace of the rest of the class (I can’t be the only one to have had that experience….can I?).

She went on to say:

Move into this post at your own pace. Not at the pace of the person next to you. Not at the pace of the rest of the class. At your own pace. How many of us walk around our lives, moving at the pace of those around us rather than at that of our own? How many of us don’t even actually know what our own pace is? We get texts and emails and social media notifications and we feel this intense pressure and need to answer them right away.


Does answering your phone right away suit your pace? Does it work for you and your flow, for you and the micro movements you are upholding to help you bring massive change into your life?

This question struck me, because as a recovering people pleaser, moving at anything but my own pace is practically my own rule of law. I have spent a lifetime moving at other people’s pace, and it has certainly been made much, much worse with the dawn of the smartphone and social media.

It has also gotten more intense and out of balance since becoming a mother. I don’t think a single parent can say that yes, their pace does indeed involve waking up at all hours of the night, not getting to eat when they feel like it, or not getting to do virtually anything they feel like doing it at the time they feel like doing it anymore.

And you know what? I’ve been using that excuse for a very long time. Two years, and almost two months, actually. And while it’s a good one, it’s not working for me anymore.

So last weekend, at the advice of my dear yoga instructor and at the insistence of my soul, I spent the weekend away from my daughter and husband for the first time in over two years. I packed up my things and hopped in my car for a lovely ride to Arizona so I could attend a workshop called True Magic: Your Life Beyond Limitations with the wonderful Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love, The Signature of All Things, Big Magic, and other wonderful works of fiction and non fiction) and Martha Beck (a life coach and author of Finding your Own North Star, Diana Herself, and another host of other best selling self help books). I wasn’t sure what to expect, but when I saw the announcement posted about it a few months back, something told me to sign up. Something other than my conscious mind. What was that something? I don’t know. Magic, I guess. My conscious mind would never have been so ballsy as to take a weekend away from my family and in such an extravagant way.

Cut to the conference. It was much bigger than I expected it to be, by about six hundred people. I was thinking it would be more intimate, and not so separated as it was (Liz and Martha stayed on stage, and we sat in chairs, as one does in a large hotel conference room, uncomfortable and having to watch the speakers on the big screen because they were too far away to make out in the flesh).

My friend, Adam, is a friend of Liz’s, and before I left for the weekend, I asked him if I should bake something for her and Martha (I have a tendency to always bring a hostess gift wherever I go. It’s the Canadian, daughter-of-a-flight-attendant in me. And also – I just like to make people feel special. And when you bake for someone, that’s exactly how you make them feel). Adam said that I absolutely should bake something, and that Liz would love it.

So the night before I left, I made a batch of my famous grainless granola, split it into two bags, and signed two copies of my cookbook to accompany the gift. I set out on my seven hour road trip, and arrived to the not-so-intimate conference.

There didn’t seem to be an opportunity to get anywhere close to Martha or Liz. They would appear on stage from a black curtain behind it, do their workshop (which was fabulous, I must say), and then disappear behind the curtain before anyone could approach them. Makes sense. Six hundred people is a lot of people to manage. Too many, in fact. That’s 1200 hands to shake. No thank you.

The morning of the first full day, I approached the organizer and MC of the conference at breakfast. I told her about my gift and asked if she would mind passing it along.

“Sure!” she said, “Why don’t you find me later and I’ll pass it along then.”

She left me standing there with my bag – heavy with books and granola (and water and my journal) – slowing weighing a dent into my bare right shoulder.

Ok, I thought to myself. That was a little weird but I’ll find her later!

So I found this woman later. I really wanted to get the granola to the intended parties, because I wanted them to have it as fresh as possible, and for breakfast the following morning. So I approached the leader of the conference again about six hours later.

“Hi! I have the books and granola for you!” I said excitedly.

“Great!” she said with fake enthusiasm, shoeing me off as if I was some kind of obnoxious mosquito as she walked away. Empty handed. Again.

This was beginning to feel ridiculous. And the old people pleasing voice in my head was starting to feel dejected and wanting say, “Listen, lady! I’m not a crazy person! I’m not a doting fan! I’m just a person trying to give these women a gift in gratitude for their time. That’s all!”

I really hadn’t intended to bring these cookbooks and granola for Martha and Liz as a way to brown nose. I genuinely just wanted them to have it, because I wanted to thank them for creating the space for us to do this work together, and my thank you’s usually come with baked goods, for goodness’ sake!

Feeling annoyed but trying to brush it off, I took my seat for the afternoon session with Martha. During her talk about how to find magic and follow it to your north star, Martha told us a story of how she got out of a ticket once, simply by repeating, “I like you, and you like me” about the cop who was approaching her car to give her a ticket for talking on her cell phone.

When the officer arrived at her window, Martha rolled it down.

“Do you know why I pulled you over?” he asked.

“No,” she said, “I was just trying to find an address!”

He paused for a beat. And then he said this:

“I’ll take you there,” and proceeded to walk back to his car and escort her to the address. Not a word about the cell phone. Not a word about a ticket. Not so much as a lecture.


As she stared into the sea of surprised faces after she told the story, Martha said, “I don’t know why this works, people! I just know that it does!”

(Actually, it works because of a scientific phenomenon called fractaling, which I’ll share more with you in later posts. It’s basically like the law of attraction on steroids).

She went on:

“If there is something you want to happen, have your people talk to their people, and it will probably come to fruition,” she said, along with a lot of other things I couldn’t possibly capture in one blog post.

I wasn’t super convinced, but I was sort of convinced. Because – as I’m sure you’ve experienced before – I’ve had those moments where I was thinking that I should call someone and they called. Or where I was thinking about a song and then it came on the radio. Those moments feel like magic. We brush them off as coincidences. But could there be more to it? Could it truly be magic? Or rather, the result of what happens when we fractal (aka attract) something we really want to happen?

I wasn’t sure, but I was willing to have an open mind. So as I went to bed that night – the granola and books now burning holes into my bag, almost mocking me as they stared at me from the floor (yes, they have eyes, and yes they stared) – I decided to play the game.

“Hey my people?” I said out loud, “Can you tell Martha and Liz’s people that I have a gift for them, and that I don’t need to meet them, but I’d love the opportunity to get this gift to them? Thanks.”

Then I went to sleep.

I woke up at 7:30am and decided to go for a run. It being Arizona, it was already 94F. But I ran anyway. And then I decided to go for a swim. Now, for reasons not appropriate to share publicly, there was no reason I should have been in a bathing suit that morning. In fact, I had every reason not to be (and no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the shape of my body). But I got the message: I must swim.

I walked into the pool area and saw four people: two in the pool, and two on lawn chairs sitting by the pool quite far away from each other.

One of them had short blonde hair and was wearing a red dress.

And that one was Elizabeth Gilbert.


Are you effing kidding me? I thought to myself.

But then the Canadian, too-polite voice came in and said, “You can’t bother her now! She’s writing! It’s sacred! And she’s trusting you not to bother her! Don’t even think about interrupting her.”

So I didn’t. I went for a swim, and played around like a child in the water (I love water). And the longer I swam, the more it dawned on me:

“Lauren, you idiot! You asked your people to have her people tell her that you had a gift for her. And now you’re going to squander the opportunity they have graciously given you? Um, I don’t think so.”

(Does everyone have conversations like this in their heads or is it just me? If it’s just me, we probably shouldn’t be friends anymore…or you can just accept me and all my crazy…that works too)

So I got out of the pool, stumbled my way over to her, and fumbled my way through some words that didn’t feel very coherent. I didn’t give the poor woman a chance to respond to any of what I said (“I’m a friend of Adam’s, I baked you some granola, I didn’t want to bother you, bla bla bla blabber blabber blabber). I was just so concerned about bothering her that I made myself sound like a complete fool (and defaulted to a habit I have of making myself and my voice very small and insignificant in the face of someone who I deem as more important and much smarter than I am. I’m not proud of it, and I’m working on it, but apparently, I still have more work to do).

No matter, Elizabeth graciously thanked me for my gift (which I hadn’t brought to the pool) and asked me to leave it on the stage for her that morning.

I walked away in a daze.

Holy shit, people! This magic stuff really does work! I manifested a meeting with Elizabeth Gilbert because I asked for it. You may be shaking your head and thinking I’m crazy, but I dare you to try something similar in your own life this week. But don’t half ass it. Do it with something you really would like to happen. Maybe it’s getting out of a ticket. Maybe it’s asking someone you want to get in touch with to call you. Maybe it’s getting an email back from someone you had been wanting a response from.

Think about what it is, and then do one of the following:

  1. If it’s to get out of a ticket or if it’s to have a conversation with a boss or someone else where the conversation might be challenging, repeat the phrase, “I like you, and you like me,” over and over again before the conversation is set to happen, and as the conversation is happening. Aim for at least 25 repetitions of this phrase.
  2. If it’s to manifest an encounter, be it in person, phone or online, ask your people to tell their people that you’re trying to get in touch with them, and you’d like the opportunity to do so.

Just try it. What have you got to lose?

If I hadn’t tried it, would Elizabeth Gilbert have been sitting at the pool Sunday morning? Maybe. Maybe not. Would I have gone for a swim even though I had no business being in a bathing suit that morning? Probably not. Actually, definitely not.

There is no telling why the stars align, but something tells me, it has a little something to do with magic.

So I guess, the only question left now is:

Do you believe in magic?

I do. If for no other reason than because life without it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.

Your friend (who, for the record, does believes in magic),


P.S This is the note I left for Martha and Liz to accompany the books and granola: