“Oh, I manifested it” are the words that seem to be the background music of the last few years. Whether it’s the Instagram caption that accompanies a photo of a minimal penthouse apartment, or uttered halfway through an overheard conversation at brunch; manifesting is the word on everyone’s lips.
So, what is it actually all about?
Well, first of all, manifesting isn’t new. In fact it’s thousands of years – if not more – old. It has been repackaged many times but it’s fundamentally based on the idea that a thought, idea or belief can materialise into physical form. Now, this doesn’t mean that if you wished your ex would get a sunburn today that it’s going to happen, but it’s the principle that we have the power to create our reality.
Manifesting is also known as the ‘law of attraction’; cosmic ordering; visualisation; the ‘law of assumption’, & is mentioned in Ayurvedic teachings & many religious texts. Popularised by Rhonda Bryne’s book The Secret, the practice often has steps to follow which are based on asking the universe for what you want, believing & having faith that it’ll happen & then just like that, you’ll receive it. Depending on the book or teacher, there are different ways in, but this is the gist of it. Historically, it has been about manifesting everything from your dream car, job or house, but modern manifesting also includes self-compassion and a blissful life. It can’t be that easy right?
No, very sadly it’s not. I’ve been manifesting for 17 years and have worked with countless clients who have been trying to step into a life of greater purpose, power and potential, and it’s time to make manifesting work for everyone and bust some myths. It can’t just be about wishful thinking, visualising for days on end and having clarity; it also has to account for the very real stuff that we’re all navigating in this messy world.
Whether you’ve never tried it before or you’ve given up because it’s not working for you, here are some tips on how to make manifesting work for you;
Focus on yourself first
For me, manifesting is a side effect of doing the inner work, inner work being a process of looking at & working on your stuff; this being vital in knowing who you are to then know what you want from life. Inner work sounds pretty daunting, & so much self-help focuses on this idea of trying to ‘become’ something. Usually a better, shinier, more productive, hard-working version of yourself. But the way I see manifesting, it is as a process of returning back to who you are underneath all of your stuff. The authentic, whole, in-your-worth, unapologetic version of you that existed before the world told you who to be, or who you have been too afraid to be.
Figure out what your stuff is
Your stuff can be both inner & outer stuff. The inner stuff might be your doubts, fears or beliefs about yourself. It’s that inner voice that says things like, ‘who do you think you are to do that?’, ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘it’s not going to work out anyway’ or ‘I’m just not creative.’ It also includes your outlook on life & your relationship with yourself. A lot of manifesting practices focus on this exclusively, but we live on Earth so your stuff is never, ever all about you. That’s why we have outer stuff to take into consideration. This is your lived reality. It’s what you witnessed growing up, the conditioning from society about who you should be & how you should live. It’s the economic, political & social experiences you’ve had. It’s about money, trauma, poverty, racism, gender & sexuality. It’s so important that any manifesting work mentions that so you don’t blame yourself or feel guilty if you’re struggling with it. You don’t need to work harder or just be grateful, you’re carrying the realities of life with you. Be gentle with yourself.
It’s deep, but not that deep
Your stuff is the filter that you see the world through, so a manifesting practice is about defining what stuff you’re carrying & then working through it. You might journal & write it out, you might work with a therapist or spiritual guide, or talk to some trusted friends. But, try and explore it. We’re not doing this inner work to be able to manifest a new outfit, but because we all deserve to have a life that feels pretty damn good to be in. That’s what this work is about. It changes the way we see the world around us. It changes how we show up & respond to it. Once you’re aware of your stuff you can then get to working through it. You don’t need to have PhD levels of knowledge about energy, the universe, morning routines or countless practices to do that.
Perspective over practices
There’s not a one-size-fits all approach to this as we all have different stuff & come from wildly different backgrounds. Once you know what your stuff is, see if you can understand why you believe it & where it has come from; then see what you need to do to work through it. If you grew up without any money & you now don’t believe that it’s possible for you to make more money in the work you do, then examine your money story. Write down every encounter you’ve had with money that didn’t make you feel good. You might then do some work around listing all the reasons why you are deserving of money, educate yourself on how to handle money & generate wealth, do some self-forgiveness & compassion, & explore what you needed growing up as a child that you didn’t receive.
Be unintentional, to be intentional
Doing the inner work is a game changer. It’s like a lightbulb turns on & the whole world can see you as who you really are, so you start attracting amazing things, opportunities & people. Plus, the same world you lived in feels fresh & exciting because your perspective of yourself & the world has changed. Once you’ve really sat with your stuff, you can then start to be intentional and specific about what you want. You can write, speak, dream & see the life you want to create. Assume & act as if it’s happening in the present moment. How do you want to feel in that life? What brings you joy? What makes you come alive? What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Ask for that now by speaking as if it’s already here.
Go and live your life
When your perspective changes so does everything else. Approach doing this inner work & manifesting as a gift you’re giving yourself. Look into your stuff, see if you’re holding onto any fears or the idea that life ‘should’ look a certain way. Explore if you’re being authentic in your life or living a life for other people. See what it feels like to reconnect to your intuition & commit to a self-care routine that makes you feel balanced instead of superhero levels of ‘optimised’. Feel all of your emotions, get angry, be upset & don’t ever think that you can manifest ‘low vibes’; life is not a Disney film.
Then go and say ‘yes!’ to life, try new things, have fun, mess up, see what you learn about yourself & the world from this foundation of knowing that you’re enough and you have the power to create what’s next.