What do a riverside apartment in Manhattan, a 42" TV and meeting Sarah Jessica Parker have in common? Well, I manifested them all. I asked, believed and—much to my surprise—the universe delivered. I’ve been manifesting for 11 years since The Secret by Rhonda Byrne fell into my lap in a rather kismet way.
Ever the diligent student, I took to manifestation with as much gusto as my degree. I would send letters to the universe and spend hours (okay, months) visualising how I would get it. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. But last year, when I started to get that telltale feeling in my gut that I wasn't happy in my career and life, I knew that I needed to boost my manifesting game. I also realised that just thinking positive wasn’t going to cut it.
Naturally, the answer was to be found on Instagram, where I stumbled on the Free & Native page and saw Lacy Phillips, the founder and manifestation adviser. This was a radical shift from all of the manifesting I'd done in the past. The Free & Native approach was one that defined manifesting as a process of raising your self-worth and being authentic by reprogramming limiting beliefs. I was hooked.
When I was 17 and high on life, passive cosmic ordering and keeping a fake cheque for £100,000 in my purse was enough to inspire me. But at 28, I had no clue on where my life was headed, and I knew I had to work on manifesting the life I wanted.
So I got to work. I started by reading the Free & Native blog before buying the Unblocked Reparent and Opulence digital workshops. I had the aha moments that I'd only ever heard about on TED Talks. I was uncovering who I was and digging into the life experiences that shaped my belief system—the one that had an impact on how I managed my self-esteem, career, money and relationships.
It was transformative—so much so that I left a seven-year relationship and decided that a career in fashion and beauty (that I had two degrees and 12 years of experience in) wasn’t actually what I wanted to do full-time. I left my job and started working for myself as a reiki practitioner and meditation teacher instead. I'd never felt so fulfilled, and I had no idea that manifesting would help me to get more in tune with myself.
If you're ready to co-create with the universe in a more tangible way, then you're in luck. I spoke with Lacy Phillips to help understand how manifesting can allow you to find your true self.
What is manifesting all about?
Before, my idea of manifesting equalled passively "wishing" for and "visualizing" things. But if you really want to start properly manifesting, as Phillips advocates, then the work goes a whole lot deeper. She says that traditional manifesting focuses “on the ideas of ‘think positive’ and ‘visualise.’ I practised that for a very long time. I think I was visualising until I was blue in the face, but it wasn’t doing anything for me. When I was around 25, I realised that whenever I stepped into my worth and didn’t settle for what no longer served me, I would manifest very quickly.”
That’s the key to successfully manifesting: The work comes from you instead of just hoping that things will just miraculously happen. She adds, “I discovered that our thoughts don’t really determine our reality—our subconscious beliefs do. That’s where the psychology came in. I believe that the imprinting we picked up from 0 to 25 years old—or, if we’re being specific, 0 to 14 years old—determines what we’re manifesting in our lives. If we have limiting beliefs, pain, shame or trauma, then we’re blocking and not getting what we want. If we have a lot of worth and were praised and expanded growing up, then we receive what we want.”
The way Phillips sees it, successful manifesting requires you to first develop the self-worth to believe you deserve what it is you want, and then the universe will work with you to do the rest.
What does my self-worth have to do with getting what I want?
Looking back, so much of what I wanted to manifest wouldn’t come through for me because on a subconscious level, I just didn’t think I was worthy of having it. Phillips believes that this model “is a lot more focused on self-worth. If you’re in your whole authentic power and not settling, then you’re manifesting. It requires a lot of heavy lifting to reprogram your subconscious beliefs, which is where we manifest from. When we’re in our conscious state, we can fool ourselves from our ego. We can say ‘Yeah, I’m totally in my worth,’ but it really has to do with what your subconscious has to say about it—that limbic brain that we imprinted when we were young.”
Heavy lifting is the perfect way to describe it. Taking deep dives back into my past isn't easy. But as hard as the work is, it’s where all of my profound shifts have occurred.
What role do neuroscience, hypnosis and psychology have?
As a reiki teacher, I understood how meditation rewires the brain and can create changes in thinking. The workshops include deep imaginings that are similar to hypnosis, so you just pop your headphones in and listen to a guided meditation. Phillips explains that this method is “such a big part of manifesting and speeds everything up. After my research, I started to realise that if you create new neural pathways during hypnosis, our subconscious comes forward and it can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what's not.”
When I do the Daily Reprogramming Exercise, I investigate and reprogram any triggers from my past, such as reimagining the dynamics of my relationship with my dad. Phillips adds, “Our subconscious is constantly looping on fears." She says that by reprogramming, you can give your brain "alternative ways of approaching or experiencing life, so it’s faked out and starts to believe it. When we reinforce that enough, it creates a new neural pathway in the synapses, and because it’s positive and safe, old fear kind of dies off.”
How do I manifest if I don't have clarity on what I actually want?
My old manifesting lists pretty much read like a shopping list until I started journaling and doing the work to learn more about who my most authentic self is. Phillips says that “if you’re just stumbling into the work, don’t pressure yourself into needing to know the specifics of what you want, as you tend to find it along the way.”
She also goes on to say that a good place to start is by “tapping into your core wants. A great exercise to do is throughout the day is to just start deciphering what you like and what you don’t like. Find those intuitive pulls that light you up for no reason—the ones that you spend the most time googling and checking out." You never know—your search history might actually be a clue to your life purpose.
Should I really throw out my vision board?
Oh, how I loved a vision board. But when I struggled with my career, it was the idea of finding expanders that actually started to get things moving for me.
Instead of visualising, Phillips has the lowdown on what to do instead: “When I was figuring out this process, I noticed all of the places in my life where I had grown and manifested things. It was because somebody around me had accomplished that, and I saw and identified with them. There wasn’t a differentiation, and so finally, my low self-worth believed that if they could do it, I could do it too."
Social media is great for this. I looked for successful women who were similar to me and in the careers and relationships that I wanted to manifest. She adds that "the concept of expanders is—again—from the imprinting when we were in childhood—especially if the things we wanted inside of us weren’t really available or, even worse, we were told we couldn't have them. Then we’re looping on that in our subconscious. Our retina is the first processor of the brain, so until we see and believe that it’s possible, there isn’t space for it.”
Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash
Is manifesting a daily commitment?
Before I only manifested when times got hard and I really needed something. However, now its become a part of my daily life. Formula and Magnetism is a good place to start if you’re new, but even without the workshops, Phillips has some beneficial and free ways to start manifesting.
“Just journal out one thing that triggered you. Also, have a journal of pings to follow. Those are such powerful ways to take inventory and have more awareness of who you are and what you’re being guided to do. When we’re triggered, it’s like a big mirror in our life—it’s a gift showing us where we have a limiting belief that’s blocking us from our manifesting. If you write that trigger down, investigate it, then reprogram, you’re doing so much of the work already." These pings are those little messages that your intuition sends you throughout the day. When I gave myself the permission to follow them, things started to happen.
She has one more manifesting trick up her sleeve: “Another thing you can do is start saying no to anything that’s not serving you. A job is something that takes time, but not the little things like a friend who’s pressuring you to hang out when you don’t really want to. Just say no. Say no to anything that is less than what you desire and makes you feel small.”
I didn’t expect a practice that started with me asking the universe for a pair of Gucci loafers would end up with me discovering who I really am. Believing (for the first time) that I’m worthy enough to make the life that I’ve always wanted happen is incredible. If you’re at the end of the road with self-help books, then manifesting is a good way to rediscover yourself.