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 October 21, 2021, and on today's episode we'll discuss the need for action in manifestation, how magic doesn't run on thoughts alone, and what we can do today to nurture profound change in our lives. Are you ready to grow your soul?
My listener stats tell me that it’s pretty likely that the majority of my listeners know what I’m talking about when I say hope chest. Or at least would have heard the term before. But for the younger set who might not know and for the non-American listeners who might have heard it called something else, a hope chest is what a girl would have used to collect the kind of household items she would need when she got married.
So, like, unmarried young women would start gathering things like linens and maybe some kitchen things so they had kind of a head start on setting up their future home. This was, you know, men were expected to make sure they could, you know, financially support their future family, and for a long time the equivalent for women was to show up to married life with some stuff already set aside to create their new home life.
And if you’re wondering, no, I’m not that old. And the topic for today actually has nothing to do with marriage, per se, but it has everything to do with manifestation and for whatever reason, this is the example that popped into my head to illustrate what I mean.
So, here’s the thing: manifestation is a huge buzz word these days, a topic that a ton of people focus in on, and it’s part of what I deal with in my so-called regular job but it’s also very tied in with magical practice. I hadn’t heard much of the word “manifestation” used to describe it, but basically when we talk about manifestation these days it’s really a mainstreaming of the concept of magic.
What a lot of people who are very much into manifestation but haven’t ever really dealt in magic kind of miss about the whole thing is that manifestation and magic, even though they are very very dependent on the mind, on mental energy, on intention, do not run on thought alone.
And I was talking in a work context about this the other day, about manifestation and specifically intentionality, and how it does and doesn’t work. Because what I see in my coaching work and just in life these days is that when you tell someone that things come down to intentions and intentionality, what they hear a lot of the time is that it’s about wanting something hard enough. Like, think about it harder. Dream about it harder. Focus on the desire to have something.
And after that conversation I was thinking about how often I see people, and sometimes even how often I myself do this thing where we want things, we set intentions, we have focus, we talk about what we’re going to manifest, but our actions say exactly the opposite. They have their intentions, but like my boss said, they only want it to manifest on their terms. Or what I see a lot, where people have intentions, but they prepare for that intention to fail to manifest rather than preparing for it to manifest. And I see it with magical practice, too, not just in the law of attraction type circles. I see it in pagan magical practice. That if you put enough intention, enough energy, enough of yourself into a spell, you’ll get what you ask for.
And interestingly enough, a lot of this also hearkens back to the way I was raised, the church I was raised in. This is something I’ve been thinking about as I talk about the upcoming book launch, not that I go into in the book itself, but there is definitely a connection between the way we talk about intention and manifestation, the way we talk about energy and magical power, and the way we talk about faith and blessings. It’s such a nice thing to think, right, that if we do the right stuff in our brains, the right intentions and beliefs and thoughts, that what we want and need and ask for will just, like, come into our lives. Just appear for us.
So, what I think so many people fall into thinking is that — And this may be kind of an ongoing theme in episodes for a while — They think that either intention and magic and faith are the key and if you get that right you’ll get the blessings and manifestation and all that, OR they think that those things are just woo woo crap and everything is either active effort or pure luck, and those are the two choices. Either the world is magical, or magic is bunk, so if one is wrong the other is right.
But that’s not right, either. That’s not where I’m going with this. Because what is missing in our approach a lot of the time is that what we think our intentions and prayers and spellwork is trying to attract and manifest and ask for isn’t really what we’re communicating through action. And in a moment I’m going to explain what a hope chest has to do with all this.
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So, the hope chest. What does it have to do with manifestation?
Well, here’s the thing that I see, not just in other people but in myself as well. We talk about our intentions, our dreams, our desires, but what we prepare ourselves for is something else. And we do have to set the stage for what we’re hoping to manifest. If your intention is to travel the world and you never get a passport, is your intention likely to manifest? Or even more accurately, if your intention is to travel the world, but you take on all kinds of obligations which prevent you from being able to leave home and you pour all your extra money into things to fill your home with, all your actions and choices are screaming that you don’t want to go anywhere.
How will your intention manifest if you pour your energy into preparing for it to never happen?
That’s the beauty, I think, in the hope chest. I mean, I have a weird relationship with marriage for someone who has been married for almost a decade now. Still, though, the concept of it, the idea of not just dreaming of starting your own household someday, but actually setting aside things to prepare for that eventuality, that’s more than an act of intentionality or faith. We don’t demonstrate intention by daring the universe to square up against our contrary actions and decisions and make what we want happen despite our efforts to create some other outcome. It’s not as important to just mentally get your intentions straight.
And in fact, I think one of the biggest indicators that what you think your intentions are is actually what your intentions are is that you take action to prepare for or at the very least open your life to the possibility of those intentions manifesting. If your metaphorical hope chest isn’t being used to prepare for your intended future and instead you’re, like, packing it full of clutter and stacking things on it, still metaphorically speaking, then what would even happen in your life if the intention did come to pass?
Of course, this leads to an even bigger issue, right? If we really have an intention but we’re acting against it, why? Where is the resistance? What are the fears making us act against what we think we want? Are our intentions not really our intentions, or do we just have too much baggage in our way?
Those are all topics for future shows, and for my book, by the way. This part of the topic is very much part of Deep Self Magic.
But that’s… if you struggle with manifestation, if you struggle with making your magic work, take a good hard look at your life and what actions you’re taking, what decisions you’re making. Are you making space for that manifestation? If you got what you think you want, would you even be able to handle it? Would it completely upend your life and throw everything into chaos?
You know, I’ll tell you how I know this has played out in my life in the past, and it does have to do with my book. So, for all kinds of reasons, I’ve been really resistant to collaborating with people, asking for help, putting myself out there and risking real visibility, real critique by people because of all kinds of hangups and such around being criticized and made to feel unworthy. Which is, you know, stuff I’ll probably always be working on. Trauma doesn’t necessarily stand in the way of manifestation. It doesn’t if we don’t allow it to. But for a long time, I allowed it to. Because I had all kinds of intentions for my life, my career, things I wanted to accomplish, including books I wanted to publish.
The thing is, there’s a limit to my knowledge and expertise and what I can do without asking for help. So I’ve published projects and then just not sold very many copies because, you know, what do I know about the rest of the process? And as much as I had the intention, as much as I had faith in myself and my ability to figure things out and whatever, every time I published a project I played small, I didn’t ask for assistance, I didn’t put myself fully out there, and therefore nothing really happened because people don’t buy books they don’t know about, right?
And it’s not just that I didn’t ask for help, I rejected it. I pushed away anything that felt like it might be critical eyes on my writing or my art or whatever. No meddling. No matter how strong my intention to build a career or a life or even a strong hobby out of creating and writing and whatever, as long as I pushed away everyone’s attention I was actively sabotaging that intention. And thankfully things happened in the last year and a half to make me realize that I was preventing that manifestation. No matter how much I wrote and created and talked about making something of my creations someday, it wasn’t going to happen if I kept shutting the door to the possibility.
So I opened the door. I shifted my intention. Instead of talking about how someday I wanted to be a writer and all that, I talked about how someday I wanted to find a publisher or an agent or something who knew how to promote my work. And that’s something, too. That’s an element, too. Especially in magic. Words matter. So what you tell people your intention is has an impact on you as well. But that’s what I did, I made the solution my intention, and I ended up chance meeting Judith with Carnelian Moon Publishing and realizing, like, this was the publisher who would really understand my work and had the right energy and all I had to do was take the affirmative action, take the leap and bring them in to help.
Before that, I talked a lot about how I preferred to self publish because I didn’t trust other people to understand what I was creating. That’s not preparing for a bigger intention to manifest, right? That’s the opposite!
So what are you energetically putting in your metaphorical hope chest? What are you taking action to open your life to, to prepare for manifesting? Because what you prepare for is what you have room to receive.
If you love The Waxing Soul, connect with me online! BridgetOwens.com is the central hub for all my projects including books, card decks, and resources. Go there to get my latest book, Deep Self Magic, to connect as a potential podcast guest, and to find out all the latest news. Also find me on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook as bridget owens magic and on Twitter as waxing soul.
As I’ve been doing the past few weeks, I’d like to end the episode by reading a passage related to today’s topic from my upcoming book, Deep Self Magic: A Step By Step Roadmap to Spiritual Authenticity. The book is an exploration of what it means to be authentic, how to get to know our authentic deep selves, how to emerge and live our true identity, and ultimately how to leverage its power to transform ourselves, our spiritual practice, and our world. It will be available in ebook starting October 28th with paperback soon to follow, and over the course of 2021 I’ll be bringing out a companion workbook, coloring book, oracle deck, and audiobook.
“What good does it do to go through the whole painstaking process of learning about ourselves, doing the hard work of embracing our authenticity, committing ourselves to personal evolution, and then fill our lives with things that get in the way of or distract from those evolutionary processes? The things and people we surround ourselves with both reflect us and shape us, and even the most authentically supportive environment can eventually hold us back from our potential and dreams. And this is especially true if the focus of the environment we build is our achievements, our identity, our material desires. All of that comes from who we are at a moment in time, and the more of it we get and surround ourselves with, the more likely we are to stay that person.
The more honest work we do towards an authentic spirituality, the less we’re going to be focused on what we can have or what we can change about the world around us, and the more we’re going to be concerned about the changes we want for our inner selves. Our environment, our self-expression, and our possessions stop being achievements in themselves.
Evolution is not driven by intention; it’s driven by external changes. We evolve because we have to change to continue to thrive, and those changes come from outside, not inside. We evolve by adapting to our environment when it challenges us, so if our environment doesn’t challenge our ability to keep thriving, we won’t evolve. If our environment remains exactly as our deep self has manifested, we’re not going to feel any pressure to be different.
Sure, life is going to throw challenges and changes at us no matter what, but that doesn’t necessarily cause us to evolve, because our first and most deeply human reaction to change and challenge is to avoid it, hide from it, and ignore it as much as we can. That’s how we accumulate all that stuff that we shoved into the dark corners of ourselves. Any changes we had to make or pieces of ourselves we had to lean on to deal with challenges in the short term didn’t feel like who we wanted to be, so we pushed them away into the dark where we didn’t have to acknowledge them. We seek comfort and safety, even if it means denying parts of ourselves because that’s what our instincts tell us to do. But instincts aren’t about evolution.
If we have any interest in changing, in elevating ourselves, in personal evolution, we’ve got to lean into the specific challenges that are most likely to trigger those specific adaptations. It means we have to make the appropriate adjustments in our physical environment rather than waiting for natural processes to shift on their own. We have to design our environment rather than just manifest or create it.
Basically, evolution means seeking out, and when we have to, creating the particular environment that is going to pressure us into the changes we want to make in ourselves. That’s the kind of environmental design it takes to foster evolutionary changes rather than just personal growth. We have to surround ourselves with different people, situations, and things to become a new version of ourselves.”
Thank you so much for listening. New episodes of the Waxing Soul drop every Thursday. All materials and resources except the music are copyright Bridget Owens. Many thanks to my readers, listeners, friends, mentors, inspirations, and my framily for riding with me into season two. Until next week, blessed be and be good to yourself.