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Choosing Change


Hay House’s “I Can Do It” conference in New York brings together top authors, including Marianne Williamson and Iyanla Vanzant, to offer advice and tools on transforming from the inside out

By Tammy Mastroberte

In September 2011, Hay House joined some of its best-selling authors and teachers with thousands of spiritual seekers at the Jacob Javitz Center in New York City, offering a weekend focused on transformation. The “I Can Do It” conference, which came to New York for the first time, featured Dr. Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Dr. Fabrizio Mancini, Doreen Virtue, Iyanla Vanzant, Louise Hay, Cheryl Richardson, Gregg Braden and Robert Holden — all speaking on creating change in our lives.

Whether seeking to become healthy in mind and body, learning about the law of attraction and the secrets of manifestation, or simply letting go and asking for help from a higher power, the overall goal was to realize we all posses the ability to change our lives for the better.

“The theme ‘I Can Do It’ is about recognizing you have the power within you,” said Dr. Fabrizio Mancini during his talk about creating the life we want, starting with the thoughts we think moment to moment. “If you start thinking differently and responding differently to the circumstances in your life, your outcomes will begin to change. It’s a choice.”

Elevated Existence attended the conference, and below is coverage of three top authors — Marianne Williamson, Dr. Fabrizio Mancini and Iyanla Vanzant — and their messages on change.

Speaking on the topic of weight loss, and the spiritual and psychological issues behind many people’s failed attempts, Marianne Williamson spoke about food as an addiction, the same as drugs and alcohol. However, addiction to food is often not treated with the same compassion, she noted, although it too can be a life-threatening situation if carried far enough.

“There are many books written about drugs and alcohol as a compulsion or addiction, and people have a sense of compassion that we are dealing with a disease,” she explained. “The same is not true for food.”

The truth is, whether it’s drugs, alcohol or food, something happens to the human psyche, she said.

“In that moment of addiction, we are temporarily insane. When that compulsion takes over, in that moment it doesn’t matter how smart you are, or how much you know about nutrition. The compulsion overrides it.”

The most desperate moments in life are not, “Oh my God, I did that?” It’s “Oh my God, I did it again,” she told the audience. “I knew it, and I did it again, anyway.”

While there are many aspects of our lives that resulted in trauma, there is a force in the universe that is greater than the trauma, she explained, quoting “A Course in Miracles.” She said: “You think you have many different problems, but you only have one — your separation from God.”

When we believe we can’t stop doing something, we need to remember that God can, she said, recalling a time when she struggled with her own food issues, and realized she was so afraid of being hurt that she created an invisible wall in front of her to keep others at bay. It was through “A Course in Miracles” that she learned to “reach over the wall.”

Her latest book, “A Course in Weight Loss,” offers a 21-lesson curriculum to help others dissolve their own walls. “‘A Course in Miracles’ says you create what you defend against,” she noted. “So if I’m working hard to keep pain at bay, I am ensuring pain is on the way.”

Many suffering from a compulsion or addiction feel the self-sabatoge and self-destruction they inflict upon themselves means they are bad people. But Williamson explained these neuroses are not bad, but actually coming from old wounds. Once a person is willing to do the spiritual work, they realize there are places within they have not looked at yet, and these places need to be healed.

“The divine physician is waiting to heal us,” she said. “The power of an infinite love can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. In our society, we tend to have faith in the disasters more than we have faith in the power of God to get rid of them.”

When in the throes of addiction, a person’s brain circuitry is off — registering things that are not good for them as comfort, and things that are good as boring. Many think they are having a love affair with food, but you can only have a love affair with something that can love you back, she explained.

“Whatever your problem is, as you open yourself up to a higher power, through prayer and meditation, it allows our brain circuitry to be changed,” Williamson said. “We will see miracles in our own lives. We all deviate, but the point is we come back stronger than before.”


Full of energy, Dr. Fabrizio Mancini, author of “Feeling Fab: Four Steps to Living a Fabulous Life,” and soon-to-be-released, “The Power of Self Healing: Unlock Your Natural Healing Potential in 21 Days,” took the stage on the first day of the conference, explaining we all have the power within us to feel fabulous. Ultimately, it’s a choice.

“All of us have different experiences in our lives, but the circumstances in our life are not what define us. The way we respond to them is what determines the outcome,” Mancini told the audience, explaining there is a four-step formula called “The Circle of Life” that is key for us to utilize. These steps include:

  • Our thoughts
  • Our behaviors
  • Our outcomes
  • Our feelings

“It is our feelings that attract everything in our lives, and for most of us, our feelings are way out of control,” he noted. “Our thoughts lead to our behaviors. You have to have an action step to go with the thought, and that is the behavior. Then it leads to an outcome.”

It’s our feelings about the outcomes in our lives, which actually attract things to us. The outcomes then lead to more thoughts, and the cycle starts again. “We can wake up in the morning thinking, ‘This is going to be a good day,’ or we can wake up thinking, ‘This is going to be a bad day.’

Your thoughts become your belief system, which is the foundation of everything in your life,” Mancini explained. He also offered the audience four areas where people need to be more conscious — thoughts, health, relationships and success.

Step 1: Pay Attention to Thoughts. “Studies have shown if you alter your thoughts and your beliefs, it can lead to a different outcome,” Mancini said, suggesting if someone really want to know what he or she is thinking about most, they just need to ask friends and family to tell them three things they are always talking about.

“I wake up every day believing that people are good in nature,” he noted. “If you perceive this is a good world, it will be. If you believe it’s bad, it will be. If you start thinking differently and responding differently to circumstances in your life, your outcomes will begin to change.”

Step 2: Nurture Physical, Spiritual, Mental and Emotional Health. There are two things the body needs to remain healthy — nutrition and exercise.Breakfast is the meal most people skip, but starting with a good breakfast is important, he noted. Then having a good lunch (which is not as big as breakfast) and a light dinner, as well as not eating after 6 or 7 p.m, is what he recommended.

A typical plate should have four elements — protein, like chicken, meat, turkey or fish; vegetables; carbohydrates (not refined) such as nuts, fruits like berries or apples; and healthy fats, such as extra virgin oils.

Moving the body is also important, and when it comes to our emotional health, gratitude, forgiveness and love allow us to be emotionally healthy, he explained.

The last piece of the health puzzle is the spiritual side. “You need to find a higher source that is something greater than you,” Mancini said. “When you find it, you realize you are a small piece of a greater purpose.”

Step 3: Having Healthy Relationships. Many of us don’t understand ourselves enough, so we find it hard to find someone else who understands us. “You need to understand who you are first. If you don’t and the relationship gets tested, then there is drama,” Mancini noted.

What makes a relationship strong is engagement and listening, he noted. In most divorces, people often cite being ignored, or that a spouse worked too much. “If I told you, you only had 24 hours to live, how many of you would go to work the next day and try to make more money? Most people would want to spend time with their loved ones. So why don’t we pay more attention to our relationships?” he asked the audience.

Step 4: Finding Success. “Most of us live from the standpoint of ‘I first must have, so I can do and I can be,’ but I reverse it,” Mancini said. “I say ‘act as if,’ so it’s ‘first I must be, so I can do, and I can have.’”

Two of the biggest decisions people face in life is what they want to do as a career and who they want to spend their lives with. It’s important to find a purpose, he explained. “What are you good at? What are you passionate about? What do you do that time flies by? I say, do what you love and find someone willing to pay you for it.”

Ending his segment, Mancini explained all of his advice is only good if people are willing to take the action steps, and willing to make the choice to change.

“Life is not perfect, but we can choose how to respond to it,” he said, paraphrasing Albert Einstein, “You can’t solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it.”


Best-selling author of books including “Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You’re Going Through,” and “In the Meantime: Finding Yourself and the Love You Want,” Iyanla Vanzant spoke about the difference between a soldier and a warrior, and how to become a spiritual warrior in life.

“Anybody can be a soldier — someone who fights for money or to win — but a warrior fights for life and for the good of the kingdom,” she told the audience. “Soldiers fight in fear. ‘I have to get you before you get me.’ A warrior preserves life. Your goal is to preserve the kingdom and sometimes to do that you have to let some fights go. Ask yourself, does this honor me? Any time you are losing your honor, or your peace of mind, you are being a soldier.”

Everything begins in the mind, she explained, telling a story of a friend who was upset with his ex-wife. They had children together and were always fighting. As he was blaming her, Vanzant said, “It’s not about her. It’s all about you. It’s all in your mind. How you see her is how she will show up.”

In addition to everything beginning in the mind, we need to realize the mind is the cause and not the effect, and everything that is going on right now in our lives is the consequence of choices made in the mind. “By the time it shows up on the outside, it already started in your mind. Once you see it in the world, that is the effect,” she said. “Warriors start with the cause. What are you marinating in your mind?”

Here are the pointers she offered to the audience to start taking the journey from a soldier to a warrior:

  • Have a daily spiritual practice, such as prayer or meditation, and start with just three minutes. “You have 24 hours in a day. Give God three minutes.”
  • Tell the truth even if it makes someone angry. Our relationships fall apart because we can’t tell the truth about who we are, what we know and what we want,” she said.
  • Have a strong ‘no,’ and understand you don’t have to explain yourself. And practice!
  • Be willing to give more than you receive. Give away your problems. Give so you can grow the warrior within you.
  • Mind your business. “Stop trying to fix people, circumstances and situations, and stop minding other people’s business,” she said. “Focus on you. How can you save the world if you can’t control yourself, and have only one potato chip,” she joked.
  • Become more willing to live than you are afraid to die.

“It doesn’t have to be hard,” she noted. “It only gets hard when we try to control the lesson. If you want to know the end. . . look at the beginning.”