*Warning: naughty language ahead.
For the past five years, I’ve been reading up on the topic of manifestation, teaching classes, and leading manifestation groups.
And for my whole life, I have been working on myself, bringing awareness to the unconscious programming that was running my life, so that I—and only I—would be the creator of my destiny.
Over time, I began to create my own manifestation methods because I felt that many ideas on the topic, especially those outlined in the “Law of Attraction,” although interesting and helpful, were not all that comprehensive and did not take into account the role of trauma, addiction, bad habits, and the difficulties of managing intense emotions—just to name a few of the things we, as humans, walk around with in life.
Trying to think or feel positively when we’re in the pit of depression or attempting to feel confident about an outcome when our self-esteem is in the gutter is a real struggle, if not impossible at times.
Knowing for myself the conflict of wanting something but not knowing how to get it, I have taught others how to work with intense emotions, how to join instead of resist the most difficult and self-destructive beliefs. I teach about the power of visualization to evoke positive emotional states and have initiated meditations with friends in different countries to manifest through the use of group energy. I’ve held more than a few New Moon ceremonies in my old Brooklyn apartment, channeling cosmic energies to help get the job done.
So with time, I found myself becoming a master at manifestation. Everything I wanted, I got. From the extra salmon roll I didn’t order but wanted that showed up on my plate courtesy of the chef 30 minutes after I decided secretly in my mind I would get it, to my request for a loving, sexy, emotionally available man to travel with during my time in Asia who showed up only three days after I wrote the script for it in my journal, to the money I found on the floor four times in one month, to all those rent stabilized apartments that came my way, to that taxi that appeared out of nowhere, to all those parking spots…
It dawned on me, as I was experiencing one thing after another come my way, that finally I had become the creator of my own life story. All that therapy, healing work, and dedication to knowing the deepest parts of myself had paid off. No longer were my unconscious beliefs—the voices of my parents, the narratives of society—creating my life. I had become the master of my own destiny.
I was having a good old time. I was also getting a little cocky.
At the time, I was about to move back to Berlin after a one-month trip to New York, and I needed a temporary sublet before I moved into my long-term apartment. Thinking of my stellar track record with a big smirk on my face, I thought, “Easy.” But I also knew that getting a sublet with certain requirements—amazing light, a particular neighborhood, a balcony, and cheap rent—wasn’t going to be so easy given the current market and time of year.
I woke up in the morning not knowing exactly how I would go about doing this, and decided to start with a visit to my iPhone. I saw on Facebook that my request to join an expat Berlin apartment group had just been approved, so I scrolled and within minutes I found “the apartment.” Two seconds later, I wrote the woman who created the post expressing my interest, and 30 minutes later I was told the apartment was mine if I wanted it. I was feeling more than impressed with my skills and began bathing in the magic that seems to be a never-ending stream pouring from the sky into my heart, out into the world, and back into my life.
One day later, some not-so-good news: the apartment had fallen through. I saw the message, “Sorry, it’s not going to work out…” and began to feel anxious. “What the fuck?” I asked myself, while nursing a bruise to my manifestor’s ego. To make matters worse, on this same day I was feeling really disappointed by my partner. It felt like we were so far away from each other, and so I started spinning like I sometimes do when life throws me a double whammy.
The domino effect was now in full swing. I felt anxious; there were only six days left for me to find a place to live. What was I going to do? I felt alone and sad and defeated: all the feelings that get triggered in me when people I love seem to not be showing up. My body began to feel a little numb and I knew I was in a state. The state where deep emotional shit comes up and takes over, and you’re lost and wondering how the hell you’re going to get out of it.
I tried to distract myself, but nothing was working—not a visit to the planetarium to watch that space show I’d been wanting to see forever, not a walk in Central Park on the sunniest day of the summer. I was pissed, and said to myself, more than once, “All this manifesting talk is a crock of shit.”
Then I put on the brakes—in all the ways I have taught myself and others to do over the years—because I knew I was about to enter the dark side. I started breathing. I did yoga poses. I reminded myself of all the blessings in disguise behind the things that had fallen through in my life. I talked out my feelings with people I trusted. I journaled.
And most importantly, I told myself this: “This is just a feeling and whether it’s real or not or accurate or not, you must honor it. Do not abandon yourself here in this place where you need yourself the most.”
I thought back again on all I had read about how our negative thoughts and feelings create our reality and all the B.S. about the importance of getting rid of them. I connected with this deep knowing that creating a better reality for ourselves isn’t simply about dispelling negative states and replacing them with positive ones. Of course our negative outlooks and negative beliefs about the world and ourselves create our realities to some degree. But it dawned on me that something much different and bigger is at play: it isn’t the negative thoughts and feelings that are creating our realities so much as the judgement we have about our thoughts and feelings.
If judgment is the toxin, then compassion must be the medicine, I thought. With this revelation, I started practicing this thing called mindfulness.
Still half numb and spinning, I practiced the best I could but didn’t see immediate results. But, I knew the process well by then. I knew it takes time, and that if I could just be with myself without judging what I was feeling, if I could just be present without blaming myself for being some kind of fraud at manifestation or not good enough at love, the feeling would pass. And it did, but not completely.
Hours later, I started to get proactive again. I found another apartment on my Facebook list. It looked nice…wait, it looked better! It was cheaper and the sublet term was longer than I would’ve liked, but it dawned on me after I assessed my whole moving situation that a longer temporary sublet was actually better for me. I started seeing the reason behind all the madness.
I realized I can still get what I wish for, and what I need may sometimes be way better than what I wanted. I realized I am an adult, not a spoiled child, and that it’s actually quite unsatisfying and counterproductive to get everything I want in an instant. I realized that if a space is provided, a surprise can be born. I remembered that patience is a virtue.
I reached out to the woman who was subletting my new find, and was offered the apartment almost immediately.
The next day, I woke up and the storm had passed. I paid another visit to my iPhone and saw a message from the landlord of the original apartment that fell through saying I could have the apartment after all. I then found myself in the position of having to choose: chocolate cake or pecan pie. I loved both but went with what my gut was craving at the moment. After I declined the landlord’s offer, she told me to contact her in the future if I ever needed a space. I thought, “What a wonderful world!”
As I reflect back on this experience, I realize the universe gave me a powerful lesson: I am allowed to be overcome by negative feelings. I am allowed to be imperfect. I can be all of this and still get what I want.
There is no punishment for feeling something negative—ever. And life doesn’t withhold from us—ever. Life works with us at all times, opening doors we never knew were there, bringing us learning experiences we need to evolve (experiences which we sometimes interpret as bad luck or “poor me” moments), and relationships which tear us open to help us heal. The grand design of life is working with the life force within us, asking us to consider the possibility of opening to the flow of this profound energy.
It’s an energy we all possess. We all have the capacity to create the lives we want.
So, it is really only we, not life, who are working against ourselves and our dreams. Judging, having unreasonable expectations, not giving ourselves the chance to show up as we are: imperfect, beautiful humans navigating a messy yet extraordinary journey called life the best we can. In fact, as I look back, especially over the past five years as I watched my life transform, I realize it was due in large part to working with my inner critic, by my ongoing fight to give voice to something deeper within me—another voice which says, “If you just let yourself be yourself, then there will be nothing left to ever do.”
So, here it is, the biggest gift of all: The moment you decide you are perfect and lovable as you are—with all your messy shit spilling out—you will get anything you want, or something better than you can ever imagine.
The next time an emotional storm passes through and you think you won’t get what you deserve because of it, give yourself a pat on the back for feeling like shit and give yourself the time and care you need for this wave of feeling to pass so that beautiful wave of a thing you’ve been wanting can flow through.