I recently sat down with my cousin who was going through a heart-wrenching break up with her boyfriend of 6 years. To outsiders, they were the picture perfect, 20-something couple. Both of them are naturally gorgeous with extremely positive energy and a humble vibe to boot. Qualities I find rare and special in such good looking and intelligent people. They met their junior year at Northwestern and were now living together in the city, both focused on their respective careers. As I sat across from her at the bar at the Four Seasons Chicago, I did what any good cousin would do. I ordered her a martini. Super cold Tito’s vodka, straight up with two olives. The martinis that came were not even close to cold enough (remind me to write a post on how to shake a proper frosty martini!!) but at that point we had bigger fish to fry. My mission was to help my cousin talk about her feelings so that she might release some pressure, achieve some clarity, and find peace in her heart. She is a quiet and private sort of girl and I know she had been attempting to process all of her pain by herself in the rare moments she found solitude. She started explaining that her and her ex just saw things in fundamentally different ways, and had developed different timelines for marriage and kids. I sat there and listened, nodding empathetically. I too had gone through a couple of heart wrenchers in the last 10 years and could relate to what she was going through.
After 36 years of experience, I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. We are exactly where we are meant to be, and learning exactly what we need to be learning in order to reach our highest potential. If we avoid these lessons by running away or numbing ourselves with drugs and alcohol, the lessons just come back with a vengeance and the pain we experience by resisting them grows exponentially more excruciating. Pain serves a very intelligent purpose and should be thanked rather than scorned or avoided. Pain is a clear indicator that you are out of alignment with your passion and purpose. It is a warning bell that you are staying in a not-so-comfortable “comfort zone” that no longer serves you. Where there is pain, there is an opportunity to look at what is NOT working in your life and to start making different choices. So here my cousin was, overwhelmed by the pain of losing her best friend, the loss of connection with his family that she had grown to love, and the fear of moving out and starting all over again. She felt terror and sadness. I felt hope. I felt complete trust in the Universe. And so I began to tell her about my experience with manifesting.
I first learned about conscious manifesting was when I watched The Secret in the fall of 2007. The movie taught me about the Law of Attraction and how the Universe speaks the language of energy. Energy comes in the form of vibration. Thoughts are energy. And thoughts thought over and over again “manifest” into form or matter. The Law of Attraction states that whatever you place your attention on you will attract more of. Like vibration attracts like vibration. That’s why when you worry, a lot of times your biggest fears come true. If you are obsessing about your debt, you are going to attract more debt. If you are obsessing about your lack of success, you are going to attract more failure. Worrying is not only futile, it is harmful! I am the first to admit that it’s easier said than done. It’s hard to stop the snowball of fear. Especially when you are in a vulnerable place in your life and feel like you are drowning in it. But you always have the power to pivot. You always have the power to shift your attention to what you do want, and off of what you don’t want. Half way through the martini I shared with my cousin one tool that helped me do just that and changed my life in a major way: A gratitude journal.
Okay, I know some of you are rolling your eyes and recalling all the annoying times I’ve included #grateful on my Instagram posts. But I’m telling you this worked for me and it blew my mind when it did. Bob Proctor shared in The Secret how a gratitude journal changed his life. I love to write and have been journaling since I was 8 so this tool immediately resonated with me. He explained that the Universe doesn’t know the difference between what is real and what is imagined. Worrying is focusing your attention on an imagined outcome that you DONT WANT. Fantasizing is focusing your attention on an imagined outcome that you DO WANT. Both are in your imagination and are not a reality….yet. The Law of Attraction states that if you think thoughts that make you feel good, you will attract more things that make you feel good. It’s that simple. If you are worrying and stressing over an imagined future outcome that doesn’t feel good, you will attract things that make don’t make you feel good, like more bills, a bad diagnoses, a partner that cheats on you, etc. Bob Proctor suggested writing in a journal about things that you desire, AS IF you already have them. For example, if you want to earn more money you would say, “I am so happy and grateful that my boss came to me out of the blue and gave me a promotion! I am now earning X amount of dollars and doing what I love!” You give thanks AS IF these things had already come to fruition. The key is that you believe it can happen and that you feel the elation you would feel if (or when) these things do happen. The feeling is everything. You don’t need to get caught up in wondering HOW these things are going to happen, you just have to feel the joy and freedom you would feel when they do. It is really important that even though you don’t have any idea HOW these things might happen, you believe they CAN happen.
So back in 2007 I wrote in my gratitude journal consistently for a couple months. At times I felt incredibly silly. At times I felt like I was going through the motions and not feeling anything. But after three months some major shifts occurred in my life. I went from waiting tables to support my acting career to getting chosen for a job I didn’t even know existed when I started the journal. I was now working part time as a fit model earning a six-figure salary and I still had free time to act and do the things I loved. It seemed like a miracle to me and I knew in that moment that everything I had learned about the Law of Attraction was true. But back to my cousin. I wanted to give her a concrete tool to help her focus her attention on what she desires rather than get swallowed up by the fear and heartache of the breakup. I wanted to help her understand that she could meet someone even better suited for her and that it could happen fast. I mean, it will happen in perfect timing, but it could happen very quickly. I suggested that she try a gratitude journal and focus on writing about her ideal partner. I suggested she write a list of all the aspects that she loved about her recent ex and then write down all the qualities she wished were different about him. Qualities in a partner that are essential to her happiness. My fiancée has an awesome quote that says, “You have to go to the wrong place to get to the right place”. In this case, being in the wrong relationship helps us become clear on our requirements in a partner so that we can get to the right relationship. For instance, if we don’t trust our current partner, our ideal partner is 100% loyal and trustworthy. If our partner is always stressed about finances, our ideal partner is responsible with spending and saving, but is also generous and likes to spend on experiences that create joy for himself and his loved ones. So once she has her list, I told her to start writing everyday: “I am so happy and grateful that I am with a man who adores me and who I trust completely. I am so happy and grateful I am with a man who loves to travel and be outdoors.” I just made these up as an example of potential things she could write. When you focus on what you DO want in a partner rather than lamenting over all the things that didn’t work in the relationship, you begin to attract that new, amazing person to you.
I also explained to her that another interesting thing might happen, as was the case with me. When I first met my fiancée five years ago, we dated on and off for a couple years. Every time we would break it off, I would refine my list of qualities I wanted in a perfect partner based on things that weren’t working for me in our relationship. Most of the qualities on the list my guy already possessed, which was why I felt so connected to him. But there were some issues with which we weren’t aligned at the time. The journal gave me hope. After all, I had manifested abundance and independence with a new career three years prior, so my dream man would surely be easy too! I was expecting this perfect man to walk into my life at any moment. What I experienced was something quite different and miraculous in its own way. Over the next two years my on and off boyfriend kept growing into this man I had been writing about in my journal. Simultaneously, I was healing some past wounds having to do with trust and self love. He literally grew into this man I had written about and I grew into someone who was ready to receive a healthy, loving relationship. I tell you this because you can also use this tool to improve a current relationship that you wish was stronger and healthier. Growth happens naturally when you become clear on what it is you want in life and remain focused on it. Whether its a happier relationship, new career, financial freedom, or physical healing, understanding the Law of Attraction is extremely helpful for coming into alignment with your desires.
My cousin is excited to try. I reminded her that she might feel silly at first, but at the very least its fun to fantasize about your dream guy or girl, your dream job, and your dream life. It gets you focused on what you DO want rather than continuing to worry about the future based on a supremely uncomfortable NOW. A gratitude journal is just one of many tools designed to help you manifest your desires. Whether its meditation, a vision board, yoga etc., find what works for you and commit do doing it for 5-15 minutes every day. Going through a break up or a crisis is difficult at any age and I am here to tell you that it is never too late to make a change and to come back into alignment with your highest self and greatest dreams. Whether you are 8 years old or 80 years old, gratitude and visualization are two powerful ways to change your reality and create a more fulfilling and joyful life.