The Secret, from Florida with Love

I read The Secret for the first time when I was living in Tallahassee. I’ll always associate it with Florida because I also first heard about the book when I lived in Sarasota.

I was working as a hostess, then a waitress, at the worst restaurant in St. Armands circle, Hemingway’s. It was a jungle-and-rattan-themed, mid-range fine dining restaurant with a clientele no younger than 50. It’s now a Daiquiri Deck—a fluorescent blue beach bar with a wall of frozen drinks.

The two managers at Hemingway’s were exactly what you’d hope for. Perry was a fit silver fox who you could tell got a lot of tail. The assistant manager, Jeff, was a little shadow of Perry, only younger and goofier. They both had close beards, and they wore those silky short-sleeved button-down shirts that everyone wears down there—always with the top button undone and always with a gold chain.

Jeff told me about The Secret when he was leaving the restaurant for what he considered his big break: a job as a salesman at an art gallery that sold panorama photographs of sports stadiums. He explained that through The Secret, and through visualizing a new opportunity for himself, he had met the owner and photographer for the gallery, who was very successful. He showed me the gratitude rock he carried in his pocket, just like in the book, to remind him to always be grateful. 

At the time, understandably, I thought The Secret was only for south Florida nut jobs. And then, a few years and an economic crisis later, I moved to Tallahassee and ended up turning to The Secret on my own.

Pete and I lived in Tallahassee when he went to law school at Florida State. Tallahassee was a tough environment for me for a few reasons. Before I was properly medicated, I was somewhat of a maniac, regularly crying at Mexican restaurants and binge-watching Bones through bouts of prolonged depression. I was resentful of Pete and his classmates for being able to go to law school. I felt poor, older than my years and out of touch with the rest of the world.

I was desperate for answers and hope, and in January of 2010, I made a New Year’s resolution to seek help from somewhere. I listened to The Secret and surprisingly, parts of it really spoke to me. I practiced asking, believing and receiving. My spirits lifted when I was able to look to the future and envision something better for myself.

To prepare for this podcast episode, I revisited my old journal entries from Tallahassee. The Secret tells you to ask the universe for what you want, and phrase it in the present or past tense as if you already have it. Here’s my list of desires from January 24, 2010:

I am so happy and grateful that I am able to spend my life creating, surrounded by people that I love and that love me, with enough resources to always do what I want, without worrying about where the money will come from, or how I will make the next dream a reality.

I am so happy that I finally have the money that allows me to not have to work to make money, that allows me to follow my passions instead of a paycheck, that allows me to give that same opportunity to my family…The kind of money that allows me to quietly experience great things daily with the people I love. 

I am so grateful that I have:

  • A happy marriage with Peter.
  • A family with healthy children, when I am ready to bring them into the world.
  • Money to never be constrained by money.

I am happy that I am able to fix up my parents’ house and restore it to its full potential.

I am happy that I have a house that is beautiful and historic and spacious and in a wonderful neighborhood with character and life! A house that people enjoy coming to and that I love spending time in.  

I am so happy that I am able to travel to different places, return to Italy with Peter, take long vacations at exotic resorts and see all the sites I have studied.

I am so happy that I had a wonderful wedding that was an event full of family and friends and a great celebration of a new life together.

I am so happy that I am able to learn for my life, take art classes and learn about new places. 

I am so happy that I feel fulfilled by everything that I have and that I am always able to build further on my life.

I am so happy that money and life changes came to me when I wanted them so that we could move back to Richmond and easily make the transition. 

I know that I have already been given these things. I know that I am receiving them now! I know that I am receiving all the wealth, health and love that I have ever dreamed of. I know that what I want will never adversely affect the health of me or anyone I love. I know that that universe is working to bring me all this now! 

Sweet 25-year-old Maggie was so amped for the future! Over eight years have passed since then, and it’s fascinating to see what on my list came true. The Secret totally “worked” for my house, my wedding, moving to Richmond and my marriage. Even though I haven’t received all the money I talk about yet, with this podcast, I’m well on my way to following my passions instead of a paycheck.

If you’ve never read The Secret, you should know that it’s really just a collage of quotes and advice from a bunch of motivational speakers. One of my favorite quotes is from Lisa Nichols. She talks about believing you will receive what you desire and says you can help the process by telling yourself, “I know like I know like I know, that it’s already on its way.” To this day, when I concentrate on something I want, I find myself whispering, “I know like I know like I know…"

The Secret may be hokey and generic and by no means do I agree with everything they suggest, but the book helped me see past a difficult time in my life to a positive future ahead. I am so happy and grateful for that.