Growing up in Ohio in a culture of football, beer bongs, and factory workers, I would have been voted least like to embrace anything new age-y. Fast forward a few decades and now I’m pretty much a California cliché who wears yoga pants more often than not, meditates regularly, and owns a collection of crystals. Before you speculate that I’ve been taken over by California pod people, I can still be pretty cynical, I’m not vegan, sometimes I still smoke cigarettes, and I’m totally addicted to Criminal Minds. Basically, I’m still me.
I also know that manifestation and meditation work. Manifestation isn’t just for people who only speak in mantras or affirmations, it’s a tool for anyone who wants to attract more of the things they want and less of the things they don’t. Despite being skeptical in my ability to manifest, the events of the past six months have erased any doubt. And, you can do it too.
It was December and I was sitting in my car outside of the doctor’s office where I had just received some potentially bad news that would require several tests over the next year. Struggling to hold back tears, I pulled an envelope out of my purse that had been attached to my front door. As I hurried to my doctor’s appointment I threw it in my bag to read later. The letter was from my landlord, and it included a 60-day notice for me and my roommate Amanda to vacate our house or shell out an extra $1,000 a month for a rent increase. I called Amanda and told her that we would have to move. She was standing by her own car, which had just broken down on the Los Angeles freeway.
Just a few hours before, everything had seemed fine. It was almost Christmas, we had a nice house with a big yard for our dogs, and for once – life felt relatively stable. In one day our lives turned into a proverbial dumpster fire. When we both got home we made a decision that would change our lives. “Let’s look at this as an opportunity to manifest what we actually want,” I suggested. While we liked our house in North Hollywood, the oppressive heat of the San Fernando Valley summers can only be compared to hell’s mouth and we really wanted to live at the beach where it was 20 degrees cooler and we weren’t reduced to cutting all of our shirts in half because we could barely stand wearing clothes in our un-air-conditioned house.
Earlier that month I’d had an astrological birth chart reading, and my astrologer said that in order to get what I wanted I would not only need to write it down, but I needed to say it out loud, and I needed to tell people. So, that’s exactly what I did. Our ideal-home list detailed a place near the beach in a safe neighborhood with laundry and parking. I also made a personal list that included attracting more freelance-writing opportunities, financial stability, mental and physical health, and a chance to interview my personal hero, Lady Gaga.
I put the list on the wall in my room and built an altar underneath it. Then, I posted it to Facebook to let everyone know what I wanted from the universe. I felt like I was coming out of the closet as a flakey, new age-y Los Angeles cliché, but I didn’t care. Because the astrologer also said we were going to find our next place to live from someone we knew, I asked publically for help from anyone in our circle who knew of places to live that met our criteria. I did manifestation meditations on the regular, and I was extremely clear about what I wanted. If you’re familiar with the book The Secret, manifestation is basically the law of attraction. It’s putting what you want out in the universe and attracting it back.
Some people call this faith. However, the difference in my mind is that with faith you’re putting the outcome into the hands of a higher power with the idea that that higher power knows what’s best for you. Manifestation involves actively working with the universe to attract what you want, not what the universe thinks you need – though sometimes that happens too. Once we committed to this new mindset, things started to happen right away. I’d spent the previous year building up my freelance career on the heels of leaving a toxic corporate job, and after being crystal clear about wanting to attract more freelance clients, it started to happen in waves.
In January I got a six-month contract gig earning more money for a single project than I’d ever received before. Other media outlets started reading my work online and seeking me out to write for them. I secured another contract gig that would give me the financial security I craved. I started a new medication for chronic depression, and I began to have more good days than bad for the first time in years. And, while I haven’t yet interviewed Lady Gaga, I did get the opportunity to interview her mom Cynthia Germanotta for Mental Health Awareness Month (there’s still six months left in the year so that Gaga interview is still on my list, and it’s going to happen).
Amanda was focused on new freelance clients as well, but she also wanted to attract more travel opportunities. Ask and you shall receive my friendlies. Since making our list she has taken on a new client and traveled all over the world for free as a writer for a California-based magazine. Despite our shower of good fortune, the one thing we couldn’t seem to attract was the home we wanted. Minutes away from signing a lease for an apartment at the beach that had once been a castle, we discovered myriad hidden fees that made our dream pad financially unattainable. As our 60 days wore on, we looked in every neighborhood in Los Angeles, and everything we could afford was a dump. We were determined not to compromise.
With a week left until we had to move, we decided the only thing to do was put our things in storage and continue to look for a place while we crashed with friends. During this time our landlord stopped by to check on some things in the house. She noticed we hadn’t packed a thing, and when we told her we had nowhere to go she offered to give us a 60-day grace period. By mid-May, the search was still fruitless. With less than two weeks to go, I discovered a litter of stray kitten in our attic crawl space. After spending a week rescuing the kittens and placing them in a foster home, we both left for travel writing assignments with the full knowledge that we’d have nowhere to live when we got home. Just as panic was about to set in, our landlord called and offered us another 30 days.
Each morning I spent several hours scanning all of the apartment rental sites. We’d decided that we wanted to get a summer sublet at the beach and try to find a permanent place in the fall. As I followed up on listing after listing, most of which turned out to be scams, the universe finally came through. There was a two-month sublet in our price range that was only two blocks from the beach. As I put the number into my phone to call the owner, I was surprised to see that I already had it in my contacts. It was my old landlord Steve – the person I knew who was going to facilitate my new home. I hadn’t thought about Steve in years, and when my astrologer told me about how we were going to find our home, Steve never crossed my mind. It turned out that he had just bought a fourplex two weeks earlier, which is why we had to wait so long for this gem to pop up.
Here’s the thing about manifestation. While you have the ability to do it, that doesn’t mean it’s not difficult and fraught with uncertainty. If we had given up sooner we’d have signed a lease somewhere we didn’t want to live nowhere near the beach. If I hadn’t spent so much time looking online for an apartment, I never would have come across Steve’s listing. By trusting that universe would support us, and waiting out being uncomfortable, we eventually got what we wanted.
However, we had to work our asses off because manifestation is a collaboration with the universe. Just saying what you want isn’t enough. You have to take active steps toward it.
The past six months have not been easy. Not knowing where you’re going to live from month to month is stressful AF. There were a lot of tears and a lot of self-doubt. But, the others things on our list that we were able to successfully bring into our lives were proof that if we stayed the course, things would eventually work out.
Want to give it a try? The first step to manifesting what you want is actually believing you can do it. Be clear about what you want. Instead of saying, “I want more money,” say out loud how you intend to earn that money and why you need it. For example, I wrote and said out loud that I wanted to earn money writing for outlets that aligned with my values, and I needed that money to stabilize my finances. If things don’t happen right away, don’t give up. Manifestation can take awhile, and things don’t always happen in a straight line.
Most important, make sure you do your part because the universe is not a solo artist. Build an altar with crystals or items that are lucky for you, add your manifestation list to the mix, and meditate in front of it regularly. I use a manifestation breathing meditation from healer and teacher David Elliott. Be firm about what you’re after – make sure it’s something that’s beneficial to both you and the world at large – and don’t accept less than you deserve just because you’re afraid you won’t get your heart’s desire. I know this sounds kind of out there, but I have seen it at work with people I know (and with myself) enough that I am a true believer.
If you need an anthem to keep you going, Lady Gaga’s song “Marry The Night” is all about manifestation. She wrote it after the worst day of her life – when she was in the hospital and learned she been dropped from her first record label, Island Def Jam. Faced with the decision to either give up or start over from scratch, she put it out to the universe that she was going to succeed. She moved to Los Angeles where she got a contract writing songs for artists like Britney Spears, which eventually landed her a recording contract at Interscope. She played up to three shows a day in small clubs to break her first album. While she is dubbed an overnight success, it actually took her seven years. She actively worked with the universe to get what she wanted, and because she believed she could do it, she did. And, you can too. Go forth and slay like a boss.
Have experiences manifesting your dreams? Share your story in the comments below.