THE VOICE OF AN AWAKENING WORLD
mystical man who wrote Journey to Ixtlan and all these
I had no business background. I wasn’t even set up to
take credit cards. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I
called his office and I said, “Hi, I’d like to produce an event
with Carlos Castaneda.”
Time Warner Publishing asked me to create a few more
events. Then one day we got this phone call. My mom
answered, and she was all excited. She put the caller on
hold and said, “Liz, it’s Wayne Dyer. I think you should
talk to him.”
“Who’s Wayne Dyer?” I asked.
When I got on the phone, this booming voice said, “Hi.
It’s Dr. Wayne Dyer.”
“Hi, I’m Liz Dawn,” I replied.
My mother’s in the background saying, “He’s really big!
He’s really big!”
Then of course we started meeting people. Doreen
Virtue fell into our laps, as did Marianne Williamson and
While I was growing up in New York, my mother had
been director of a summer camp in Connecticut for 16
years. She understood how to organize 200 or 300 campers
and a hundred or so counselors and make it work. I
intuitively understood marketing. We just fell into being
this amazing team.
Many people have told me, “I’m so envious—you had such
a great relationship.” But it was rocky growing up. My mom
married three times and each father was worse than the one
before, so we had to work through that after her last divorce,
when I was about 25. She embarked on a lot of intensive
personal development then and became a psychotherapist as
a result. I was very angry because of all this garbage I’d been
through as a kid, but she was willing to go into a therapist’s
office and hammer things out with me.
Later, when we started our business together, we still
had a few issues to discuss. I have a big personality, and I
had to learn not to roll over my mom on decisions. I had
to learn to be more respectful, more honoring of her needs
and who she was in the world—a brilliant woman and a
brilliant spiritual teacher. (She was really my first spiritual
teacher—she was a wild, kind of hippie mom. When I
was 16, she had me meditating and taking spirulina.) Our
From 1995 to 2002, we did one event a month. We’d bring
in Wayne for a workshop. The next month, it might be
Gregg Braden. The month after that, Neale Donald Walsch,
and then maybe Cheryl Richardson or Caroline Myss.
In 2002 we created the first Celebrate Your Life conference
and brought together about 20 visionaries—the who’s-
who of the spiritual community—in one place at one
time. Celebrate Your Life events became so popular that
they all sold out. We also started doing smaller events and
having conferences in other cities. In 2017, after all the
challenges going on with women’s issues, I offered our first
International Women’s Summit, which had always been a
vision of my mother’s. We’re holding another one in March
(see box for details).
A lot of millennials come now. They’re more thoughtful
than I was at their age, and they want to better understand
what’s going on with their lives, to dive deeper. That’s one
of the reasons we created our intensive retreat programs
People who have never been to events, who wouldn’t
have had the courage to step out of their comfort zone,
come to these programs because they’re seeking. Half
the magic is the speakers, the other half is the soul
tribe connection. Best friends have met at our events.
People have begun intimate relationships. The collective
energy of everyone coming together in community is
transformational. There’s nothing like the magic that
This article was
adapted from an
interview Liz Dawn
gave to Diane Ray on
her Unity Online Radio
show, Be Present:
The Diane Ray Show,
at 3 p.m. (CT) on
Celebrate Your Life’s next event is the
International Women’s Summit on
March 7–10, 2019, in Phoenix, Arizona.
Speakers will include Eat Pray Love author
Elizabeth Gilbert, activist and Love Warrior
author Glennon Doyle Melton, Wild author
Cheryl Strayed, and No Matter What! author
Lisa Nichols, who appeared in the movie The
Secret. Visit celebrateyourlife.org.