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Back in 1997, my friend, Donna, and I were hanging out in my car talking when she reached down into her bag and pulled out a tape.

Here, listen to this. It’s about this thing called Law of Attraction. It basically describes how the universe will reflect back to you what you think most about. Now, keep an open mind, Carl. You never know what could happen.”

You have to know that I was in a deeply cynical phase in my life at the time. I really didn’t want to have anything to do with anything new-agey or spiritual. I was fed up with these self-help gurus promising the world.

But I took the tape and told her I’d listen to it when I got the chance. Later that evening, I popped the tape into the player and began to listen.

According to the tape, if you could hold a thought in your mind for about 17 seconds, the universe would reflect it back to you in some tangible way. It suggested trying a simple experiment – pick an object of little importance, say a bottle or watch or maybe a type of car and hold it in your mind for 17 seconds, repeating the exercise if you find your thoughts wandering. Then a short time afterwards you will see various “reflections” of the object.

A few days later while at the beach, I remembered the experiment. I decided to give it a shot. I climbed up a sand dune, found an isolated spot surrounded by trees, and sat down in a comfortable position. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and emptied my mind of any doubts or concerns.

I decided to pick a yellow Monarch butterfly as my object to imagine. I visualized a butterfly fluttering around my head and landing on the palm of my hand. I saw its wings, the patterns, colors. As its wings slowly opened and closed, I felt its lightness.

Now, try holding a thought or image for 17 long seconds – it ain’t easy! But after five or six attempts, I finally did it. At one point, I even felt what it would be like to be the butterfly.

Alright. So I did it. I opened my eyes.

And what did I see?

I saw a butterfly, right?


No butterfly!

There were none to be found anywhere. For the rest of the day I looked for it. Nothing. No butterfly.

Ah, see? I thought to myself. This is all a bunch of new-age mumbo-jumbo. It’s crap.

The next day, I was still looking for the butterfly. Again, nothing. Hell, I couldn’t even manage to see a fly, mosquito, seagull flying … nothing.

Day three.

I had forgotten all about the experiment. And I remember playing my guitar and feeling frustrated for whatever reason (I think I was bored with playing the same things over and over again). So I decided to call my friend, Donna, to vent.

And in the middle of my ranting over the phone, she cuts me off.

“Carl! Just stop, will you? Just get that butterfly off your shoulder!

What?!? What did you just say?” I screamed (Remember, we’re on the phone!).

“Get that damn butterfl…”

“Wait!,” I said. “What kind of butterfly is it?”

(Are you ready for this?)

She says, “It’s an orange … no, it’s a yellow Monarch butterfly.”

My god! There it was!

My butterfly had arrived!

I told her that I had listened to the tape she gave me and that I had picked a yellow Monarch butterfly as my object to visualize. I remember her screaming and then dropping the phone. “Wow! Really? That’s so cool.”

She gave me my butterfly and in a way that I could never, ever have predicted.


This was to be the first of hundreds of what I like to call “intentional synchronicities” and was the beginning of a complete shift of my perspective on the nature of luck, coincidence, and synchronicity.

And now, more than 10 years later, I have come to know that indeed we have a say in what comes into our lives. And each and every time it happens, I find it unbelievable.

But I know better now.

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