Agape International is a New Thought mega-church in Culver City, California. Agape’s active teaching and practice of the New Thought-Ancient Wisdom tradition of spirituality has expanded into a trans-denominational movement. Michael Beckwith, founding minister of Agape, speaks in the popular 2007 film, The Secret, about our creativity and the Law of Attraction. The Law of Attraction states that what you think about, you attract into your life. If you focus on lack, or conflict, that’s what you get. If it’s joy and peace and abundance those things come your way instead. Create the reality you desire with your gratitude, your thoughts, your visions. Michael is also credited with inventing Visioning, a process that I liken to listening to God without the interference of the logical mind.
My personal belief is that there are signs all around us and messages we can access, that our guided actions are tantamount to the success of our goals, and that the Universe always has a hand in it. Besides that, I believe in being the best person I can be, expressing my purpose as fully as I can, and making a difference in the world.
On a recent visioning session—done to Michael Beckwith’s recorded voice—I saw the ocean at evening, a vast white beach, flowing garments, an audience. I got the sense that this speaker was me, or that it was Iriel, my character from Atlantis. My desire to go to Agape International, and the nearby ocean, was heightened. I hoped to talk with someone in the Agape book store to see if they might carry my book, Incarnation. So when I read that Agape was having an open mic on the Friday I was to arrive in LA, I got excited. Practical family members pointed out the difficult logistics of crossing LA in rush hour traffic, and missing out on dinner with my grandaughters. As the event lasted until 9:30 PM, I finally gave up on the idea of the open mic. The more practical, less flamboyant approach of making an appointment at the bookstore seemed a reasonable compromise.
We went off to the beach for a couple of nights, and after that, our departure date loomed. I decided to extend my trip three extra days until the following Friday night hoping I’d have a chance to make it over to Agape. The day before I was to leave, Gabe, my composer son, had a meeting in Santa Monica, and he suggested I ride along and we could stop at Agape on the way back. We also had a 2 PM appointment at the Apple store in a beautiful mall called The Grove.
Thursday morning turned into Thursday lunch at a Santa Monica sushi restaurant called Sugar Fish and then the traffic slowed us down enough that we were almost late for our appointment at the Grove. Oh, well, I was thinking, no Agape this time.
Gabe and I were on the up escalator leaving the Grove when I looked to my right and there, passing us on the down escalator, were Michael Beckwith and his wife, so close I could have reached out and touched them. I did a double take. Gabe, Gabe, I said it’s them! Beckwith saw me and went on his way. Gabe asked if I wanted to go after them. I had my book in my backpack after all.
As we walked to the car I was both marveling and disappointed. It had not seemed right to follow the couple on an obviously private outing. Nor was it in my comfort zone. Yet the opportunity had seemingly come out of the blue, and vanished just as quickly. I would be leaving the next evening and had plans to take care of Gemma, my two year old granddaughter, all morning.
As we were driving home, I thought about the intense serendipity of the sighting. In all of LA, in all the world! Was this a missed chance, or a sign that I was on the right track, truly connected to my goal?
Gabe’s phone rang and I overheard him talking excitedly to someone. When he got off the phone, everything had changed once again. The call was an invitation to go to Sony pictures in, you got it, Culver City, the next morning. Gabe was invited to listen to a 90 piece orchestra record a score for one of the top film composers in the world. Wow for Gabe and wow for me! Quickly we decided Gemma and I would go along and visit Agape while Gabe was at the recording session.
It turned out perfectly. Everyone at Agape was friendly and Kristy Evans, an author herself, who was running the bookstore that morning, was lovely. Gemma ran away or got into mischief just often enough to be charming. I’d chase after her, then return to my conversation with Kristy. Turns out she had started a book club, and that the bookstore had author events. The poster with their pictures was proudly displayed. Kristy said she wanted more fiction. She was welcoming, loving, and generous. As I put Gemma on my hip for the final time, she said, Bye Loves, and bowed. I bowed back.