What comes to mind when you first heard the word, “manifest?” For me, I think immediately of the term I had to memorize in high school history classes: “manifest destiny,” a belief in the United States that American settlers were destined to expand throughout the continent. The notion of manifesting is more general, as it has to do with displaying or showing a quality or feeling based on one’s acts, appearances, and mere thoughts. Basically, it comes down to the idea of you are what you think. If you constantly have positive, confident thoughts, you’ll attract similar vibes; the same is true for negative thoughts and demeanors.
There are many programs and beliefs out there that teach the idea of manifesting. I can summon many past examples when I was taught manifesting throughout my life. But like most teachings, I don’t typically focus on manifesting, at least not consciously. This past weekend, I discovered that I have been manifesting many of my dreams without even fully realizing it. That’s because manifesting has a lot to do with programming your subconscious, rather than simply your conscious mind.
Neurolinguistic Programming and Manifesting
Like most human beings, I have a penchant for self improvement through self insight. Thirst for the latter has led me down a number of crazy paths, beginning with being raised Southern Baptist to going completely agnostic with an ayahuasca ceremony thrown in for fun. An openness to exploring different methodology led me to discover NLP, also known as neurolinguistic programming. I got introduced to NLP one early morning when I finally dragged myself out of bed to attend an early morning breakfast networking session. Not a morning person at all, I convinced myself to go with the goal of having an in-depth conversation with at least one person to make it worth my while. That was how I met Kay Ries, owner and practitioner of the NLP Center for Change. We had a great natural spark during that first encounter, and several months later, Kay became a new client.
As I began helping Kay reform her marketing strategies, I found myself learning quite a bit about NLP and being curious for more. This past weekend, I finally got to experience Kay’s insightful and engaging teaching skills in person during her weekend-long workshop on manifesting, Create Tomorrow Today. I learned just a small chunk about NLP in the workshop and was surprised to realize that I’d been taught elements of NLP throughout my life already. Most of us have. We just don’t use those skills anymore.
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, United States in the 1970s. Its creators claim a connection between the neurological processes (“neuro”), language (“linguistic”) and behavioral patterns learned through experience (“programming”) and that these can be changed to achieve specific goals in life. – Wikipedia
What comprises NLP and Manifesting?
I can’t name all of NLP’s influences and strategies since I haven’t studied it in-depth, but my weekend workshop on Manifesting taught me core tools that I’ve learned and used to generate great results. A lot of these lessons were nicely summarized and presented in the popular film, The Secret (also available in book format). This weekend had been my first time watching this film, and I highly recommend it, even if you’ve seen it before. Its definition and illustration of the laws of attraction on how they can improve your life are very nicely presented in a compelling manner.
Here are some tools that will help you get started with Manifestation. If you ever participated in competitive sports or even taken a yoga class, you’ve likely been introduced to some of them.
1. Vision Boards
When I was 12 years old, my sixth grade teacher Mrs.Shaw left a lasting impact on me. Not only did she introduce me and the rest of my classmates to vegetarian food by holding class taste tests, but she instilled some of the following NLP fundamentals. There aren’t many homework assignments I remember, but I’ll never forget Mrs. Shaw’s assigned art project of making a collage depicting everything we wanted in life, aka a vision board. We spent a whole class day working on it, flipping through magazines and cutting out fancy cars, big mansions, and all kinds of visuals depicting our dream lifestyles. Of my personal vision board, I remember only one element: a gallant dark brown stallion horse and a peaceful ranch house surrounded by greenery. Fifteen years later, I was presented with the opportunity to partner with a horseback riding business in Belize, helping them with online marketing. I even got to go out and visit, where I found the dark brown stallion from my vision board. I had manifested my horse!
Over the past couple of years, vision boards have made their way back into my life thanks to Pinterest. I’m not a die-hard Pinterest user, but I do use it every single time I stumble upon a breathtaking image that I want to ability to revisit sometime later. All of my Pinterest boards are organized by category, such as Home Architecture and Portrait Ideas. Looking through the boards not only drives visual stimulation and creativity, but it also inspires you to seek beautiful places, people, and things.
2. Positive Affirmations
After vision boards, Mrs. Shaw proceeded to teach us about positive affirmations. She drilled the point home by assigning us the homework task of creating and memorizing our own affirmations to go along with our vision boards. As a result of fervent memorization techniques to help me ace the oral exam, my invented affirmations would become tattooed into my brain. In times of personal crisis and whenever my mind switches off into meditative state, these positive affirmations immediately rocket to the surface and start flowing in my mind. These phrases were,
“Every day and in every way I get better and better.”
“I am happy, healthy and prosperous.”
Today, those affirmations are not always at the tip of my tongue, but I do catch them running through the back of my mind whenever I need to motivate myself, or am experiencing moments of pure pleasure and bliss. These affirmations are a reminder to forever be seeking self improvement, and to practice constant gratitude for blessings in life.
You are what you think. Keep your inner monologue focused on positivity and your mental state and overall vibe will be more attractive and receptive to good fortune. You know those friends of yours who always seem to be lucky? That’s usually because they have such a positive mental state!
3. Positive Visualizations
Not long after learning about affirmations, I took up the sport of long distance running for my school’s cross country team. Throughout my six successive years as a competitive distance runner, my mental endurance was stretched and stamped with what one of my coaches called “PMA” or “positive mental attitude.” That meant cross country practice was generally half physical exercise and half meditation and positive visualization. Before a big race, my teammates and I would lie with our eyes closed in the grass and coach would lead us through a visualization session. As coach used to say, “it’s your mind that will win you victories, not your legs.” If you ever want strenuous, effective training in mental toughness, run a marathon.
Today, I still do quite a lot of visualization, especially when doing daily physical exercises. This is one of the key reasons why I love endurance sports like long distance running and never ever run with headphones. I treasure the quiet time I have with just my thoughts and typically flood my mind with visualizations while running. I see myself being a rockstar photographer, lazing around on the beach, landing my dream client, traveling the world, etc. Call it daydreaming because it is, but it’s also a powerful way to stay focused on what you want. More often than not, those daydreams I have end up coming true, and I have to make up new daydreams to replace them. Don’t be afraid to daydream. Insert yourself into your dreams and they’ll start to come true.
Law of Attraction Quotes
“A mental image gives you a framework upon which to work. It is like the drawing of the architect, or the map of the explorer. Think over this for a few moments until you get the idea firmly fixed in your mind.” – William Walker Atkinson
“The thought manifests as the word. The word manifests as the deed. The deed develops into habit. And the habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care. And let it spring from love, born out of concern for all beings.” – Buddha
“The Law of Attraction states that whatever you focus on, think about, read about, and talk about intensely, you’re going to attract more of into your life.” – Jack Canfield
Over To You
Have you had any experiences with positive thinking, manifesting, and NLP? Let me know in the comments below.
Disclosure: NLP Center for Change is a creative client of mine. All words and opinions are mine.