A Conversation with Janet Attwood
Sep 25, 2014 04:40PM
By Carrie Jackson
At age 18, Janet Bray Attwood found herself miserable and in a self-destructive downward spiral. Then one day, after an emotional phone call, her brother drove eight hours, picked her up and introduced her to Transcendental Meditation. Learning this simple twice-daily ritual changed her life. Today, Attwood is a New York Times bestselling author, inspirational speaker, longtime meditator and founder of The Hidden Riches Experience, which comes to the Chicago North Shore Conference Center, in Skokie, from October 24 to 26. We talked with Attwood to learn more about her worldview and experiences with ritual.
Why do you think so many people are unhappy with their lives?
Today’s world is so fast-paced. There is more and more information coming at us all the time. When there is so much focus on achievement at any cost, most people have lost their connection to what really matters to them. Rituals are the age-old way that people and communities stay connected. My co-authors and I wrote Your Hidden Riches – Unleashing the Power of Ritual to Create a Life of Meaning and Purpose to highlight the critical need of our time to reconnect with rituals that can enrich life. Starting with the simple daily ritual of meditation twice a day, I learned they provide a safe haven in the midst of my incredibly hectic schedule. They reconnect me with what I care most deeply about, help stimulate my creative juices and provide the foundation on which I am able to live my passions.
What are some of the benefits of practicing rituals?
In a world of ringing phones, dinging texts, never-ending emails and ever-growing to-do lists, rituals help create sanity in a world that sometimes feels like it’s going crazy. Successful people use rituals to perform at their best, to stay calm even when they are under intense pressure and to create balance in their lives. When we discuss rituals, we don’t mean religious practices or superstitions. In contrast, rituals are “conscious intentional actions we choose to make habitual because they improve our lives.” Rituals may not make sense to anyone else, but they’re meaningful to you and serve a purpose for you.
For example, Simon Cowell’s daily ritual is to climb a tree, probably because it makes him feel like a kid and is such a contrast with everything else he does that it gives him a break from a very intense life. Warren Buffet plays bridge for several hours almost every day. Actor Colin Farrell wears the same boxers covered with shamrocks and the saying, “The luck of the Irish” whenever he begins a new movie. Rituals are very personal, which is why successful people often don’t talk much about them. But they are a proven and effective way to keep connected to what’s important in life.
How did the idea for the Hidden Riches Experience come about?
We spent almost two years writing Your Hidden Riches. As we explored the rituals of cultures all around the world, we realized how much we in the developed world can learn from the ancient cultures of the world. In addition, we realized that every successful person we met or talked with incorporates rituals into their lives. The Hidden Riches Experience gives us a chance to bring together some of the best speakers we know with ritual practitioners from different cultures to create an extraordinary and unique experience. Our speakers will show participants how to apply rituals to the concerns we all have: rituals for creating optimal health, rituals for investing so that you never lose money, rituals for making your dreams real. Participants will walk away with practical tools they can take home and integrate into their lives so they are starting to take advantage of the secrets that successful people use, but don’t talk about usually.
What are some highlights of the Hidden Riches Experience?
The event will be an immersion in the power of rituals. Participants will get to experience ritual, to learn about ritual and to discover how to apply easy-to-practice rituals to enhance many different parts of their lives. Every day of the three-day event will begin and end with a traditional, ceremonial ritual. The days will be filled with magical speakers and the chance to connect with like-minded people. At last year’s event, many people said that it was an experience unlike any they’d had before. They not only left with practical strategies for their lives, but many of them shared with us that through all of our networking throughout the three days, they created great alliance partners, along with lifelong friendships. They also commented that they felt a beautiful renewal of their own passions and rituals and most importantly, they left feeling more connected, empowered and aligned with their purpose and their gifts in their own lives!
For more information and to purchase tickets to The Hidden Riches Experience, visit HiddenRichesExperience.com.
Carrie Jackson is a staff writer for Natural Awakenings Chicago.