The word “manifest” has been trendy for a few years now. The belief that our thoughts create reality has amplified hope in many. From finances to love to health to something as specific as a pebble with particular markings—by thinking specific and positive thoughts about something, the theory goes, the universe will deliver it to you. It’s a lovely concept.
Being of spiritual mind, I believe that positive intention brings positive results. But I am not sure that we are supposed to work so hard to manifest everything we think we want.
What if there is something better that we haven’t considered? What if your biggest dreams aren’t as big as your potential? What if trying to force one dream blocks something greater, or at least something more interesting? What would happen if we let go of trying to dictate our future and, instead, see what happens?
“Success is in the release, not the struggle,” said a talkative client once. It was a lightbulb moment for me.
Having moved from small-town life to Atlanta for new opportunities, I tried my best to manifest the job I thought I wanted. I set my sights on one luxury spa that met all of my criteria. The job would pay well and be a secure one with benefits, and I would give massage therapy to those with unlimited resources. Its menu mirrored my experience; I had been giving their treatments since early in my career. I had knowledge of the product and equipment. It seemed perfect. The spa began hiring just as I began looking.
To manifest my dream job, I kept the spa’s website up on my computer. I had relocated purely on faith after establishing positive correspondence and visiting the area around the property a few times. I even anonymously walked into the lobby and spiritually claimed it as my workplace. I studied Google Maps and Google Earth of the area so much I wouldn’t have needed a GPS at all when I got the job. I even learned about alternative routes so traffic situations couldn’t slow me. I wanted that job so badly I missed clues that it might not be right for me.
They didn’t hire me. They didn’t even give me the benefit of an interview. The rejection letter came three days after my arrival in Atlanta. Cue devastation. What went wrong?
I didn’t know it then, but nothing went wrong. Everything went perfectly right.
More than five years later, I am working happily at Exhale, one of Atlanta’s premium spas. It took some time, but shortly after I was hired, I was given full-time status. Soon after, I was promoted to lead therapist. Exhale has experienced incredible growth in the last two years, just as it was time to wind down my massage career. Exhale needed my expertise, and I am now the assistant spa director, with limitless room to grow.
I am grateful and humbled every day that I didn’t get the job I tried to manifest. I am where I have the most potential for professional development, and I have the privilege of serving hundreds of guests and other staff each day in ways that feel natural to me.
While I still believe that positive thought brings positive results and acting in faith delivers the seemingly impossible, I learned to stop trying to force manifestation of what I think I want and to allow the Divine to deliver what is right, even if I don’t yet know what that is. While I have an idea of what my life could be like in years to come, I’m learning to be open enough to let go of a specific result and enjoy the ride.
Life has a way of surprising you if you allow it to.
Lucretia Robison is a licensed massage therapist, Emory University-trained health coach and blogger. If you have a personal story of awakening that you’d like to share in our Walking Each Other Home column, please contact [email protected].