The problem with "manifestation"

So here I am, sat at my laptop and about to write a blog post I never expected to write.

Because that word manifestation? It’s one I’ve always loved… I’m a huge fan of a vision board and an affirmation; I’ve written blog posts before extolling the virtues of manifestation, and in my Aurora days I even co-ran a full day’s workshop on the subject.

But lately I have to be honest, I’ve become more than a little bleurgh about that term.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still a firm believe that we’re all capable of creating the life we love. And hell, I even believe that there is plenty of support out there to help us do just that if we’re happy to call on it.

But to me, the whole idea of “manifestation” that’s become so popular in the world over recent years misses out one super important thing…


For those who aren’t familiar with the Secret, the Law of Attraction or any of those other things that link that one very common term, let me explain: very simply they’re all based on the same common idea that if we set the intention of what we want, think positive and surround ourselves with evidence of those things being true then they can’t help but appear.

Hell, this isn’t even a particularly hippy theory, even Einstein himself apparently said: “Everything is energy… match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. This is not philosophy, this is physics.”

Now I’m no scientist, and I’m definitely not going to argue with Einstein on physics. But honestly Al? I think your words have been twisted over the years to tell only half of the story.

And consequently, time and time again there are two things I see people panicking about or missing completely thanks to this saccharine sweet idea of manifestation.

What about your shadows?

The first is the idea that in order to get what they want, they have to be positive. All of the flipping time.

That sounds great, right? I mean, who wouldn’t love to dance through life with a smile on their face and the sparkles of rainbows in their eyes?

But no, it’s not real. To coin a phrase, shit happens. And if you spend all of your time grinning from ear to ear even when shit does happen, well then you’re not matching the energy of what you try to attract, you’re pretending. And that doesn’t help anyone – least of all you and the life you’re trying to create.

So what about the days when something bad happens? Or maybe it’s not even something bad, maybe it’s just that you’re feeling tired/hormonal/pissed off/just having an hour where you’d prefer to grump and roll your eyes at the Universe rather than skip about proclaiming how wonderful life is?

Ready? Here’s my wisdom on this one: Be honest. Let yourself feel it and know that it’s OK to have those days. Hell, it’s bloody normal to have those days and anyone who tells you that life should be 100% rainbows and bunny rabbits is either lying or slightly unhinged.

The secret (pun totally intended) though is not to lose yourself in those days or that mindset.

By letting yourself feel it you can work through it, get it out of your system, and more than likely heal one of the things that’s been holding you back all along.

Then once you’re through that slump you can step back and look at the bigger picture of where it came from, what you learned, and how you could maybe avoid feeling like that in the future.

Because in my experience, going back and finding the positives in the day – even on the shitty days – is a way more beneficial experience than trying to force every single moment to be and feel positive.

Because just to be clear, bad things will happen. In fact, the more you start focusing on creating a life that you love, the more likely it is that you’ll go through a phase of past experiences or patterns flaring up and causing you problems.

In her book (an awesome book by the way) Denise Duffield-Thomas talks about how when we start to consciously work on changing our attitude to money, we’ll likely notice that things get worse before they get better.

Why? Because all of those old habits and feelings are suddenly given the opportunity to come up to the surface and be witnessed and cleansed… kind of like the spot that appears on your face a few days after you start eating clean.

But if we can delve into those metaphorical pimples rather than cursing them and using them as an example of how nothing will ever change for the better, well that’s when the magic happens?

Get in the bloody helicopter!

My other issue with the way “manifestation” is presented nowadays? Honestly, it’s kind of passive and encourages us to be a little bit lazy.

You know me, I’m a firm believer that there are sources out there in the Universe that are actively working to make our lives better, and are waiting for us to ask for their help in doing just that.

And I’m not for one second suggesting that we all need to work like dogs and devote every second of our lives to “doing” something that brings our dreams into reality.

But I do think we need to take action. To keep an eye out for the opportunities that are sent our way and do what we need to find those opportunities too.

Say you’ve put the intention out there for a new job – that’s fantastic, and I am certain that the right one will be sent your way. But that’s not to say that you can’t register with a job site, or send your resumee to a company or two you’d like to work for along the way!

One of my favourite little parables ever is about a man who’s house is being flooded. As he sits in an upstairs window the coastguard sails down the street in his boat and says: “Hey, I’m here to take you to safety. Climb in!”

The man shakes his head, “Thank you but no. God will save me.”

A few hours later the water has risen and the man is perched on his roof when a little rowing boat comes along. “Get in!” says the sailor, “I’m here to take you safety.”

Again the man shakes his head, “God will save me.” And off the boat sails.

A few hours later the man is hanging on to the very edge of his chimney when a helicopter hovers overhead. “I’m here to save you, get in!”

“No,” shouts the man, over the noise of the propellers. “God will save me!”

And so off the helicopter flies, taking with it the man’s last chance at safety. The guy eventually drowns of course, and by the time he reaches the other side he’s seriously pissed off.

“All this time I believed in God to save me,” he proclaims. “How could he let me down?!”

Saint Peter (because obviously in this story he mans the pearly gates) shrugs, “We sent two boats and a helicopter mate, what more did you want?!”

And isn’t that the sum of it? We can create all the vision boards we want, but we have to take action too… maybe not on the first boat that comes along, but when the time is right for us we have to jump. Because without action our dreams are only ever wishes.

That’s not to say we should take all-out crazy actions – I am definitely not advocating the deposit on a giant house until you know you can make the repayments. But that doesn’t mean you can’t look around for the houses you want, or take a drive around the neighbourhood you want to live in and start buying your groceries from the local supermarket that’ll be yours one day…

So what do we do instead?

For me the good old Einstein quote wasn’t wrong, it’s just that our instant gratification society’s way of interpreting it has missed part of the point.

Because to match your energy to the energy of what you want is about more than forcing yourself to be happy – it’s about healing the things that stop you moving forward; about doing what you can to help yourself feel more fulfilled in the here and now; and about having the faith in your own ability to create miracles that you go off and start looking for them, preparing for them.

It’s why I work the way I do – not just on swooping in and promising to help clients create the life they love; but first on making peace with and healing the past, and then on embracing the present in order to prepare for that next piece of the puzzle and for creating the future that you’re so bloody deserving of, and which is already closer than you realise.

And in my own life? Well of course that means sticking with the vision boards, the affirmations and the positive imagery (my phone screen vision board is a thing of beauty!) because I love them, they make me smile, and I firmly believe that being surrounded by those things every day helps me to break down the barriers that have held me back from what I want in the past.

But it also means setting myself goals; from the small daily goals to the weekly “I will” lists and the annual plans and intentions; and then following up on all of those goals not because I “must” do them to get to where I want to be, but because they’re my way of committing to my journey and the life I want to create.

#creatingthelifeofyourdreams #creation #healing #peacewithyourpast #thepresent #connection #counselling #coaching