I’m Bridget Owens and you're listening to the Waxing Soul podcast. Join me on an exploration of mindful modern magic, a journey towards deeper understanding of self and transformative individual spirituality. It's November 5, 2020, and on today's episode we'll be discussing the ways we shut ourselves off from seeing and recognizing paths to manifestation that don't fit our expectations, why we shouldn't try to micromanage the universe, and how to train your brain to see greater possibilities. Are you ready to grow your soul?
Welcome back and thanks for joining me again on the podcast.
It’s my favorite time of year, and I hope you all had a wonderful Samhain. Astrologically speaking, it’s winter, which for me is the most spiritually potent season of the year. Which is why I chose to start this podcast last week, just in time for what I consider my spiritual New Year.
Anyway, last week I debuted this podcast by talking about intentions. And I talked about how for a long time I’d fixated on a specific career path as a way to achieve a certain lifestyle. And I’ll be super blunt: I wanted to feel popular and respected, right? I wanted to be the kind of person who had a cool friends who wanted to come over and be around me. And I thought I knew what it would take to get there.
I also talked last week about how bad we are as humans at stringing together cause and effect relationships.
Now, over time I realized a couple of things personally. First, that I’d developed this belief that people who had the kind of life and social life that I wanted had things I didn’t like money and fame, so in my mind that was the most logical path to what I wanted. Second, I realized that there were so many ways to get there. Really, having a home I was proud to entertain in and a group of friends to entertain is achievable without lots of other steps, right? It seems so simple, but me realizing I was focusing on the wrong thing came as kind of a shock to me.
Anyway, it was a super important lesson on my spiritual path, reinforced by another story I’ll tell really quick:
When I first learned about sigil spells, I decided to do a little experiment to test the technique because I’m a skeptic at heart. So I did a handful of sigil spells for things that were really inconsequential. Nothing I cared too deeply about, so if it didn’t work or worked in some kind of weird way, it would be no big deal. And one of the spells… Well, I’d gone to an event where I was supposed to get a free bra. I know it sounds weird. But they didn’t have my size and were supposed to ship it to me. So I did a spell to basically call that bra to me because I honestly doubted they were going to remember to send it, and just for icing on the cake I added that it should be pink.
So I did the spell, but I didn’t mention the event or anything because the intention statement needed to be very concise and short. Well, long story short, that bra never came. But my wife – not knowing anything about the spell because telling people would ruin the test – was visiting her parents. Her mom took her shopping, they were buying her a bra, so my wife picked me one as well, and lo and behold she came home with a surprise pink bra for me. Which is weird. We don’t usually buy bras as travel souvenirs, none of my bras had ever been pink until then, and of all the things I’d expect my wife to pick out for me, a bra isn’t one. But there it was. Not the way I’d envisioned it, but totally within the parameters of the spell.
And there were a couple of other spells in that little experiment group which did, actually, come to pass but just not in the way I envisioned when I did them.
Now, here’s the thing: Manifestation and magic are attractive concepts because we love the ability to make our desires happen by our own doing or thinking or alignment or whatever. But somewhere in there we have this annoying tendency to micromanage the process and be super demanding and particular about how those things happen.
Despite what you’ve probably been told, persistent insistence on an end goal is not the key to success, especially when it comes to challenging or unlikely goals. Sure, we’ve got examples of people who apparently made something happen by just sticking with it and pushing everything as hard as possible, but for every one of those there are countless others who were relentless and driven and ended up failing and bitter. And it’s true for manifestation and magic, too. For every person who swears that the key is persistent focus and specificity and doing things just right, there are countless others who are trying everything and not getting the results they want.
The problem isn’t that manifestation and magic don’t work. It goes back to intention but it also has to do with our need to control how things happen. We can’t actually micromanage the universe. And if we’re hellbent on one particular path to whatever our goals are, we make it so that nearly every opportunity that is going to pop up, all kinds of alternative paths to the goal, are going to go by unnoticed. So this episode is really about how to open yourself to success rather than closing yourself off from it.
If you're enjoying this episode of Waxing Soul, subscribe to the show! Each week we will dive into a different part of the world of spirituality, magic, and self-evolution. Check out last week's episode for a discussion of the importance of digging into your deepest intentions, why we are so good at desires but so bad at intentions, and the three questions to ask to get down to the root of what you really want. And come back next week when we'll talk about how our spiritual history impacts our search for a path of our own, why trying on many different traditions isn't the best way to find the one that fits best, and what questions to ask yourself to figure out what you're really searching for.
Here’s the thing about magic and other spiritual workings: we’re not turning to that to get things done the mundane, normal way. Even if the intention is mundane, everyday stuff, we’re not looking for or expecting things to proceed in just a normal, mundane way. If I’m totally confident that I know everything I need to know to ace a test, I’m probably not going to spend time trying to manifest that good test score by magical means. But if I’m working spiritually to manifest a good score on a test it means I’m pretty sure any studying or preparing I can do the usual way isn’t likely to be enough. I’m turning to spiritual means to either settle my emotions around the situation, to try and turn the odds in my favor, to clear barriers to success out of my way… It might be lots of different things I hope for but they’re things I don’t have good mundane methods for getting there.
So here’s why it’s important to be more open, more flexible, less controlling when it comes to our intentions: If we had a really strong grasp on how to make these things come to be, we wouldn’t need spiritual methods to get it done.
Not just that, but we actually reduce the chance of our intentions coming to pass if we keep stepping in the way of whatever those spiritual methods manifest or keep interfering with the spiritual processes at work.
So, as a strong feminist woman who knows a few things and has a decently useful skillset, one of my biggest pet peeves is people explaining things to me that I already know or giving me advice when there’s no real sign that I need the advice. And especially when I’ve been given a task or job to do, being micromanaged and second guessed is just the worst. It’s super annoying, right?
And that’s not a bad metaphor for how we often deal with the spiritual forces we call on when we need assistance from outside ourselves.
We put our intention out there, do a spell, do a working, whatever, and then we impatiently wait for things to fall together. Divination to check up on how things will turn out. Wanting or needing signs and signals and reassurance. Only accepting idealistic returns on our efforts, ignoring anything that doesn’t fit our vision of how things were supposed to play out.
But if we’re calling upon the universe to help us, we have to let go of the hows and whys and not try to control or micromanage the way in which it happens.
It’s kind of like hiring a contractor to do a job, which may not be a metaphor that fits well in your personal cosmology but I think it’s the best one. If you hire a plumber to fix your sink it’s because you either don’t know how to do it or don’t have the resources to do it. So the more demands you make on them, the more you hover and pick at their methods and assert control, the more likely you are to be completely dissatisfied with the result and the more likely they are to never ever answer your call ever again. Anyone who’s ever hired a contractor to do a big project knows that it’s a literal miracle to make it all the way through with no surprises, no changes to the budget, no adjustments, exactly as planned.
So especially when we give a task over to the powers of the universe, we have to let go, leave the process alone, and be open to the results in whatever form they take.Tweet
But more than it just being a good idea to open yourself up to all the possibilities when it comes to your spiritual workings, that’s actually part of the mechanism by which it all works. There has to be a mindset shift, a letting go, so that your own blinders come off and your subconscious is tuned to see all the potential answers to your request.
You know how you notice hiring signs more when you’re looking for a job? Or when you buy a car and then suddenly start noticing all the other same type cars on the road? A super huge part of magic is opening your eyes in that kind of way.Tweet
If you are really focused on your deep intention, down to your subconscious, then you’re going to be subconsciously tuned to see more of it. And that mindset reset doesn’t happen if you stay focused on one particular path towards your goal, or if you have the wrong goal in mind, like I talked about last week. So if you struggle with your magical practice, struggle with manifestation, the problem is very very likely to be tied back to what your intention is and your openness to the many ways your positive return might come about.
The workings themselves aren’t complicated. We just have to get our approach right.
If you have a question, comment, or a suggestion for future show topics, you can submit them by hitting me up on any of my social media accounts:
I’m a big believer in the idea that the skills and mindsets that make us better spiritual practitioners bleed over into mundane life too, because really there’s not the kind of separation there that you might expect. It’s all the same thing. Shifting our mindset to be more open to a wide range of possibilities for getting what we want in life isn’t just good for our spiritual practices. It’s just a generally good mind space to exist in.
Being more open to unexpected opportunities just increases your likelihood of building whatever it is you’re aspiring to in life.Tweet
So how do you change that part of your mindset and outlook?
Well, practice makes perfect, so I’ve got a little exercise for you to help change your thought patterns and get past the restrictions and whatever limitations you have on the way you see the world. It’s about brainstorming and training your mind to imagine more and more pathways towards a single goal.
Now, there’s one central rule to brainstorming, and this is super important. I learned this in the gifted program when I was a kid. The thing about brainstorming is that when you’re in the brainstorming phase itself, when you’re actually throwing out ideas, the only way to really have a freethinking process is to consider all ideas acceptable. No matter how silly, no matter how awful, no matter how unlikely. You write down literally every single one. And that’s not because all ideas are good. If you’re brainstorming to actually find a solution to something, after the phase of gathering all the possible ideas you can think of, you start eliminating the ones that aren’t good. But the point at which you evaluate the value of each idea comes later, and in this case we’re not worried about that. We’re just going to practice the brainstorming part.
And the reason why you accept all ideas at this part is that even the dumb ideas have a purpose. There’s a reason they popped into your brain. Maybe they lead to something more plausible. Maybe they clear distracting thoughts so you can move on mentally. But it’s super important to be able to free your mind from subconscious judgment and let your brain run totally free. And not all of us are very good at that. Lots of things have trained us to censor ourselves, to judge our own ideas through what we think others might think, that sort of thing. It’s something we do subconsciously. And it impacts our spiritual work, too. We make those judgments without thinking about it.
So, instead of giving into that, we brainstorm!
I’ve got a download for you which you can find the link below, and it is intended to be cut up into small cards. And each one has a little prompt in it. Starting with some intention, some goal – and it doesn’t have to be a spiritual thing here. This can be just whatever goals you’re working towards.
Not process, goal.
This is a super important distinction. Lots of things we think of as goals aren’t really goals. Like, “I’m going to do yoga every morning” isn’t a goal. It’s not an intention. It’s a methodology. The reasons why you think a morning yoga practice will benefit you are more of a goal. See last week’s episode for more on that distinction, but I will say that if the exercise doesn’t make sense with the goal you’re thinking of, it’s probably not a goal. Like, you can’t go, “What’s another way that it could happen that I do yoga every morning?” You can brainstorm other ways to, say, be more flexible or reduce your stress, but you can’t really think of other ways to do morning yoga.
Or here’s another good distinction – a goal is about being or having, it’s not about doing. Like, being healthier or having a six pack is a goal, but doing yoga isn’t a goal.
But whatever, you start with a goal or an intention, and the prompts are there to get you thinking creatively about how that goal might be obtained in lots and lots of other ways. Some will seem silly, some maybe kind of out of left field, but that’s the point. You take the end goal and maybe see how many you can fill out all at once, maybe do it once a day, whatever you want to do. Maybe fold them up, keep them in a jar somewhere until you reach the goal, and then look back at all those prompts. Or don’t keep them, just go through the exercise.
It’s all about letting your mind open itself to seeing possibilties and potential, to open up that capacity in your brain.
And feel free to keep going, add your own ideas. Stretch your brain legs or whatever.
If you get good at this, if you make it a habit to think in a much more expansive way, to see more ideas and potential around you, when the universe answers your requests in unexpected ways you’re far more likely to actually see it. That’s an abundance mindset. That’s positive thinking, right? All the mindsets that people strive to have, if you’re able to see infinite pathways to any destination it becomes harder to feel limited or pessimistic about the world around you.
Thank you so much for listening. Look for a new episode of Waxing Soul every Thursday. All materials and resources except the music are © Bridget Owens. Music is Dream Catcher by Kevin MacLeod https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4650-dream-catcher License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Many thanks to my readers, listeners, friends, mentors, inspirations, and my framily. None of this happens in a bubble. Until next week, blessed be and be good to yourself.