'Your mind is a magnet, so use it!' says Judy, the facilitator in the camel coloured slacks. 'Whatever you focus on, you will attract.'
It's 10 o'clock on Saturday morning and I'm sitting on a razor blade grey bucket chair in a hotel conference suite, staring up at a large crack in the ceiling. My editor has forced me to attend this workshop on Manifesting Abundance and I'm feeling deeply resentful.
'Any scientist will tell you that similar energy is drawn to similar energy,' says Judy to the sixteen workshop attendees. 'You attract into your life what you think about. This applies to both positive and negative, so if you focus on the lack of something in your life - money, love, health etc - you will only experience more of that lack.'
Judy has certainly deployed the abundance principle when it comes to her jewelry. She's heaving with the stuff - a gigantic tortoiseshell necklace, several matching tortoiseshell bracelets, brown and orange disc-shaped earrings and assorted onyx rings. Her hair matches her slacks and I wonder if she's done that on purpose.
'The trick,' says Judy, 'is to remember a time when you felt abundant and re-create that feeling in your body, This will align your energy to attract yet more abundance.'
I hear a clatter of wheels. It's the catering trolley arriving a little prematurely, to judge from Judy's frown. I twist my head to scan the contents. Clearly, Judy is using the same catering company as the one for the meditation workshop, so I already know the score; croissants, some pastries filled with sickly-looking custard and some boring brown biscuits.
'A good tip,' says Judy, smoothing down a non-existent crease in the left leg of her camel coloured slacks, 'is to be grateful for what you already have. Gratitude has one of the highest vibrations on the planet.'
I count the croissants. Eight between sixteen people! That's just rubbish. No one's going to want those horrid pastries with the curdled custard inside. And the cheap seat biscuits might as well be binned immediately. Either Judy is penny-pinching (thus negating this entire workshop) or the catering company has cocked up. Either way, come break-time I'm going to have to peg it to the refreshments table.
'A final tip for this first session,' says Judy, 'is to give away what you want. You desire more money? Be generous! Want people to appreciate you? Appreciate them first! Long for love? Give love away!' She checks her watch and nods towards the refreshments table, telling us we have fifteen minutes.
I launch myself up from the bucket chair and march - as casually as possible - towards the refreshments table. I'm almost there when a woman I recognise from the meditation workshop intercepts me.
'Hi,' she says extending her hand.
'Not now,' I say.
I've finally elbowed my way to the croissant plate. There's only one left. I reach towards it, but another hand clanking with tortoiseshell bracelets shoots forward. I snatch up the croissant, pop it onto one of the polystyrene plates and give Judy a big fat abundant smile.
To be continued next Friday...