It wasn’t that long ago when the term new age or the idea of doing yoga made the majority of us laugh, cringe, or want to get as far away as possible from the nearby Birkenstock-wearing and granola-consuming hippy, who was busy reading about zen and the art of something or other.
Thankfully, things have long since changed. Thanks to books and films like The Secret and thanks to the proliferation of yoga studios on every other corner of just about any major city, topics like alternative medicine, yoga, and meditation have become as commonplace as sports and nutrition. In fact, those last three topics have become big business in the Western world.
I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I resisted many of these things for many years, having grown up on the east coast, in Rochester, New York. And that it wasn’t until I had moved out to Portland, Oregon back in ’97 – where there might just be more yoga teachers and massage therapists than there are coffee shops – that I started to open up to some more progressive, holistic ways of thinking (smudging your work or living space, anyone?). And, for the most part, I’m pretty damn happy that I did. (Though my east coast-born self will always still be a little skeptical of things like spirit animals, soul stones or cynical about the whole yoga fashion industry.)
Sometime around 2006, I started reading a couple of books like Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles and Brian Tracy’s The Miracle of Self Discipline. These types of books allowed me to gain a lot of insight into the power of positive thinking. And how doing just a few things to alter my at-the-time fairly negative, cynical, and pessimistic attitudes (East coast, baby!), I could significantly shift the course of my life. By realising and accepting and truly understanding that I did, in fact, have the power to create the positive change that I was looking for, I was able to start bringing into my life the things that I was seeking.
To many of you, this probably sounds pretty darn familiar. The book and then later on the documentary film, The Secret, touched upon this whole concept of manifestation, as have a slew of other books discussing the power of manifesting and the laws of attraction.
Many many many books and websites have been dedicated to this idea of manifestation, but to put it fairly simply, it’s the practice of putting one’s thoughts into reality. By dialoguing about, writing about, and thinking about certain things, we, in essence, have the power to put them into our lives. The new age set likes to explain it as putting something out into the universe in order to get it back. One can effectively use it to get a promotion in the workplace, find a solution to a conflict with a colleague, get out of debt, find the love of your life, etc.
Now, just like anything else, it’s rarely as easy as the marketing of said books and movies make it sound. No one – at least no one that I’ve ever met – can simply “think” something into existence without having to actually DO something. You’ll remember, after all, that money doesn’t grow on trees. One has to plant and water and maintain the tree, before any brances containing money will ever happen.
But manifesting does work. You can put things out into the universe – and this works negatively and positively, so be conscious of that – and what you are asking for can and will come back to you. Again, as long as your willing to do some work along with the thinking and belief, it can all happen.
I used and continue to use on a daily basis the power of manifesting in my film work. I remember one particular lesson – the power of daily goal setting – that I learned from Brian Tracy and his Miracle of Self Discipline. It’s proved to have been invaluable over the years. Basically, sit down with a pen and paper and think about no less than ten goals that you want to achieve some time within the next year. It could pertain to relationship, income, careers, family, etc. Whatever they are, quickly right them down, but be sure to include an end date for your goal. This is very important. You must write down the date that you want to have achieved said goal. And also write as if it has already happened. Don’t simply write down ‘I want to make $4000 a month’. Instead, write something like ‘I am making $4000 per month in July’. This puts you within the thought and also gives you an exact time frame to manifest to.
If you write this kind of list down on a daily basis, it will change things. I can promise you this. And it’s not magic (though the effects are certainly magical). At least, it wasn’t for me! It’s actually pretty simple. By writing this list every day, you are putting it into your consciousness, you are putting it out into the universe. And when you are writing down these goals, you are seeing them on a daily basis. And just by seeing them – along with the end date – you will start to build energy around making these goals happen. Before you know, you’re going to be starting to tick things off of your list.
I used manifesting when I made my Nepal doc, Journey to Kathmandu. From the outset and from the relatively safe confines of Portland, Oregon, when I first even had the inclination to do this film about goats journeying through the Himalayas in Nepal, I was manifesting the film. I had no money, no film gear, and only myself and the idea. But I started a blog about the film. I began telling everyone that I knew – family, friends, even the checkout teller at the supermarket – about this film that I was doing. Soon I started looking for a producer. We started meeting regularly. I began applying for grants. All the time constantly telling everyone everyone everyone about this film that I was doing. The film just began to grow from this power, this belief. And the universe began to work its magic, answering me back on a nearly daily basis. People came out of the woodwork, to help me see my vision become a reality. A Regional Arts & Culture Council grant came through when I needed it most, just before Christmas. People volunteered to help me put on a benefit concert. Colleagues began loaning me film gear and an editing space.
As I mentioned earlier, nothing happens simply by thinking it into existence. Certainly, movement and diligence and hard work is required. But none of it happens without some kind of manifesting, without first asking the universe for what you want. After all, how is the universe supposed to know what you want if you don’t ask for it?