For many years I misunderstood my own power. I thought I could will things into being with the sheer intensity of my desire—that I could invoke them out of thin air and attract them to me without having to do any specific groundwork. But there is a practical side of manifestation that I was missing completely, a set of logical and orderly action steps. There is a preparation phase, a beginning phase, and a maintenance phase, and in any or all of these, challenges must be met and obstacles overcome. I have had to learn how to partner with spiritual principles and align with divine grace. And perhaps all of this sounds complicated, but it's really not.
Life is challenging. We struggle to figure things out, to fix what we perceive as being broken, to get through the day, the week, the month, and the year. We struggle over finances, body image, relationships, and all of the things that we have to get done. We struggle over the future and the past—who we are, how we grew up, and all that we think should be happening in our lives. We get so busy struggling that we forget to pause and consider our dreams. What do we want? That's the first thing to ask.
And even as we answer this question it becomes convoluted. We start second-guessing ourselves right away and thinking of all the reasons that we can't have it. We are habituated to being victims of life, and our desire is muddied before we even begin. But if we can simplify the situation and quiet our minds enough to hear the kernel of truth in our answer, then we have a starting point. And that's all we need.
This is not about pie-in-the-sky wanting, like winning the lottery and things of that nature that we have no ability to control, but down-to-earth wanting—like more financial security, improved health, natural relaxation, and harmonious relationships. Or maybe something completely different. Maybe we want to travel to Ireland, run a marathon, take a cruise, buy a particular car, go back to school, or quit our job. Whatever we want, it's ok to want it. But it doesn't end there.
In order to make it a reality, we have to set it up. It's a process, and we have to identify the steps. We have to understand what's required. It may be finances, or time, or a shift in attitude or behavior. We have to clear what's blocking us, engage spiritual principles, and doggedly persist. We may need to give something up in order to get what we want. We may have to experience discomfort. We may have to change our habits and overcome daunting odds. But if we are willing to do what it takes, then we can manifest anything. This is a universal truth based on cause and effect.
Let's say, for example, that we want to stop feeling so rushed and overwhelmed, and to more readily enjoy the experience of time. There is a practical side to this desire, and an emotional one as well. We will likely have to change some things about our physical routine—maybe wake up a little earlier, say no to over-booking ourselves and set other boundary-setting limits, stop responding instantaneously to any and every email and text that comes our way, and make better plans. And from a spiritual perspective we may need to shift our attitude about time and learn to pay attention to the present moment more effectively than we are in the habit of doing, and learn to observe and appreciate the shifting light, and the natural cycles from sun-up to sun-down, and seasonally.
Perhaps that seems overwhelming, and in some ways it may be, but that's where the simple steps come in. We break it down. We identify what we want, look honestly at the reality of our current situation, and then pick one thing that's not working for us and stop doing it. Then we start doing something that works better, and sustain the new behavior until it becomes a habit. Then we repeat the steps again and again, ever improving our lives in whatever direction we choose. It really can be that simple. Let's return to our example.
And what we experience is discomfort at first, and resistance to the new behavior. It's excruciating to not hit the snooze button. But if we stick with it, eventually it becomes easy, and the REWARD is that we have more time in the morning, and are no longer rushed. And then we move on, and repeat the process to address the next issue in regards to our having a more relaxed experience of life.
And again, this will be uncomfortable, excruciating even, at first, but if we stick with it, the discomfort passes, and it becomes automatic and routine and the REWARD is that we begin to feel like we have more control over our time, and we can go as long as we need to without being interrupted by our phones. This is empowering!
The specific example may not exactly apply to your situation. But the point is that the formula for change can work across the board. If we can identify what we want; what we are doing that is blocking our access to it; and then become willing to stop, start, and sustain appropriate beliefs and behaviors to move us in the right direction, we can get where we want to go. I know this from personal experience.
I have stopped drinking this way, changed how I eat and how I view and experience my body, improved my relationships so that I no longer feel like a doormat, and learned to appreciate what I have that I once took for granted. I have worked steadily in the direction of my dreams to become the top personal trainer at the gym where I work, a published author, and an aspiring professional speaker.
Anything is possible. That's what I have learned, and that's what I have experienced. It doesn't have to be complicated. Nothing is out of our reach. We can have anything, do anything, and be anything. We have simply to identify our goal and proceed towards it in a practical way using logical steps.
I think what most of us are after is a good life, a sense of inner peace and well-being, the experience of love, and a certain overall satisfaction, rather than some particular and audacious accomplishment. But in either case, the results come from the same simple action steps. This is the theme of my new book, The Art of Good Habits, and my passion, and my core belief. It is in this way that we empower our lives. And it's not easy, but it is worth it, because we are worth it. I sincerely believe, and have a knowing from the gut, that fulfillment and life-satisfaction, however we may particularly understand these things, are possible, practical, and available to us all.
Nathalie W. Herrman (Virginia) is a personal trainer, massage therapist, and Reiki master. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Boston University and has spent her life accumulating experience in the pursuit of optimal health ...