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When The Secret came out in 2006, many of us dropped what we were doing and joined the cult of positivity.
It sounded great, after all. Just be positive and good things will flow to you, effortlessly.
Unfortunately, what many of us really subscribed to was a belief that if we blocked out all of our terrible, dangerous, and negative thoughts and feelings and just focused on what we wanted, we could finally manifest the lives of our dreams. Who wants to deal with all of that icky stuff, anyway?
Sure sounded great to me!
If you’re like me, however, this belief system (now well known as spiritual bypassing) may have led to the development of fear and shame around so-called “negative thinking.” You may also find that you aren’t manifesting the things you truly desire. So, what gives?
After many years of intensive personal growth, I can say with confidence that the opposite is the actual truth. What it really takes to manifest our dreams is not the avoidance of, but the courage to face our own pain and darkness.
This means finding and facing the barriers within that are blocking us from taking the actions we need to allow ourselves to co-create the lives we say we want. This is a process, a spiral, where we circle down to deeper and deeper levels of self-awareness.
It is not always easy, we often need to take breaks, and we generally become upset and frustrated when we find ourselves learning the same lessons over and over again. The truth is that healing is non-linear. There are many layers, and when we make another turn in our spiral, we simply uncover another one.
I have found that within my darkness and suffering were many gifts—gifts that were like a map to my freedom. They couldn’t be avoided, though they certainly couldn’t all be faced at once. I was only ready to deal with as much as I could handle at the time. This often felt like doing the healing cha-cha: two steps forward, one step back.
I was often frustrated, discouraged, disheartened, and would eventually “give up.” I felt like a failure each time that happened, but now see that I simply needed to retreat, process, and integrate. So much so that failure is no longer part of my vocabulary; it’s simply a time for deep rest, learning, and gleaning new insights.
If we can allow ourselves to sink into our pain and face it, we can uncover hidden gems that set us free from the past conditioning blocking us from the lives of our dreams. Something important also happens as we do this work—we begin to expand the peace and freedom within us.
Here is the true secret: inner peace is the most vital ingredient for manifestation to happen.
I want to clarify that by inner peace I do not mean we transcended all suffering or the experience of being human. I simply mean finding our center so that no matter what the roller-coaster of life brings us, we become the eye of the storm.
When we are grounded in this kind of peace, no matter what arises, we know we are going to be okay. It’s more about surrender than enlightenment. Acceptance is a key ingredient to peace. But what does it even mean? How can we accept a world around us filled with horrific injustice?
After surviving a lifetime of severe abuse and trauma, I never thought I would attain inner peace. What I’ve learned is that acceptance doesn’t mean condoning the violence and mistreatment I endured, it simply means acknowledging that it happened.
It means accepting trauma was the reality I survived.
This work opened up a vast well of peace within me. It also helped me to hear my inner voice and really start to listen to its guidance. I began to stop focusing on past events and shift the focus to the barriers within me to my own goodness. I started looking at my conditioning from childhood with compassion and objectivity.
I stopped spinning out in the horror stories, and started to investigate the beliefs that were leading to the self-defeating behaviors that blocked my greatest good. Beliefs like “I have to struggle to succeed,” “If I allow people to help me they will abuse me later,” and “Everyone else’s dreams and goals are more important than my own.”
It became clear that my own distorted lens, the one that was put in place in childhood to protect me and help me to survive, was now my responsibility to shift. This was a relief because it meant that as I created it, I was also the one who could examine and change it.
When we are able to step outside of the limitations of our own minds, we become truly limitless beings. Beings who can begin to master our own reality through our actions and intentions. It’s not even some kind of New Age magic—it’s simply about setting ourselves free to do what we truly desire.
So, I’ll ask you, what are the dreams you have buried or hidden away? The ones your heart deeply desires, but your mind says, “I can’t, because…”
Are you ready to take responsibility for your own thoughts and beliefs and set yourself free to achieve them?
Only you can know when it’s time, and there is no shame in not being quite there yet. It’s a process that requires great courage, compassion, perseverance, and periods of deep rest (sometimes called depression). It happens only when we are ready, and not a moment sooner (which can be frustrating, I know).
What I can promise you from the other side is this: it is absolutely worth the entire journey.
To be in flow and harmony with life and alignment with myself is the greatest gift I’ve ever given me. And it began with that dance down the healing spiral—two steps forward, one step back.