I was near-obsessed with tiny homes, minimalism, and #vanlife.
I streamed small-space design shows, followed digital nomads on social media, visualized myself on mountain tops, imagined bathing in rivers, and went window-shopping for RVs. I scribbled blueprints, test-drove vans, and expectantly prepared for the moment when time and money would magically appear to make it all possible.
As a new student of the Law of Attraction, that was how I thought it worked. After all, I’d heard the very popular principle: Thoughts create things.
I understood it to work like this: If I could imagine a thing, decide the thing is mine, and keep a positive mindset about the thing, eventually the thought of that thing will become the actual thing and I and the thing would live happily ever after.
I put this “thoughts create things” principle into practice for years and not just with my dream of being a wild woman living in the wilderness. I used positive affirmations to bring my body more health, I fixed my mindset on wealth and abundance, and daydreamed with great enthusiasm and specificity about my would-be lumberjack/surfer/feminist/yogi boyfriend.
To my great disappointment, these thoughts never became things.
Instead, I continued to attract stress-related disease and disorder, mountains of debt, and dudes who so did not align with my dreams.
Eventually, I advanced my practice of the Law of Attraction to include the very trendy Be, Do, Have formula that millionaire, C-level execs, and real estate moguls seem to swear by.
Applying this to #vanlife looked like this: I pretended to be the person with the trendy, eco-friendly Patagonia gear, the road atlas all covered in routes conquered, and the solar-panel powered charging station for years. I made my vision boards and spoke affirmations just like the productivity cult people said to do. I managed negative scripts in my mind, nipped them in the bud, and learned to become more optimistic. I even tried to be like those mutant-like morning people who swear that waking up at the crack of dawn is the only way to succeed.
But my vision-board van didn’t park itself in front of my apartment. My fairy godmother didn’t send me a knight in shining flannel to sweep me away into his already renovated RV, and no one from the bank called to give me a big fat check so I could quit my job.
If I’m being honest, the Be, Do, Have formula made me tired, cranky, and knee-deep in the belief that all my problems would go away if I could just be someone else.
The infuriating thing was that I saw people being, doing, and having all the things they wanted because they were applying the same formula. I knew the Law of Attraction worked, but I was also secretly worried I might have to join a cult or sell my soul to finally make it work for me.
I came to the conclusion that there must be something missing from the Be, Do, Have hustle and the Thoughts Create Things theology and grew determined to figure out exactly what it was.
As it turned out, all I needed to do was return to my own research as a mental health counselor and trauma therapist. I’ve been practicing as a mental health therapist since 2010 and have specializations in the neuroscience of health, how disease and disorder come to be, stress, trauma, and the importance of addressing mind, body, and relationships at once. I’m also a certified yoga instructor and energy worker, and have spent years studying the quantum physics underlying a well-lived life.
Surprisingly, all of this research and experience fit quite nicely into my inquiry about how the Law of Attraction actually worked. I eventually stumbled on the formula that underlies it, what we might call the Math of Manifestation. It’s based on Einstein’s Theory of Relatively (you know, E = mc2) and let me tell you, it works.
Without going into the formula itself, what I can tell you is that the Math of Manifestation revealed the missing step. The Law of Attraction—the Law of Success, the Habit of Successful People, whatever you want to call it—is governed by one experience: feeling.
Thoughts don’t create things. Feeling creates form.
How we feel in our bodies determines our frequency. Our frequency is what lets the universe know who we’re capable of being, what we’re capable of doing, and thus what we’re capable of having.
Feeling comes first; every other part of your life follows.
Feel good, fabricate good. Feel bad, fabricate bad. It’s really that simple.
The problem is that it’s not always simple to feel good in a modern world filled with media and marketing moguls that make a ton of money off us feeling bad. If we get a pimple, cellulite, or parenting problem, there’s usually someone ready to shame us for it and sell us something to solve it.
Plus, most people at some point in their lives experience trauma.
Sometimes trauma is a big, overwhelming event that leaves a major impact on how the nervous system works. Other times, it’s what we could call “everyday trauma”—like microagression at work, the chronic financial anxiety experienced by the majority of Americans, or growing up in a household where anger wasn’t allowed. There’s a lot of neuroscience that goes into explaining a trauma response, but let’s just keep it simple and say it feels really bad.
Yogic philosophy also helps us understand that each of us also has lifetimes of karmic cords still sticking to our souls from that time we killed a wooly mammoth, died from the plague, or tripped up the stairs in our castle. All those patterns are just waiting to replay themselves in this life so we can release them for good and evolve our soul.
Turn on the TV, check the bank account, listen to a neighbor complain about work, eat processed food, or simply wake up on the wrong side of the bed. There are plenty of forces in this world ready to make us feel bad.
Feeling good in our bodies and emitting a feel-good frequency takes attention, intention, and a whole lot of commitment to prioritizing how we feel over what has already taken form in our lives.
This means paying more attention to what’s going on inside of us more than what’s outside of us.
That’s how I finally manifested my #vanlife experience. The time and money didn’t spontaneously conjure itself into existence. Instead, I worked intentionally to cultivate the feeling of courage and determination needed to be the kind of person who could do the things necessary to have the adventure of a lifetime.
The feeling of courage came first, only then did everything else take form.
I quit my job, which felt intimidating. I designed and built a bed to fit in the back of the SUV I already had, which meant I had to feel vulnerable and ask for help. And I opened myself up to the feeling of receiving by creating a wishlist for my birthday so my friends and family could shower me with practical presents like a car battery, dehydrated food, a USB essential oil diffuser, and pretty much everything else I needed to get on my way.
From the moment I felt the courage to the moment I fabricated my #suvliving trip, the entire process took six weeks. Only six weeks! I’d spent nearly four years having thoughts about this adventure, but it only manifested after I began practicing the feelings of it.
By the time I hit the road with my French Bulldog, Milo, it was crystal clear that focusing on feelings would be how I lived the rest of my life. Over the next three months, I traveled around the country without thinking about anything ahead of time. If I needed something, I would optimize the sensations of my body to feel as though I already had it. With little-to-no effort, I spontaneously created last-minute campsites, epic adventures, and just enough money to fund every mile. It was the Law of Attraction at its best.
The best part of the experience was that I couldn’t give anyone else credit for what I conjured up along the way. It was all me. I didn’t stay in touch with family, I didn’t plan or coordinate details with any companies, and I didn’t consult friends for advice. I used those 90 days of living alone in my SUV to become acquainted with the reality that I already have what I need at any given moment. I had discovered the truth: The potential of creation lives in my cells, not my state of mind.
I learned I don’t need anyone to give me time, money, or permission to manifest my dreams. Nothing in my external experiences changed to launch my adventure; only my internal experience did. The potential for my dream to come true was within me at every given moment.
All I had to do was stop thinking about my desires and instead master how I felt about it.
The same is true for everyone because the Law of Attraction (what I now understand as gravity) is true for everyone everywhere, no exceptions. It’s always operating, calling in experiences, people, and situations that match not how you think, but how you feel. To manifest a life that feels good, you simply need to tap into your Feel-Good Frequency.
Thoughts don’t create things, but feelings certainly do. The world needs you to feel good so you can create good. When you create good, the whole world feels good along with you.
The next time you desire to have something, don’t try to think it into reality. Instead, practice feeling what it would be like to already have it. That is the true Math of Manifestation.