The Moon with The Magician

Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan
Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan

If you’re like me, you have a great appreciation for all the Law of Attraction concepts as presented by Rhonda Byrne and Abraham via Esther and Jerry Hicks, provided a boost by Napoleon Hill who was standing on the shoulders of William Walker Atkinson. I could continue to lay down the trail of bread crumbs that lead us to the original conceivers of LOA (as the cool New Age kids call it), but those crumbs would invariably be devoured by the murder of crows from the order or what-does-it-really-matter.

If you continue to be like me, you’ll find yourself simultaneously applauding while rolling your eyes at the beautifully absurd simplicity behind the Law of Attraction idea. It’s the fairy godmother of New Age-ology, with one’s desire serving as the star-capped magic wand, leaving a trail of glitter and pixie dust with every wave, manifesting material gains out of pumpkins and mice.

Do I find the concept of manifestation from desire preposterous? Not in the least. I fully subscribe to it. Now I get to confront the skeptics and critics with the self-proclaimed title of Realists censuring me for disobeying the laws of physics and science and good old-fashioned buzzkillery. Flanking them are the people who have burned their copies of The Secret and Ask and It Is Given and Think and Grow Rich while turning out their empty pockets and point to vacant parking spaces where a BMW should be standing.

Figuring out what we want is the cornerstone to manifestation. However, that is the proverbial banner in the wind, the bar of soap gripped too tightly in a wet palm. What makes this so elusive is the trouble with really knowing what we want at the core. We might start with grabbing our legal pad and making our what-we-would-do-if-we-won-the-lottery wish list without ever figuring out the main theme of the story. Most of those items are merely the outer skin of the onion. If we dig deep to ask ourselves why we want the things on that list, we will uncover a desire that resides beneath that, from which each bulleted item sprang.

The Westerner approach to looking at what we desire is merely the skin on the pudding that has been in the fridge too long. It is comprised of Madison Avenue employing the Joneses with whom we need to keep up. Our idea of what we want is suggested to us by pictures generated on the sides of our browser windows based on our previous searches. Yet we feed our desires in a consumerism exercise of Whack-a-Mole, where we purchase that thing to temporarily scratch that niggle of want, only to resurface when the shine of novelty has worn away from our trinket, and the familiar persistent wanting rises again.

In order to truly manifest our desire, we have to be able to identify the deepest want that serves as the wellspring of how that desire appears. It often comes in the form of single descriptors such as love, safety, recognition, peacefulness, joy, acknowledgement, appreciation. When we can identify and unveil these desires in their most basic forms, we can address them without all the shiny distractions, and we will find our manifestations from these desires will be created more purely than we could have ever imagined.

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Queen of Swords

Queen of Swords
A queen holds her sword, seated on a throne of stone, clouds brewing in the background

It is a simple fact that manifestation requires action. We must be diligent in applying our efforts and energy into that which we want to create. However, action without understanding the intent behind it can often produce results other than those we set out to attain.

There are times when we find ourselves dissatisfied with where we are in our lives, so we depend on activity to attempt to fill that void. We hold the belief that if we are busy, if we continue to take some form of action, any form of action, we are moving forward. The more dissatisfied we find ourselves with our station, the more energy we expend on being engaged with activity.

This constant activity can serve another deceptive purpose. It serves as a distraction from examining the source of our dissatisfaction. We constantly preoccupy ourselves lest we have to come face to face with our own unpleasant emotions during a moment of stillness. Rather than face ourselves in our unhappiness we will create projects, tasks, deeds, and endeavors to fill the space that would otherwise yield the dreadful prospect of introspection. As a result, excessively expending our energy can lead to injury or illness, where our body and psyche eventually collapse after consuming our own reserves.

At the point we begin to notice our efforts are not yielding the results we had hoped, when it feels like our wheels are spinning freely despite how far down we press on the pedal, we have an opportunity to pull back our energy and turn inward to examine what we are running from. Inside this examination is the pearl of our manifesting power. For within that feeling of dissatisfaction, within that acknowledgement of that which is in our lives that we do not want, lies that thing we do want. Once we push past the thing we are trying to avoid and see through to the thing we most desire , when we can look it in the eye and embrace it, we can then move toward attaining it. It is this acknowledgement of what we do want as opposed to what we don’t want that is the catalyst and the fuel of manifestation. We simply have to create a moment of stillness to allow ourselves to see it.

The tyranny of avocations

You would think after all this time I wouldn’t need to remind myself to breathe, something I do automatically. Yet I need to sometimes.

There are so many things I’m finding I want to do this evening. It’s strange how pressure can seem to mount up to get things done when these things are avocations, for enjoyment, for entertainment purposes only. Well, perhaps I’ll withdraw the word only in the last statement, considering the nature of some of these personal endeavors. Continue reading The tyranny of avocations

How accomplishments can subvert priorities

Sometimes what’s truly important may not feel like it in the moment.

This morning I sat on my couch stitching up the many holes in my projects before I had to get ready for work. The clock felt like it was shedding five minutes with each blink. In the rapidly evaporating free moments of the morning I was doing my best to check off one box after another, leading me closer to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow of accomplishment. Continue reading How accomplishments can subvert priorities

Not forcing staying present

I’ve been trying to practice staying in the moment. And that’s the problem.

I know how vital it is to remain present, to focus on the very moment we’re in. So that is what I have been focusing on doing. Making sure I stay firmly cemented in the present. To be honest it’s like trying to grip a bar of soap… as soon as you hold tightly onto the bar it pops out of your hand. The tighter you make your grip the more force it flies out with.

For some reason it was a lot of work. That’s not to mean the same as being a challenge to do. It means it felt strenuous, it felt like I was trying to steady my aim in a windstorm, the windstorm being my thoughts. Thoughts of the story I’m working on, thoughts of projects pending for work, thoughts of personal projects for my personal growth, thoughts of things I want to tell people, thoughts of things that amuse me. I sit in my little house in the twister holding my little dog watching these thoughts pass my window. Then I see the Wicked Witch of the Was cackle and I realize she is laughing at my Shiny Metal Object Disorder.

When I slap myself in the face to snap out of it and bring myself back to the present, I try to chain myself to the jersey barrier that is the present. Even as I take note of the gulls singing their melancholy songs from atop streetlights and the evergreens do their silly bop in the breeze, I still feel the pull of the imagination, knocking on the door of my attention and asking me if I can come out and play. I crack the window, lean out and say, “I can’t. I have to stay in the moment.”

But something has been bothering me. I feel like I keep wearing the wrong outfit to this dance with the moment. Why am I grounded from going to the playground of my imagination? I’m being a good boy. And I scold myself for slipping away from where the nanny said I have to wait… she told me I have to wait here in the moment.

It was that scolding voice that shook me loose. It was not the voice of the nanny, it was the voice of my own personal critic, the nemesis of my own personal minister. The critic was telling me what I was supposed to do and how I was supposed to do it and how I wasn’t doing it right…

So I took a moment to examine what the function was in staying in the present. After all, part of the problem is when we criticize ourselves in lieu of accepting ourselves for who we are, right? And that was the crux for me. The past and the future are often places we go for refuge. When we are uncomfortable in the present we go into the nostalgia of the past or the fantasy of the future and ask to be granted asylum. Or we constantly return to the scene of the crime in our past to participate in a nice session of self-flagellation or we take the time machine of our mind into the future where we can hopefully rectify a stressful upcoming event by incessantly dwelling on it.  Meanwhile the lampost gulls and the dancing maples frantically wave and squawk to get our attention, saying “Right here! Right here!”

As for the playground of the imagination? When its during a walk where the simple breeze of the day accompanies my stroll, or I’m waiting for the computer to finish a lengthy update, I’m allowed to go out and play. As long as I invite the moment to come play with me, as long as I allow the present to be a chaperone and I’m aware of its presence, then all is well.

The function of distraction

It is quite often I get swept up in the tide of my own unbridled enthusiasm.

I have been working on efforts to expand the reach of our podcast. Ideas have been flowing, changes have been implemented, new initiatives have been launched. However, lurking in the background is whatever the visualized explosive growth is becomes manifest. That is to say, the drive has plenty of passion and love for the effort, but then I need to plant the seed and walk away. I can be excited about the large fruitful plant exploding before my mind’s eye, but I cannot at this moment stand in front of the pot continually watering it until it inexplicably goes from seed to bloom overnight.

Then the minister makes me aware of something very beautiful that I had long thought to be a curse. The distractions, the “pinging”, the Shiny Metal Object Disorder. This really isn’t a disorder at all, it is a fantastic function. It is play at its best and at its utmost. The distraction serves as a tool for me to walk away, to draw my attention away from the newly planted seed so I don’t over tend it, so I can leave it alone so it will grow unfettered. It is a way for me to stay present, stay thoroughly embedded in the moment. The distraction is not a dysfunction, it is an employment, it is a means of manifestation that releases me from the looming giant parent that is expectation and accomplishment. It is the written excused absence from the class of completion and measured achievement. It is the appeal to the child in me that refuses to answer the question of what I want to be when I grow up.

For some time I believed that the distractions were means of escape, from drawing me out of the moment. But I would then ask myself what I planned to accomplish with each distraction, until the distractions I chose were inevitably distraction that clearly were frivolous in nature. Their own frivolity left no room for doubt that I planned to accomplish nothing, believing that any endeavor that could lead to something “fruitful” or “productive” should lead to an end result of accomplishment. This left a trail of detritus from abandoned projects, endeavors, and avocations. It felt to me like the flotsam and jetsam of an inability to see things through to their fruition, of unattained certificates and unearned credentials, of letters and dots that would have served as the tail on my name to provide me with balance, which instead have fallen from the displayed name of the abandoned storefront of my ambitions.

But where the beauty lies is that I never completely learned to put my head down and power through drudgery. Instead my survival skills consisted of those diversions that made my blood do little joyful jigs in my veins, that twirled tarantellas through my arteries. Whenever I tried to steel myself to push through the mundane and the banal, the magnet of play always drew me, reminding me that life is about the fun of dance and song and expression and joyful release.

What I used to consider the demon call distraction I now realize is a function of having a tiny party between each of those moments of obligation, of pulling me away from the ogre of expectation to let me settle nicely in the hot springs of the present, where I can just soak in the moment and be at one with my own simple joys.