In an earlier post, I talked about how I am fairly new to the whole Abraham/Esther Hicks world. I’ve only been listening to them for a few months, though I’ve been doing my best to live life according to the Law of Attraction for years. When I saw that there was to be an Abraham Hicks workshop in Orlando, a fairly easy drive from here, I knew I had to attend.
While I’ve seen many workshop videos and listened to hours of the recordings, there were still things that were new experiences and I had a lot of questions. Should I do the two hour drive the morning of the workshop? Should I shell out the bucks to stay at the workshop hotel? Should I pick another nearby hotel? Did my husband want to go? My son could go to my mother’s for the night, but who would walk the dog?
Some were less personal logistics focused and more Abraham curiosity. What would the people be like? Would I be the only newbie? Did I have a “Hot Seat” question? If I did, would I light up enough to make it to the Hot Seat? How early do I need to get there? And so on and so on.
Trip to Orlando
I decided that I wanted to spend the night in Orlando before the workshop. That decision was fairly easy. My initial plans only allowed me to arrive pretty late in the evening, but I figured it was better than hitting the highway well before dawn on Saturday. The workshop was held at the Omni Orlando Resort at Championsgate, an area on the southwest side of Orlando, below Walt Disney World. On the workshop registration page, there is sometimes a link for discounted hotel rooms at the hotel location.
Now, I have absolutely no problem shelling out some bucks for a hotel. In fact, very nice hotels can be a bit of an addiction. However, arriving so late in the evening meant that I wouldn’t really get a chance to enjoy my room and the Orlando area has plenty of hotel rooms. So I popped onto Hotwire, which is a website that I absolutely love when I need just a room somewhere. For less than a Benjamin ($100), I had a King Suite at Caribe Royale a pretty nice four star resort about 10 easy minutes away from the workshop.
I Had a Lovely Room, But…
My husband surprised me by taking Friday off of work so that I could head off to Orlando much earlier in the day. I arrived mid-afternoon and had a lovely time shopping and dining at Disney Springs. They’ve redone and renamed the Downtown Disney area and added more world class shopping, dining, and entertainment. Last time I visited Disney, most of the area was behind a construction barrier so I delighted in discovering the new places as well as some of the old favorites.
I checked into the hotel just before 8pm and reveled in having so much space to myself. I wandered the beautiful grounds, picked up a coffee to go with the dessert I brought from Disney, and watched a bit of Zootopia outside under the palm trees beside the pool. It was a very relaxing evening.
Back in my room, I meditated for twenty minutes and then sat down at the desk to focus upon the event and set my intentions for what I wanted to receive from the workshop. I wrote out the following intentions in my notebook:
I intend to have an amazing experience at the workshop tomorrow. I expect to receive information on how to remain centered and focused when family members are in conflict around me, when family attempts to suck me into their “drama” and in the relationship with my mother.
I intend to meet new people and bask in the high vibrations of the event and the day. I intend to let events unfold as they may and while I have no “hot seat” question, if one arises, I shall light up so that I may ask it.
With my intentions set, I did what most mom’s do when they find themselves alone in a hotel room. I watched what I wanted to watch on TV! Yes, that’s right, of all the things I had available to do, I enjoyed a quiet living room watching TV. As much as I enjoyed it, I was feeling pretty tired and full of eagerness for the morning, so I set my alarm for 6 am and went to bed.
The king bed was perfect, the sheets, mountain of pillows, and comforter were soft and welcoming and I drifted off to sleep before I could even truly appreciate them. However, I am not usually an alarm person. My lifestyle allows me complete freedom to stay up as late as I would like and arise from bed when I feel like it. I rarely get up early and usually only on days when I wish to visit the fantastic farmer’s market in our community, but on those days, my husband usually wakes me as he gets up very early during the week.
So I woke up at 2:30 in the morning, afraid I had missed my alarm. After a quick trip to the loo and double checking my alarm, I drifted back asleep. Until about 4am.
Once again, I reassured myself that I hadn’t missed my alarm and tried to settle back down for more sleep, which didn’t happen easily. I found myself too excited to sleep. After almost thirty minutes, I pulled up a guided sleep meditation on YouTube and let it play as I finally drifted back off to slumberland.
At 5:30 am, I gave up. I had a leisurely shower and gathered my things, leaving in plenty of time to arrive at the Omni early, grab a cup of coffee and maybe a muffin for my breakfast before the workshop began.
Arrival at the Omni
I’m pretty familiar with the southwestern end of the Orlando area, so I left my hotel around 7:30, confident that it would take no more than 10 minutes or so to reach Championsgate. Traffic was light as I left the Disney area and hopped on I-4 headed west. In just a few minutes, I was at my exit and following signs to the Omni, which I could see just ahead. Then I caught a red light and as I sat there I thought, Wow, this is a lot of cars, I wonder how many of them are headed to the Omni.
Turns out, all of them were headed to the Omni. I fell into line and made the turn to make the turn into the hotel drive. I was a fair distance back, but we were moving slowly and making progress. I relaxed once I turned into the hotel drive, because while I may be in line to park, I was at least here, right? Stop and go, stop and go, I inched up the driveway.
As we wove up the road, I checked out the wide variety of cars. Hondas, Toyotas, Mercedes, Cadillacs, new cars, old cars, bumper stickers for honor students and surf shops, it was a genuine hodgepodge of vehicles. I drooled over a Maserati and finally identified a sleek red number as a Tesla. And we all inched along, moving up one spot every 20-30 seconds or so.
Everyone was filing into the self-parking lot that turned off to the right. I was three cars from making the turn, with about four car lengths from there to some sort of parking hut, assuming that I would get my parking ticket there before being guided in. A check of the time told me that I still had about 45 minutes before the workshop began. I had my pre-registration paperwork all filled out so that wouldn’t take any time, but I needed to make sure I hit up the ladies’ room before the doors closed.
I watched the clock as my leisurely morning was eaten away. And we totally stopped moving. Here, I confess, I was starting to lose some of my Zen. Okay, I was losing my Zen. Several cars came out of the parking lot and that made me go, hmm. Sure, it could be a hotel guest leaving for a day of fun in Orlando. But what if it wasn’t? What if the lot was full? The car four slots ahead of me flagged down one of the cars leaving and had a brief conversation. Then it executed an impressive five stop turn around and got out of line.
With the newly opened space allowing room, I hopped out of line and followed the lane up to the front circular drive and waited on a valet. Now, I’m usually pretty courteous to service people. I genuinely appreciate them. I love the restaurant worker that clears the table so I don’t have to. I adore the bagger that lugs my groceries to the car so that I only have to bring them inside when I get home. I tip the maid that makes my bed in hotels, even if I’m only staying one night. And I always tip at both drop off and pick up for valet service. I think it makes for a more pleasant experience and some may even treat your car a little better when you tip at drop off.
As I hurried away from the car, I had to stop and double check that I had a valet ticket. For a split second I was afraid I had just tossed my keys at some poor bewildered hotel guest, and I had no idea if I had tipped the attendant or not. At that point, I gave myself a reprimand to slow it down, focus, and just plain chill out. I fell in with a group of people as we followed the signs to the National Ballroom. Passing the overflowing coffeeshop, (oh, but I wanted some) despite my need for breakfast, I took the escalator down and saw the crowd milling about.
The line for registration wasn’t very long and the workers at the table were very quick and efficient. In a whirlwind I was greeted, my paperwork was checked to make sure I signed the acknowledgement that the event was being taped and agreeing to their terms, I was given a badge with my name and city on it and all set to enter the ballroom. After popping into the ladies’, I entered the ballroom and took it all in.
On the center stage was a podium and the chair and microphone for the Hot Seat. On each side of the stage there were large video screens that would project the event for those who weren’t getting a great view of the stage. The front seats of all four sections were full, most people wanting to be as close as possible, especially those wishing to ask a question. I took a moment to assess the situation and chose a seat on the same row as the back cameraman, but on the aisle. It afforded me a decent view of the stage, but an even better view of the right side video screen.
The atmosphere is bubbling. Everyone smiles, everyone waves, even those sitting quietly by themselves are grinning ear to ear. There may be a few, here and there, looking around (I’m sure I was one of them) trying to get a make on the crowd, maybe even unsure how or why they were there.
More and more people began to fill in the empty chairs around me. Everyone introduced themselves as they came, the common question being if it was your first time. One man on my row had been to five workshops over the years, but wished he could catch them more often. The lady in front of me had driven a little over two hours that morning and was new to the workshops and entire Law of Attraction lifestyle.
More people filed in, more introductions, more jockeying for position, and in a blink of an eye, the music started.
Joy, Joy, Joy
As the Abraham Hicks Theme Song starts, the chatting and shuffling stops. The crowd leaps to their feet, hooting and clapping. It was like being at a sporting event when a sudden, unpredicted score happens. Everyone is clapping to the beat, belting out the song, and swaying back and forth. It is absolutely infectious.
Problem is I don’t know the words! I’m craning my neck to see through the shifting and bobbling heads to the stage, totally forgetting the video screens, and then I start singing along with the crowd. The lyrics are simple, they are easy, and 90 % of the song is either “I can do it” or “Joy is the key!” And the energy, which was buzzing already, is through the roof. And just like that, I was swept away with the crowd.
There she is, Esther Hicks, aglow under the production lights, waving and grinning, and bouncing around her arms back and forth. The song winds down, but the crowd doesn’t sit. It takes a minute of waving her arms to get everyone settled in their seat as she welcomes everyone to the event. She gives a brief version of what’s about to happen.
- She will settle and channel Abraham
- Abraham will read the crowd to speak to the audience
- People will be called up to the Hot Seat
- There are no restrictions on what may be asked
- After about hour there will be a twenty minute break
Esther then steps over to the podium on the side of the stage. She grabs ahold of it, closes her eyes, and the entire crowd holds their breath. A small sound escapes Esther, mmmmm. Her head nods several times and more sounds, mmmm. She looks up, this time more school marm than bubbling grandma and says, “Good morning.”
The crowd agrees immediately, answering her, “Good morning.”
“We are extremely pleased that you are here. It is good to come together for the purpose of co-creating. Do you agree?” Though all Abraham workshops seem to start with the same dialog, it seems very throaty and a little hesitant. The audience mostly knows the routine, and I myself have heard it before through the audio recordings. I answer the questions with the same exuberance as the rest of the audience, feeling myself grinning and with electricity running through my body.
As she makes her way through the same opening that Abraham uses at all the workshops, at least from what I can tell, Esther seems to loosen up a little bit. She moves away from the podium, moving around on the stage as she speaks. As the opening monologue continues, she directly addresses the first item I had written down on my intention sheets the night before: remaining centered and true when others are in conflict around you.
On a personal level, I am floored. In fact, I am so taken that this is an opening topic that I find my inner monologue rambling too loudly and miss part of the message. At that point, I ask myself, “How do I feel right now, right in this moment?” I feel easy, and happy, a fountain of bubbling bliss. I have a warmth that seems to have settled on me, like a cat in my lap. I crane my neck for a clear view of Esther, well into her channeling session, and contemplate whether or not that glow is from the professional studio lights they use to video the workshop, or from Abraham, or Source energy. I asked myself, “Does it matter?” and answered that it most certainly did not!
The first man in the Hot Seat asks a question about his relationship with his mother. The situation was a little different from my personal experience with my own mother, but the answer was spot on. The next person up to the Hot Seat had an issue with her brother-in-law. The advice that was given was directly applicable to the situations I had intended to find clarity on. Again.
First hour of the workshop and all of the intentions that I had set forth had been answered. Check, check, check, boom! And I was shocked that we were already to our first break.
Beautiful Morning on the Patio
Still very clearly under caffeinated for the day, I quickly exited the ballroom and headed to the refreshment table for coffee and a bottle of water. A few minutes later (and $10 lighter), I stood on the outside patio sipping my coffee, looking at the glorious view, and people watching as a large percentage of the crowd came out to enjoy the beautiful Florida morning.
Much like the cars lining the driveway, there was something for everyone in this crowd. Black and white skin tones, with every variation in between. Impeccably dressed fashionistas and comfortable hippies, Walmart t-shirts and Neiman Marcus blouses, all milling around, greeting each other, and happy. Not just happy, blissful. Not just blissful, bursting with joy. And there seemed to be no division of skin or class, everyone was eager to talk to everyone else.
Is this your first workshop?
What do you think about the Alaskan cruise?
How long have you been listening to Abraham?
Others seemed to find people that they met at other Abraham gatherings, peals of laughter and joy as they hugged and gathered together. There seemed to be no strangers among us, just people we hadn’t met yet. It was, hands down, the single happiest event I have ever attended.
I stepped to the side of the courtyard to throw away my coffee and there was a twenty something man, nicely dressed, but without the Abraham Hicks event badge. He politely inquired if I had a moment. I told him I did and he asked what kind of event was going on where everyone was so happy and excited. I stared at him a moment and thought, well, why not?
“There’s a lady in there, Esther Hicks. She channels infinite intelligence and we get to ask questions.”
“I can assure you it’s all marvelous, life changing stuff, but I get it if it’s not your thing. However, if you’re curious, there are a ton of videos on YouTube. You should check it out.”
He scanned the crowd again and said, “Well, it certainly seems more exciting than the work conference I’m attending today. Maybe I will.”
As I headed back inside for the second session, I found myself really hoping that he would check it out. I know that I wish I had made my way to Abraham’s message a lot earlier in my life.
The Second Session
The second session started with a fresh Hot Seat participant and went on from there. Every participant brought up something relevant to my own personal life experience and I learned from each of them. One woman, in particular, started with one question, but led us around to how important it is to tap into our own intuition and gut feelings. It was all about distinguishing which impulses are from our inner being (you tell by how it feels) and following those impulses. I found that this session, even more than the ones that I had a predetermined intent about, really resonated with me. To the point that I missed quite a few minutes of what was happening on stage.
The second break was much like the first: Bubbly, happy, people mingling, meeting and chattering excitedly away. I fell into a conversation with a lady from Daytona as we discussed the section about intuition and impulses. I mentioned that I had even missed part of the session because I was pre-occupied with my own thoughts. She highly suggested I buy the audio, which I intended to do anyway, because listening to it again, being able to stop and start it at will while I considered the words, would bring me even more clarity.
The event staff was hopping, helping attendees pick out which books they wanted and getting them back inside before the last session began. A group of young men that had attended together stood off at the side, not seeming to fit in. As I filled out my workshop recording request, I eavesdropped. The workshop was definitely not for them. They confessed to each other that they thought the whole thing was a charade and off they went, back up the escalator and into the world.
I found myself wondering how many others might have been non-believers or how many may have left the workshop already. I was more curious than anything and when I went back into the ballroom, there did seem to be a few more empty seats. One of the couples that I had spoken to during the first break were noticeably absent from their seats just a few rows ahead of me. But if there were more that left during the workshop, it couldn’t have been more than a handful. And maybe they had gotten what they needed already. But as Abraham would tell me, “It’s not my business.”
There is Big Love for You
At the close of the workshop, I found myself a little let down, much as you might feel when eating a plate of delicious cookies, but not realizing that you have eaten the last one and you reach down to discover an empty plate. I felt zapped of my energy. Around me people were wishing each other well, or partnering up to go to lunch, but I surprised myself by saying, “Oh, sorry. I’d love to but I need to get on my way back home.”
I made a hasty exit, getting to the valet desk well before most of the crowd. As I got into my car, I realized that I had never managed to get that breakfast I was desperate for hours ago. My original plan had been to head back to Disney for a long afternoon and evening of solo time, topping the whole day off with fireworks over Cinderella castle. But at that moment I felt depleted and the idea of a long day in Orlando seemed out of the question.
So I pointed my car towards home, grabbing food from the first drive-thru I could find. (The idea of going into a restaurant, even though I adore dining alone, was as unpalatable as a long day of shopping and site seeing.) Almost immediately after eating I felt amazing again. My thoughts tumbled from one great part of the workshop to another and the people I met. I was soon soaring again.
On impulse, I popped off the interstate and took a smaller highway home. The clouds were fluffy white against the Florida blue sky, the orange groves were beautiful, and all the small towns I went through were charming. The radio was pumping out only great songs and it was an easy, pleasant drive home. As Abraham would say, I basked all the way home.
Was It Real?
My arrival home was unexpected. I’d never informed my husband of the change of plans that led me to be home in the middle of the afternoon instead of late that night. (Oops!) I drug myself inside, feeling great, but oh so sleepy. After napping hard for a couple of hours, I was plied with questions.
The number one thing friends and family wanted to know after I had seen Abraham in person: Was it real? My answer to that is yes.
Yes, the experience was amazing. Yes, the advice I found was based on love and understanding. Yes, the people I met were wonderful, and happy, and kind. It was no less real than any self-development seminar out there. I personally met many people that found tremendous success and changed their lives for the better because of Abraham’s teachings.
If Esther is putting on an act and a stage show, it is a phenomenal one. If Abraham is only Esther, then she is an extremely wise woman. If the Hot Seat people are “plants”, then they asked what the audience wanted to hear. I guess my point is: Does it matter? Believe or not believe. It’s okay. There are many different flavors to our existence. The Abraham Hicks flavor is joy, love, taking responsibility for one’s own life, and believing that everything is always working out. I just don’t see how that can possibly be a bad thing.
Have you ever been to an Abraham-Hicks workshop? If so, what did you take away from the experience? I’d love to hear your story in the comments.