Enter Wendy Spiller Riese.
Wendy Spiller Riese is a life and career coach who a friend of mine mentioned to me one day after telling him about my situation and how I felt my acting career was going nowhere. Since desperate times call for desperate measures, I was pretty open to speaking with anyone who could help me create some sort of momentum or, at the very least, a plan. I decided to give Wendy a call.
The way my friend described her was that she hleps manifest the things that you want to have happen in your life, something I hadn’t really heard of before. In the past, when people used the word
“manifest,” to me it sounded like hippie-dippie, wishful, or positive thinking, which I didn’t give much credence to. I’d always been of that mindset that if you just put in the work, you will eventually start to see results. After all, I was noticing in my acting classes and in some auditions that my work was havning some sort of effect with regard to getting callbacks. However, I wasn’t booking anything. Basically, I wasn’t sealing the deal, so I was open to hear more about Wendy and what she could do.
On the day of my appointment, I drove through the winding Hollywood Hills until I reached her front gate, which had a big iron heart on it. Nice touch, I thought to myself as I buzzed her keypad. The gate slowly opened up. I drove up a steep driveway and parked my car. I knocked, and within a few seconds I heard a cacophony of barking dogs followed by the door opening up. Wendy is a beautiful blonde woman with amazing energy and she welcomed me with the biggest and warmest of smiles, and then led me into her study.
I have to say, it was pretty magical. She had crystals everywhere and beautiful art on the walls and a big plush purple couch, which she encouraged me to sit on. It felt very inviting and incredibly calming. She started out by asking me questions about where I came from, my childhood, what led me to Los Angeles, my relationships, and why I was there to see her. As I was telling her about my life, I found myself talking for about two hours as she wrote on a piece of paper. Before I knew it, she gave me the paper; I thought she was just taking notes, but what she did was turn every negative thing I had said into a positive.
She turned “I can’t find work, I can’t get an acting job, I can’t seem to find a girlfriend, and I’m broke” into “I work all the time on acting projects that inspire me, I’m so grateful and happy to have found the woman of my dreams, I’m making a ton of money, and I live in the house that I’ve always envisioned. There were about fifty such declarations. She then had me look into a mirror with blinking lights built into the frame and read the declarations to myself in this mirror. It felt stupid an embarrassing at first, but I had gone up there willing to try something new. I thought, “I don’t have much to lose.”
So, I went along with Wendy’s process and wholeheartedly started to say these phrases to myself. To be honest, after I finished, it did help begin to change my perspective and uplifted my mood a bit. She kept reiterating that it was important to focus on gratitude. She taught me that It’s a gratitude mindset, perspective, and feeling that needs to be present in order to attract whatever you want to bring into your life.
As I started to read more about manifesting and what Wendy was opening me up to, I began to become present to the fact that everything in this world is made up of energy. Everything. Because our thoughts and mindset are energy, we can actually influence the physical universe with our thoughts. What I didn’t
realize was that my mindset was mostly focused on the lack of things in my life such as work, fulfillment, money, and so on. I learned that when you are constantly focused on what you don’t have, you are sending that energy out into the physical world, and the universe simply responds and brings you more of that. Conversely, what Wendy opened my eyes and mind to was that by focusing on gratitude and repeating the declarations she had written down on that paper, I was changing my reality. By speaking those positive things into the mirror, I would be sending signals out to the physical universe that I, in fact, was ready to welcome these things into my life.
She then had me write down five goals that I wanted to achieve in life. She instructed me to make sure I wrote them in the present tense, as if they were already happening. So, I wrote some things such as,
“I’m a working actor on a hit TV show! I work on a major motion picture with A-list actors! I live in the house of my dreams, I contribute to society and people appreciate my work!” After I wrote these down, she mentioned that I should create a vision board, a collection of inspirational quotes, goals, and pictures that I’d put together and hang on my wall. The purpose was that every day, I fed my mind and reminded my subconscious of the things that I wanted to manifest.
Wendy also suggested I buy a copy of GQ magazine, cut out a picture of myself, and tape it onto the cover of the magazine, replacing who was actually featured on the cover. It may sound weird, but doing all these exercises was incredibly helpful because it made me get specific about what I wanted to manifest.
After I had written out my goals with Wendy and she explained to me about vision boards, she had me close my eyes and she asked me what my dream acting job would be. I said, “Working on a World War II film directed by Steven Spielberg.”
She asked, “Where is it shooting?”
I said, “In Paris.”
She pushed on with, “Who is your co-star?”
I replied, “Gwyneth Paltrow.”
She said, “Okay, so you’re on set in Paris. What color is the sky?”
What does the air feel like on your skin?”
“It’s a balmy 60 degrees.”
“Good,” she said. “Now what do your surroundings look like? What is Gwyneth Paltrow wearing? What color is her hair? What is the scene about?”
I answered her, creating this fictious scene in my head, and all the while it started to feel as if I were really there!
Wendy then proceeded to say, “Steven says, ‘Action!,’ You’re doing your scene with Gwyneth. Describe it to me.” I did this in full detail.
She then said, “Steven yells, ‘Cut!’ He walks over to you and Gwyneth, he puts his arms around both of you and says, ‘Amazing work.’ You and Gwyneth are smiling at each other because the film is complete and you know you made a beautiful movie. What does that feel like?” It was exhilarating! It was hard not to be completely swept up in the emotion of what I was imagining.
Wendy proceeded to then say, “Keep your eyes closed. Now encapsulate this whole scene you have created into a golden ball of light. Imagine this ball of light illuminating and emitting all the energy of the scene, and now, breathe that in through your nose. Breathe that into your body, down into your lungs. Breathe it down into your fingers, down into your legs, and all the way down into your toes. Breathe it into every single cell of your body so that every part of you experiences what it feels like being on set in Paris, working with Steven Spielberg and Gwyneth Paltrow.”
For ten minutes, I just sat there breathing all of this in. It was incredible and it completely changed my outlook and my perception as to why I wasn’t booking anything. I realized I was focusing too much on nothing happening and not enough on what I wanted to breing more of into my life. I left there with a renewed sense of resolve. I didn’t really tell anyone about my going to see Wendy, but I was reading my declarations every day, before I went to bed and when I woke up every morning, and I started writing in a journal about the things I was grateful for.
Within two weeks, I got a call from my agent saying that he had gotten me an audition. I went to pick up the script at my agency, went to a coffee shop, and started to read it. This may sound crazy, but it was a World War II love story called Beautiful Dreamer. I flew through the script, started memorizing my lines, and went in the next morning for the audition. My agent called me later that day saying that they really liked me for the part, and that I was of three guys being considered for the role.
This was starting to get a little creepy, having just created this in my mind two weeks prior on a purple couch in a complete stranger’s house, but I thought, “hey, if it means I get to act in this film, I’ll take it!” My agent then let me know that I was scheduled to go back in a couple days and this time, I’d be doing a chemistry read with the main actress, Brooke Langton. It wasn’t Gwyneth Paltrow, but she was cute and had a similar essence, and at this point I was just grateful to be going back in. It was a Friday when I went in for this chemistry audition and Brooke and I hit it off exceptionally well. We had a great read together and I was really excited about potentially getting this role.
I went home after the audition, feeling like the work Wendy and I had done together was really paying off. Unfortunately, a few hours later, I got a call from agent saying that had chosen one of the other guys for the role, but “they really like me.” Great consolation.
Through the weekend, I was disappointed. I was encouraged , however, with this “manifestation stuff” which seemed to be something I could actually start doing more of. So, I continued repeating my declarations and writing inside my gratitude journal. This is where it gets even weirder. Monday comes around and I get a call from my agent, saying the actor that they had chosen for Beautiful Dreamer had just gotten word that he got hired on a Steven Spielberg film. He dropped out of Beautiful Dreamer and the producers wanted me to come back and read one more time with Brooke because they were considering another actor as well and wanted to compare the two of us.
I went back for a third time and decided the role was going to be mine. I did, however, walk in with a
“take if or leave it” attitude. I knew I was this character regardless of whether the producers saw it or not. In my heart and in my gut, I was the guy.
A few hours after walking out of the audition, I got the call from my agent saying I had won the role. Who can really say if this was a coincidence or not? However, when you look at where I was two weeks before sitting on Wendy’s couch, manifesting a World War II love story directed by Steven Spielberg and
that I was now about to a shooting a World War II love story with a Steven Spielberg component to it, it was all I needed to recognize the power of what Wendy shared with me…the power of manifestation.
THE SECRET ABOUT THE SECRET
“Anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles
is not a realist.”
- Audrey Hepburn
When I met Wendy, she had also mentioned the book and movie The Secret to me. If you haven’t seen or read it, I’d highly recommend it doing so. The premise of The Secret is similar to what Wendy had me do in our session together. By Changing one’s perception from a negative mindset to a place of gratitude, you feed your subconscious the appropriate programming necessary to attract whatever it is you want to manifest in your life. I’d actually recommend watching the film over reading the book. Hearing first-hand accounts and testimonies from the numerous authors, met-physicists, psychologists, and researchers about how this process works, in my opinion, is much more impactful.
I’ve heard many people scoff at the concept of The Secret and write it off as wishful thinking or some new age scam. What I’ve discovered is that their misconception is based on the belief that just by wishing for or having positive thoughts about something you want such as a million dollars, it will suddenly appear. What I think people miss is that to manifest something, you not only have to think it and believe it, you also, must really feel and experience it even before it has happened. It’s when you put yourself into your dreams and continually take action toward manifesting them that they come true. It’s about the combination of thought, feeling, AND action.
Had I not gone to acting classes and had I not gone to my agency to pick up the script for Beautiful Dreamer and had I not read it and gone in for the audition three different times to actually win the role, my dream of acting in a World War II film would not have been realized. By sitting down and taking the time to visualize what it was I wanted to create and feeling it down to the core of my being, I was more likely to take the actions necessary to make it happen.
One example of manifesting is to go test drive your dream car. By being up close and actually experiencing what it is you want, it becomes more real to you and less of a far-off idea. Open the door, get in the car, smell the leather, turn the engine on, take it for a test drive and feel the way corners and hugs the road. By tapping into your primal senses and feeding your subconscious with the raw materials for what you want to manifest, the universe will naturally respond. Another example would be to wear a ring on your finger if your desire is to find a life partner and create the feeling of what it means to you to be married.
Author Jack Canfield, a huge proponent of the Law of Attraction, made a cameo appearance in The Secret movie. Jack has written many books. Among his first was Chicken Soup for the Soul, written with Mark Victor Hansen. In fact they wound up writing an entire series of these books. In The Secret, he talked about how when he was in his late 20’s, his mentor, W. Clement Stone, instructed him to set a goal that was so big and so unbelievable that if he achieved it, he would know that it was a result of him following his program for success.
At the time, Jack was a schoolteacher, making about $8,000 per year. So he set a goal of making
$100,000 in the next calendar year. To reinforce this to his subconscious mind, he took a $100 bill, and using a projection screen to make it bigger, traced it and added three zeroes so it looked like $100,000. When he was finished, the bill was two by three feet. He then taped it to the ceiling above his bed. Every morning when he woke up, the first thing he would see was that $100,000 bill. Understanding a lot about the Law of Attraction, he also would say several abundance and prosperity affirmations, then he would close his eyes and visualize living a $100,000 lifestyle, including his ideal car, house, and the charities, to which he would contribute. He understood how crucial it was to feel the power of living his dream.
At that time, he was selling his first book (before Chicken Soup) and making about $2,000 a year from it. He was inspired to put an ad in the National Enquirer, and his sales shot through the roof. He also started charging more than he ever had for speaking engagements. To make a long story short, he didn’t make $100,000 in the next year, but he came pretty darned close. He reports he made a little over
$92,000 – way more than he’d ever previously manifested. That’s just one story that resonates with me about the power of the Law of Attraction and visualization. What is it that you want to manifest? Try it!
His story, coupled with my own experience with Beautiful Dreamer, made me start to realize that life can be shaped towards what I want for it to be more than I thought possible. Looking at it this way, you can begin to find an opening to be more of an artist, the creator of what you want for your life, ant that you really do have the ability to “order” whatever you desire. If what you want is not on the menu, you really do have the ability to request a special order. The universe responds to the energy you resonate with. By deciding what you want in life and living that decision with passion and enthusiasm, you can truly be the artist that creates your own life, even if you didn’t grow up thinking that way.
Manifestation is not, however, something that happens overnight. And so it’s important not to let our daily survival routine get in the way of continually nurturing what it is that we want to manifest. The process of manifesting must be practiced every day. Whether it’s journaling in the morning or at night before you to bed as I do, or having a vision board in view most of the day or reading declarations of who you need to be into the mirror, it’s got to be an integral part of your life. You must feed your mind and subconscious with visual , mental, and audio cues that inspire you. Every day It’s essential to renew your conviction and gratitude that what you want is not a ‘want,’ but something already present in your life.
An analogy someone shared with me: this law is similar to a seed that your plant in the ground. If you keep watering it for a few weeks but still don’t see anything, it’s easy to give up and stop watering because you’re not seeing any results. Little do you know that the seed was just on the brink of breaking through the dirt and blossoming when you stopped watering it. If you get discouraged and stop watering too soon, your dream will wither and die.
I’m a firm believer that if you commit to the process, you can create and manifest whatever it is that you want to have in your life. I have learned and experienced first-hand that by aligning the essence of who I am with who I need to be in order to in order to manifest my dreams, that this process truly works. I’m excited to hear about what you manifest for yourselves!
HOW TO BE A TRANSPLANTED, UNABORTED FETUS
“think left and think right and think low and think high.
Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.
- Dr. Suess
After seeing Wendy and putting into practice what she taught me to do, things started happening that I can’t explain. There was no explanation other than that these things were a result of the ideas I was focusing on and manifesting. One of the declarations I had written down with Wendy was, “I work on a major motion picture with A-list actors.” After I finished shooting Beautiful Dreamer, out of the blue I got a phone call from my agent saying that the casting director for a film called Must Love Dogs staring Diane Lane and John Cusack wanted me to play a role in the film and I didn’t even need to audition for it. It was a straight offer! The role was small, but it was something, and more importantly, I was starting to generate momentum by continuously practicing looking at the world from a place of creative manifestation and gratitude.
Before I knew it, my agent sent me another audition for a role on the long-standing ABC soap opera All My Children. This was one of the most popular daytime shows on television at the time. It also happened to be my mom and my sister’s favorite soap while I was growing up. I remember seeing the likes of Erika Kaine, Adam Chandler, and Tad Martin flitting around the TV in our living room while I was playing with my G.I. Joes and Matchbox cars. There were about eight other daytime shows on air at the time. The irony that the one I grew up with and had an emotional connection with was the very show “requesting me”, was not at all lost on me at this point.
By now I was starting to feel more confident in my auditioning. I was actually beginning to go into my auditions with more of a sense of ownership than anxiety. Normally, I would find myself walking into auditions, signing in, and noticing the other ten guys in the waiting room who looked similar to me, including popular working actors who I had seen on TV and in films. Often times, I would get intimidated that I was auditioning against much more experienced actors that I’d unwittingly allow my insecurities to sabotage my performance. A lot of the time, I was just grateful that I even got the audition – actually booking anything would have been a far-fetched dream.
As I consistently practiced the attraction process, however, I began to feel more confident in my classes and auditions. I was beginning to recognize that my ability as an actor was becoming better and my talent, more refined. I attribute this to the fact that I had created the expectation for myself that “I am a working actor.” It was as if my talent began to follow suit with the mindset I had created and in turn, was manifesting daily. I felt the universe was meeting me in this space, and we were conspiring together to make magic happen. This is an incredibly exciting place to live your life from. It’s one I work to recreate daily. As a result I started to look at my auditions from a place of fear, nervousness, and intimidation, and more from a perspective of curiosity, excitement, and exploration. I was able to show the casting directors my particular take on the role without thinking or worrying about my competition.
I also was immersing myself in the lives of actors I admired. I read biographies of actors like Montgomery Cliff, Paul Newman, and Robert De Niro. I’d consume magazine and TV interviews with actors I wanted to be like. I started to realize that their thought processes were very similar to mine in the beginning of their careers. It seemed they too had started to shift their mentality at a certain point when it came to auditioning. This made me realize that everyone starts somewhere and that anything worthwhile is a process and a journey. What I was also starting to recognize is that everyone has their own path and pace of progress and growth.
It was becoming evident to me, as well, that it does no good to compare yourself to anyone else. No two people area on identical paths. Poet and writer William Blake once said, “I will not reason and compare; my business is to create.” To further this point, two-time Academy Award-winning actress Hilary Swank, who was one of the producers on a film I did called Something Borrowed, writes, “we often find ourselves comparing, especially on social media. It’s really impossible and fruitless to compare without knowing everyone’s whole story. We are all on our own unique journey, each in a different place on that journey than any other…let’s remember to keep our head in our own game, working towards our unique purpose.”