Intuition and Manifestion. Guest post!

I’m so please to introduce this post and it’s brilliant author. This exploration of the interplay between intuition and manifestation was penned by my sister, Annie, who is one of the guiding lights in my life. Along with being an endless fountain of inspiration and wisdom, she’s also a living example of living deliberately. Annie is a certified yoga teacher and plant medicine connoisseur who is currently traipsing around Portland, Oregon.

Manifestation: the result of employing such processes as intention-setting, visualization, and dream boards in an attempt to deliberately create the life we’d like to see for ourselves.

Intuition: inner knowing.  The channel for our higher, wiser self.  A feeling-state that helps us to interpret messages, information, symbols. The ole’ Inner Guidance System.

Is it possible honor both of these creative faculties in our lives simultaneously or must we settle for engaging one at a time? 

I recently found myself intrigued and puzzled by this question.  I’m known to tout the virtues of tuning in to our intuition, however when I learned of deliberate manifestation, I found myself so enthusiastic that my energies shifted in that direction this past year.

Manifesting conjures up images of living out our wildest dreams.  We can be, do, and have anything our hearts desire.

So manifesting I did.  I set my sights on traveling abroad for the first time- playing tourist in Thailand and earning a yoga teacher certification in Guatemala.  I visualized finishing a certification in herbalism and, subsequently, earning a spot as a live-in intern at an acclaimed medicinal herb farm in Southern Oregon.  I dreamed of seeing my student loan debt drop below $10,000. Running a marathon.  And when all that was complete, earning a gig with a well-known seed-to-table café on Orcas Island, WA.

All in the course of a year.

To my amazement, almost all of the happenings I visualized came to fruition (injury prevented me from completing the marathon).

It felt thrilling to watch everything unfold just as I had imagined.  And yet, as I was finishing up the farm internship in June and plotting how to get Orcas Island to continue my journey there, something didn’t feel right.  Although it seemed like the perfect fit and no other opportunities were in sight to fill its space on my timeline, I couldn’t bring myself to go.

That, my friends, is a prime example of manifestation overridden by the subtle powers of intuition.

Perhaps I relegated intuition to the role of the paparazzi- needing to scream and shout to be heard from the background.  Which goes against its still-small-voice nature.  The most advisable place of intuition is as our inner escort in life- always close by, protecting and guiding us with our best interests at heart.

Fortunately for all of us, intuition doesn’t come with an “off” switch. It often steers the way even when we aren’t aware of it.

What to make of all of this?
Visualizing our greatest desires (a job, travels, way of interacting in society, experience, etc.) into being is too enticing to dismiss.  Not only is it empowering to experience firsthand that we are the producers of the movie of our lives, the process of manifesting also allows us to experience new parts of ourselves.  For me, it was making the leap from yoga student to yoga teacher.  Learning how to speak Thai while exploring the culture and customs of a foreign country.  And finally feeling comfortable with feeling…uncomfortable…sometimes.

How can we incorporate intuition AND manifestation into our lives?

Allow the intelligence of our highest self to set the intentions in the first place. 

What does this look like?

1.  Before tuning in to what we’d like to see in our lives, practice a short meditation.  It brings us to a centered space and the images that come from that space are likely to be in alignment with our highest good.

If the beginning is right, the ending is right.

2. If we pray or verbally express something we’d like to manifest, it’s wise to conclude by saying something to the effect of “if it’s in the highest good of myself and all those concerned.”

(Personalize this in a way that feels good for you).

3.  To break down the intention-setting/manifestation even further, I like the practice of writing down 3 specific deeds I’d like to accomplish the next day (preferably those that will lend a clear mind and healthy body).  And then I do, preferably before noon.

It’s a nice way to first attend to and honor whatever is on our minds and open ourselves up to be moved spontaneously by intuition thereafter.

4.  Always, always, always remember the power of our thoughts.  Each manifestation begins with a single thought.  If our thoughts carry the vibration of love, joy, and appreciation, we will experience more to love and appreciate in our lives.  Specific manifestations become less important when we are operating from a good feeling-place.  Life will surprise us with magic and miracles. 

5.  Find ease and lightness, both in the process of tuning in to intuition and intention-setting.  Have fun with it.  Notice more.  Make adjustments as you go.

Elimination is not the same as cultivation.

I began understanding the significance of this when I read what Martin Seligman (positive psychologist at UPenn) wrote about mental wellness and illness in his book Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being.

He relays a lesson he learned when he first began practicing psychotherapy. Working with folks who struggled with mental illness like depression, he found that when he succeeded in treating the depression, that didn’t automatically yield a happy, mentally well patient. It yielded something more like a blank canvas. The process of eliminating depression, he concluded, is different from the process of cultivating happiness and flourishing. Hmm.

As I carried this idea with me, I started to associate directions with each of these two processes. The process of elimination, or rooting out the unwanted is a backward facing process that draws on history and “what is and has been.” The process of cultivation, or creating the wanted thing, is a forward facing process that requires imagination of “what could be.”

I noticed, too, that individually and collectively one of these is getting a lot more attention and use than the other. So often we are only looking in the direction of the unwanted thing we’d like to eliminate. It’s so pervasive that it’s easy to take for granted. Consider the following:

  • The diet industry focuses on losing weight (eliminating fat) rather than on cultivating healthy bodies. Healthy bodies aren’t often part of the conversation at all, though attractive bodies might be. This is paralleled by our healthcare system, which aims to eliminate or treat illness without similar efforts to cultivate wellness, health or enhance wellbeing.
  • Many folks are endlessly looking for ways to deal with stress rather than working with cultivating more harmony and ease.
  • When something is broken—from cars to relationships— we try to fix it (eliminate the problem). But rarely do we spend time maintaining or cultivating improved versions of things that are basically in working order. This is evidenced by the phase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, strengthening and improving things that aren’t broken, decreases the chances of them breaking in the future. Just because something functions, doesn’t mean it’s highly functioning.

You might be thinking, “These are the same thing. If you’re trying to eliminate stress, you’re trying to cultivate harmony.” To be clear, one thing suggests the other, but they are quite different. Don’ts and do’s, elimination and cultivation are two sides of the same spectrum. But just because we know what we don’t want doesn’t mean we always know what we do want. We are so well practice in the former and so lacking in the latter. Since we haven’t exercised these muscles of imagination individually or culturally, they are weak. I, for one, am ready to start working them out.

Try it now. What is your vision of an ideal life? A perfect community or world? Is it as vivid as your image of the world as you see it everyday? As the world you don’t want to see (and fear might come to pass)? Which of these do you see most clearly and feel most deeply?

If you’re at all like me (and you are ‘cause you’re human 😉 ), thinking in this way will take some practice. And I’d encourage you to practice because the shift in focus itself is incredibly powerful. Having a vision of what you do want to see (the clearer and more detailed the better) forms the foundation of inspired action. Because acting from inspiration feels good, it provides a sustainable form of motivation. The further you align with your vision, the better you feel, the more inspired you are to act, the more you align, and so on. It’s what I like to call the vivacious circle.

Contrast this with working from a place of self-discipline and self-control in an effort to root out the unwanted. While I’m all for cultivating more of both of these, it ain’t nearly as easy or motivating for the lot of us as working from a place of inspired action. And when we fail or fall off the bandwagon (as we inevitably will) it feels bad. If we feel bad and then beat ourselves up then we feel worse and so on… the more familiar vicious circle.

Beyond this, having a vision of the wanted thing helps to bridge the gap between our existing (undesired) behavior or situation to the desired one. When you’re trying to change a habit, for example, saying, “I will not eat the cookie,” not only brings your attention to eating the cookie (which, let’s face it, is delicious and wanted on some level even while being unwanted at another), it also doesn’t suggest another activity to fill the void.

Imagine anew. Fill the void. Don’t eat the cookie. Create the life you want.

Deliberate Delusion Strikes Again!

There was a job I was really stoked on a few weeks back that I applied for and didn’t get. Then an internship that seemed even more awesome and suited to me came along. I applied for that and didn’t get it either. (Now there’s another position that seems even better suited to me that I’m applying for…I’ll have to let you know how that one turns out.)

What’s been most interesting is my reaction to this series of events:
Excitement. No offer. Bummed, but not for long.
Curiosity.
New posting.
Excitement. No offer. Bummed, but not for long.
Curiosity.
New posting.
Excitement.

And I realize that the key thing that supports my optimism is harnessing the power of deliberate delusion. That is: I choose to think that better things must be in the works for me even in the absence of “evidence” that this is the case (or in the face of “evidence” that builds a contrary case, like not getting 2 positions in a row).

I think that if those past positions truly held the personal and professional lessons I need to learn at this time and allowed me to use my talents to meet the needs of other people’s projects, I’d have gotten them. Not having gotten them, I choose believe that there is a better fit, and it must be on the way.

Deliberate delusion gives me hope, optimism, wonder, and peace of mind. It means expecting the best, even in the face of what seems like the worse (or even the less than ideal). It allows me to react with curiosity instead of negativity:

Hmmm, that’s strange. I really thought that job was it. I guess not since it didn’t happen. I wonder what it is and when we’ll find each other.

Rumi says, “What you seek is seeking you.” And who can argue with a Sufi mystic?

One last thing: The lesson here isn’t about finding “truth,” it’s about finding perspective.

You might say, “But it’s true I feel pessimistic. That was the perfect job.”
And I might ask, “What is also true?” (I ask myself this a lot when in need of a shift in perspective.) And if I put you to the task of listing all the good things in your life and dwelling in those to get some good feelings rolling, might you also feel a shift? Truly?

And once you’ve gotten a good look at all the things that are true, good, bad and otherwise, I might ask you one last question: Which would you most like to grow? Because putting our attention on any thought or feeling is like watering a seed. Be deliberate about what you cultivate and what you eradicate.