In 2001, Janet and Chris Attwood partnered with Mark Victor Hansen (co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series) and Robert Allen (5-time NY Times best-selling author, including the all-time best-selling real estate book, Nothing Down) to create the Millionaire Eagles Program. Featured in Mark and Bob’s #1 bestseller, The One Minute Millionaire: The Enlightened Way to Wealth, the Eagles program today is called the Enlightened Millionaire Program. Chris and Janet had a lot to do with adding the enlightened element to the program.
Today it’s quite amazing to see the breadth of projects they are involved in. They have a company called Enlightened Alliances, LLC that creates alliance relationships that benefit both parties for people like T. Harv Eker (www.peakpotentials.com), The Kaballah Center (recently the subject of many articles as Madonna and other celebrities are among their students), Dr. Pankaj Naram (the subject of last month’s cover story), and others. They are also working on three book projects, are partners in a program called Mastermind Mentors (www.mastermindmentors.com) that helps individuals form mastermind groups and understand the principles of masterminding, and they actively participate in a number of charitable projects.
What’s amazing is that Chris and Janet were once married; yet they are no longer. Today they are best friends and business partners. They are currently completing a book about their story and others like them called Staying in Love When the Marriage is Over(www.stayinginlove.com). The book tells how it’s possible to stay open, even in the midst of devastating change, and the miraculous rewards that are possible when you do stay open.
Already over 1,200 people have asked to receive free advance chapters of their book (you can receive those chapters by going to www.stayinginlove.com/chapters). They also have partnered with best-selling author, Catherine Lanigan (www.mountainzenproductions.com) to help them make this book a blockbuster bestseller.
Catherine has written 25 books, including Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile. Over 15 million copies of her books have sold in 28 different languages. She is an amazing storyteller whose books touch the hearts of her audience.
Staying in Love When the Marriage is Over will present the stories of a number of couples who have dealt with devastating change and emerged into a relationship of love and new possibilities. While Janet and Chris’ story and that of two of the other couples in the book is the story of surviving divorce to re-emerge in a newly defined loving relationship, other stories show that when one stays open, there is no telling what the outcomes may be. One couple went to the brink of divorce only to stay married. Another couple got divorced, went through an amazing process of healing and self-discovery to remarry again, and one of the stories is that of a young widow whose husband died unexpectedly after 10 years of marriage.
Janet and Chris have described their book as the meeting ground between War of the Roses and Chicken Soup for the Soul. The book’s message is that staying open, even in the midst of the most devastating changes in our lives, allows us to be able to receive surprising, miraculous, and wonderful blessings, beyond what we ever could have imagined would be possible.
During 2001 and 2002, as Chris and Janet organized the seminars, teleconferences and programs that comprised the Eagles Program, participants universally said they were struck by the fact that two people who were once married could continue to be best friends and business partners, even as they were involved in other romantic relationships. Many said that Chris and Janet are the living, breathing examples of what enlightened living means. In this interview we’ll explore how they got here, and what enlightened living means for them.
Liz Thompson: Chris and Janet, how did you get started in your current vocation, and what attracted you to it?
Chris Attwood & Janet Attwood: Our life has been about discovering our passion. Our book on Staying in Love When the Marriage is Over is a central expression of that. Uncovering the nature of love and loving is at the core of life for both of us. Our own experience of staying in love even when it didn’t feel good has been such a learning, we’ve had no choice but to find ways of sharing that with others.
In addition, we have gone through a long, and sometimes, painful process of discovering what we enjoy doing. Not surprisingly, the things we love to do are things we’re quite good at. Our challenge has been thinking that, to make money, we have to do something other than what we enjoy doing.
It’s taken us quite a while to realize that when we put ourselves fully into the things that are fun for us, we have the greatest success, and guess what? People will pay us to do these things!! Who woulda thought?
We love putting people together and helping them to fulfill their goals. We haven’t yet figured out how to do that for lots of people, so we do it for a few people that we really love and feel connected with.
Liz Thompson:It’s amazing the caliber of people you two work with-Mark Victor Hansen, Bob Allen, Dr. Pankaj Naram, Rev. Dr. Michael Beckwith, Jack Canfield, the Kaballah Center, Catherine Lanigan, Jay Abraham, Catherine Oxenberg, T. Harv Eker, and the list goes on. How do you get so many incredible people from around the world to work with you?
Chris Attwood & Janet Attwood:Well, we have to give a plug for our good friends, Jan Brogniez and Stacey Hall, who wrote Attracting Perfect Customers (www.perfectcustomers.com). We have practiced Jan and Stacey’s Strategic Attraction Planning process, and it works!
We are clear about the kind of people we want to attract. We understand what values we need for them to have, and how we want to be treated by those people. We’re clear that our lives are about creating global transformation, to create a new world order, based on the recognition that at the most fundamental level we are not separate, but completely connected. Your interest is my interest, and vice versa. We want to deal with people who share this same understanding, however they may express it.
It’s fun for us to think of the people we work with and who are attracted to us as a cosmic army for good in the world. All these people you mentioned are doing great things, each in their own unique way. Our joy and delight is finding ways to hook them up with each other so they can have an even bigger impact.
If there is one thing we can put our finger on that attracts people to work with us, it’s that we have a sincere and deep desire to support and help these people. We always come from the place of giving, and we try to structure our relationships so that our benefit comes as part of the benefit our clients get from our services.
Liz Thompson: Does a balance between health, wealth, and spirituality play an important role in your personal and business life? If so, has it always been that way?
Chris Attwood & Janet Attwood: Balance is the central value in our lives. We have to thank Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for helping us to see the importance of all three– health, wealth, and spirituality–in living a fulfilled life.
Does that mean we’ve got this one wired? No. In our experience, achieving balance is an ongoing, continual process. Just when we think we’re doing really well, something will come up and throw everything off, and then it’s back to the drawing board. However, our lives today are considerably more balanced, and as a result, considerably more fulfilling, than they were in years past.
We’ve come to discover that the process of achieving a balanced, well-integrated life starts inside. The Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique has been huge for us achieving balance. What’s wonderful about TM (www.TM.org) is that with regular practice of this very simple, effortless mental technique, every aspect of life begins to improve — mental ability (they’ve even done studies showing IQ improves!!), health (on average, meditators have 50% less need for medical care than non-meditators), social behavior, and even the environment is affected.
The importance of this inside-out approach to creating balance is also one of the reasons we so love T. Harv Eker’s programs for creating wealth (www.peakpotentials.com). Harv teaches the principles of the Millionaire Mind. He shows how our beliefs about money and creating wealth create the outcomes we experience in our lives, and gives us ways to change our beliefs to create the outcomes we want.
Liz Thompson: You both were deeply involved in creating a mentoring program with Mark Victor Hansen and Robert Allen. What role have teachers/mentors played in your own outlook on health, wealth, and spirituality?
Chris Attwood & Janet Attwood: Our mentors have defined our life, and more importantly, allowed us to see who we are. Both of us were very fortunate to meet and study with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi from the age of 20. Without a doubt, Maharishi has played the biggest role in helping us understand the purpose and meaning of life. It is Maharishi who opened us up to a world of infinite possibilities. It was also Maharishi that helped us see that this world of apparent diversity, is unified at its basis, and that love is the glue which holds the diversity together in unity.
On this ground we have been fortunate to learn from many other mentors and teachers. Of course, we often say we have each been among the greatest teachers in each other’s lives.
In addition, Byron Katie and her incredibly simple, yet profound system of investigating thoughts that bring us unhappiness or suffering has had a major impact on both of us (www.thework.org). Mark and Bob, along with T. Harv Eker, and a number of others have taught us the principles of living a prosperous and abundant life, which have helped us begin to enjoy an outer life that reflects the richness of our inner life.
Liz Thompson: Has a lack of balance in your life ever stopped or harmed you, or kept you from reaching your goals?
Chris Attwood & Janet Attwood: Lack of balance has always been a lesson for us. When our lives are out of balance, we start feeling miserable, our productivity goes down, we can’t accomplish the things we set for ourselves. We’ve come to realize that these things are Nature’s way of telling us that we need to look at how we are living our lives.
So, now we pay attention. When we’re tired we rest. When we aren’t feeling well, we look at our diet, our exercise, our daily routine and see what needs to be fixed. We take those remedies we know are helpful. We do things to strengthen our immune system.
Byron Katie really helped us get the idea that God is good and God is everything. For us that means that nothing and no one is our enemy. Everything we experience is for our good, it’s just sometimes not obvious!
So, we have trained ourselves, and continue to train ourselves, to find the gift in everything. Whether things go well, or not, whether we feel great, or not, whether we are making lots of money, or not, we look to see what the blessing is that is being bestowed on us.
We’ve heard Bob Allen say Life is a seminar. That really rings true for us. We love the beginner’s mind — that state when we’re open, ready and excited to learn. We’ve discovered that when we are able to approach every experience in our life with that beginner’s mind, it’s just amazing what shows up for our learning and growth!
Liz Thompson: What part has fear played in helping you achieve your goals, or holding you back? Has fear ever stopped you from achieving a major goal?
Janet: I actually teach a workshop called Overcoming Fear. You know that saying, We teach what we need to learn? I purposely called the workshop overcoming fear, rather than eliminating fear, because for me, success is a process of acting in spite of fear, not acting without any fear at all.
Every successful person I’ve met, with the possible exceptions of Maharishi and Byron Katie, still experiences fear. It’s natural. The difference in the successful people is that they act, even though they are afraid things might not go the way they hope.
Personally, I face fear all the time: fear that my boyfriend will find someone else, fear that I won’t act quickly enough to take advantage of an opportunity, fear of dying in airplane crash, fear of lots of things. Overcoming fear is undoubtedly one of my big lessons.
For me, I just move through it. I know what I have to do and I do it, whether I’m afraid or not. And miraculously, most of the time things work out pretty well.
Chris: Fear has been a big issue for me as well. For me, the biggies are fear of failure and fear that my dreams won’t come true. I’ve seen both of these rooted in my childhood. Growing up it was incredibly important to me to have my parent’s approval. I carried that into adult life.
I didn’t really have to face the fear of failure fully until Janet and I were married. Up to that point, I’d enjoyed great success in virtually every area of my life: I’d accomplished the rezoning of an entire community in my early 20’s, founded a successful food cooperative, led a successful campaign that allowed the 13,000 students at my university to ride the buses for free, become General Manager of a multi-million dollar restaurant, become President of a secondary dealer in Government Securities, and then retired for ten years to pursue my spiritual goals.
Then, in the span of five years, I burned through four different jobs, felt like a failure in my marriage, and lost virtually all of my self-esteem. Of course, the truth was that my self-esteem had always had a hole in it, I just never had to face it so completely before that time in my life.
Once I convinced myself that I really could be a failure if I wanted to, and that it wasn’t really very pleasant, I was able to emerge, take a new job in a completely different arena, and become the top salesperson for my company opening accounts with Fortune 500 companies.
The latest one for me has been the fear I won’t be able to fulfill my dreams. I had this one down so well, I was ready to guarantee it came true. Fortunately, I realized that I was sabotaging myself.
The cure? I just had to jump in and commit myself in the direction of my dreams. I’m now fully, completely committed. I still don’t have control over whether all my dreams will come true or not (I have some pretty big dreams), but at least I’m not insuring that they won’t come true.
Liz Thompson: What do you feel has been your greatest accomplishment in life so far?
Chris Attwood & Janet Attwood: Without a doubt, the biggest accomplishment for both of us is our relationship. The fact that we have been able to return to a place of love, respect and even admiration, after what we have both had to endure with each other is almost unbelievable.
Liz Thompson: What, if any, kinds of setbacks have you dealt with along the way, and how has overcoming them colored who you are today?
Chris Attwood & Janet Attwood: Your readers will have to read our book to get the full story of our setbacks and our triumphs. We are happy to share advance chapters of the book. Those who are interested can go to www.stayinginlove.com/chapters.
In brief, we discovered that we each had beliefs about the way things should be that just didn’t match with the way things were. The funny thing about reality is that it always wins when we argue with it.
The more we hung on to our beliefs and tried to deny reality, the more pain we experienced. It was amazing how tightly we both kept hanging on to our beliefs, in spite of the pain. Finally, we just had to let them go. When that happened, everything changed. Of course, it’s a process. We’re still letting beliefs go. The difference now is that we’ve been through the process enough that most of the time we let go pretty quickly.
Our life has been completely transformed as we have learned to let go of resistance, and embrace change. It’s been an amazing journey. That’s why we’re so excited about Staying in Love, we believe that everyone who reads it will be able to experience the same kind of transformation we’ve enjoyed. And that’s incredibly exciting!!
Liz Thompson: We believe strongly in the power of intention to manifest outcomes. What is your current, most important project, and what intention would you like us here at HealthyWealthynWise, as well as our readers, to hold for you?
Chris Attwood & Janet Attwood: Staying in Love When the Marriage is Over is our most important project. We’d love to have your readers hold the intention that this book is read by millions of people.
Staying in Love is a paradigm shift. The idea that we can get a divorce and yet still have a loving relationship with our former mate is radical. And it’s so important for our society to make this shift.
As long as we are at war in our personal relationships, we will continue to see war boiling up in our world. When we have learned to heal our wounds on an individual level, have learned to forgive on a personal level, have learned to return to love in our personal relationships, then and only then will we see peace burst out on a global level.
Liz Thompson: What are the 3 main things you know now that you wish you had known earlier in life?
Chris Attwood & Janet Attwood: First, that we have control over action and action alone, not over the fruits of our actions. When we learn to enjoy the process for its own sake, we have discovered the key to a fulfilling life.
Second, we’re perfect exactly the way we are. Beating ourselves up or tearing ourselves down only leads to misery. Of course we will learn, of course we will grow, at the perfect pace. We don’t have to think that we need to be fixed. Self-acceptance is the basis of a loving relationship, with ourselves and with anyone else.
Third, our experience of the world is just our perspective. It’s no better and no worse than anyone else’s perspective. The key is, does our perspective add to the joy and happiness in our life, or does it make us miserable and depressed. We’ve all heard the saying, The glass is half empty or half full or One man’s treasure is another man’s trash. In our experience, life’s a lot more fun, and a lot more fulfilling when we choose to see the glass half full, and find the treasure rather than the trash.
Liz Thompson: If you could give our readers one piece of advice on how to move toward balanced abundance in their lives today, what would it be?
Chris Attwood & Janet Attwood: Be aware of how you’re experiencing your world. Are you expanded or are you contracted? In other words, are you open or are you shut down?
When we’re expanded, we feel full, happy, excited, welcoming, loving, and nurturing. When we’re contracted we feel frustrated, tense, angry, disappointed, sad, worried, and anxious.
Notice. Both expansion and contraction are natural parts of life. They happen to all of us, often many times a day. Expansion feels good. Contraction doesn’t. Contraction is a signal to us that something needs attention. It may be something internally, or it may be that we need to change something externally.
We don’t have to figure it out. All we need to do is have the desire to open again when we shut down. If we have the sincere desire to expand again, then help will come, and we’ll be able to return to that wonderful loving place of a full heart.
Liz Thompson: What is the single most important piece of advice you would like to leave our readers with that we haven’t yet discussed?
Chris Attwood & Janet Attwood: Our experience of life is fully within our control. We can have a life of bliss or a life of hell. It’s our choice. It’s just a matter of our perspective.
One thing is certain, when we argue with reality, we always lose. And, as Byron Katie says, only 100% of the time.
Katie’s simple four questions and the turnaround are a very powerful, though simple way to investigate the thoughts we have that contradict reality and get to the truth of them.
Harv Eker has said, You can be a victim, or you can be rich. It’s your choice. We’ve decided we choose to be rich. We hope your readers will join us.
Liz Thompson: I completely agree… Any parting thoughts?
Chris Attwood & Janet Attwood: Learning to expand when we contract, to open when we shut down, has the potential to yield incredible results in our lives. Things we never would have thought possible, become everyday realities.
Probably the biggest lesson we’ve learned from Mark and Bob is how important teams are to realizing the impossible. As they say, Team stands for, Together Everyone Achieves Miracles. A good positive, success-oriented team is magical. A great, success-oriented, supportive team is one of the tools that can help us expand when we contract.
On September 13-14 we will be leading a workshop called Staying Open in the Midst of Change. These two days are specifically designed to give participants the tools to stay open to miracles in their lives. The second day will focus on the structure for creating a successful mastermind team. We will be working personally with just 25 people during this weekend. For those of your readers who are ready to experience miracles, we invite them to apply for one of the remaining spaces (for more info go to www.stayinginlove.com)
One of the things that excites us about Healthy, Wealthy n Wise is that your magazine provides an incredible vehicle to allow so many people to connect with so many great resources, knowledge and tools. Thank you for what you’re doing to give all of us access to health, wealth and wisdom.
Liz Thompson: Wonderful, thank you so much Chris and Janet.