What I Got Wrong about Manifestation

Updated: May 10, 2020

For a conservatively-raised, good Christian, hard-working Millennial, the idea of Manifestation is as risque and taboo as they come. I can just hear my Boston-bred, Scotch-English, one-of-nine mama now...What do you mean “you send energy into the world to get your heart’s desires? You can’t just wish your dreams int existence. That is a load of poop.

And honestly, I’m wondering how she’ll take her little girl writing about something that seems so “whoo” and “new agey.” There are even certain practices and beliefs within the system I have discovered some people follow that I do not subscribe to, but overall I think at the core, Manifestation’s true principles are extremely relatable. So relatable, you have probably heard others espouse these teachings, even if they didn’t know that was what they were doing at the time… I’m looking at you, mama.


If you follow the personal growth and development gurus, you have probably heard the term Manifestation about twenty gazillion times. It is a hot topic right now and I think it gets a bad rap in certain circles, especially in the good, hard-working blue-collar communities where they are much more practical. I have noticed that the more I study manifestation, the more misconceptions I personally had about the practice. I used to think it was willing something to happen. Just meditate on your dream, say over and over, think about it all day, create a vision board with it smack-dab in the center and look at it while your brushing your teeth, sing about it in traffic and after all that energy you sent out, it will come into your world. It will just show up with the power of thought.

Boy, was I wrong about this one. Just a quick YouTube search put this misconception to bed. That was likely the largest barrier to entry I had with this ideology. I’m glad I figured out that “thinking it into existence” was one-hundred percent wrong. I was wrong about it all, in fact.

Here is what I know now to be true about it:

Manifestation, also known as The Law of Attraction, is the alignment of your mind, spirit, and actions.

That’s it. It is alignment. You can’t grasp what you’re fighting. You can step into a world you feel you don’t belong to. You can’t ask for more if you feel undeserving. But don’t worry, Cinderella. I got you.

If you are anything like I was, you might not be totally sold yet, holding this practice as a completely foreign idea. But you may actually be more familiar with this concept than you realize. Let’s do a GUT CHECK, shall we?

Have you ever heard any of these phrases?

Mind over matter.

Whether you think you can or cannot, you are right.

You get out what you put in.

Good things come to those who wait.

Trust that good things are on their way to you.

I am affirmations, such as I am generous. I am high vibe.

Work smarter, not harder.

Even if these inspirational tidbits do not originate from the teachings of Manifestation necessarily, (you can find them in Christianity, Buddhism, a Jim Rohn quote on the first page of a Google search, or your Grandma Addy’s conversations from the kitchen sink), I would wager there are nuggets of Manifestation principles that have surfaced all over your life. Up, down, sideways, and in the crannies.

You’ve likely heard one or more of the above motivational quotes. You can probably think of even more. So, this concept isn’t as foreign as you thought. In my still-figuring-this-out stage, I have developed the belief that The Law of Attraction is really about dreaming big and creating actionable steps and mindset shifts in your day to day life to bring it closer to you.


This breakout year of discovery and dreaming started with a belief: the belief that I am divinely created and was gifted with passions for a purpose. Wrapping my head around the freeing notion that it’s okay to actually lean into my passions as a way of honoring the woman that God had created me to be was humbling and empowering and completely terrifying all at the same time. Once I understood this, I was able to bring other things into alignment with that core belief. I was able to “future pace” as Amy Porterfield puts it. This is a practice where you imagine yourself in the future and, in that state, think back to the decisions you made that brought you to your desired outcome. It’s actually a way of reverse-engineering your desired result. You start to think about how that leveled-up, future version of yourself acts, thinks, behaves, reacts, engages, makes decisions, eats, works out, spends her time, what she finds valuable, what is non-negotiable, what is over-the-line, and so on. I started small. I asked myself what could I do now, within my current means, to make me into this person.


As soon as I started seeking out the things I dreamed Future Me would value, things started shifting. I found meaningful connections in circles I was only wished to be, I had aligned opportunities arise that I accepted because I knew it was a fit. What seems possible is a light year and a half from 2018 Rowan. Now here is the important part. This is the part most people who haven’t bought into this whole Manifesting thing yet don’t understand. Belief and vision casting and meditating only is half the picture. This is the part where the community I was raised in: the middle American, Christian, blue-collar community misses about this practice.

The other part: Action. You have to follow up your mental work with real-world grit and determination. Action is an essential pillar of The Law of Attraction. Although I am in no way down-playing how much energy it takes to do the mental heavy lifting, without action, all we gain is insight. But we won’t get closer to our goals with insight alone.

Asking myself what that Future Me would be up to, allowed me to reverse-engineer the goal into smaller projects then to break those down further into manageable tasks and sometimes still I get even more granular and break the tasks down into no-brainer, do-over-my morning-cafe-americano type of activities.

So, instead of "Redesign my website UX," my action is broken down into a smaller, easier task: Choose UX template.

Or, instead of "I'm renovating my bathroom," your action brakes down to: "get quote for new tiles." Easier, right?


Even if you dream, even if you do the work, you will self-sabotage and explain your way out and hold back from taking the necessary steps in the right direction. You may not even notice you’re doing it. It may cause you to delay the fruits of your labor indefinitely. If you go about half-heartedly doing the things, you are going to get half-hearted results. Sometimes seeing your dream as a reality is also phrased as “your desires are already on their way to you” or some variant of the kind.


Belief, Action, and Seeing Your Dream as a Reality is at the core of Manifestation. It comes down to that. That’s how you make it work. It’s equal parts mental and physical.

I found it especially reassuring when I found out there is a biological process in our brains called the Reticular Activating System (RAS) that bolsters all of this very “whoo” ideology. Your RAS is a network of nerves in the brain that has the sole purpose of locating what you want. It filters out the unimportant information so you can pinpoint the information that you want and need in the moment.

You may be familiar with the phenomenon where you buy a new green Fiat then you start seeing green Fiats everywhere. Or you notice the time at exactly 2:22 pm every day. That is your RAS sussing out the important information to you. During manifesting practices, people often journal and write down what they want.

Just the simple act of writing your dream on paper, it going from the mental recesses of your mind to the physical plane is powerful. You just told your RAS there is something important you desire. Now it going to work on making you aware of things that can accomplish the goal.

The Law of Attraction is a world I am subscribing to for sure. I don’t believe it conflicts with my Christian ideals. I do think that I will get strange patronizing looks from people I care about. I do believe people will call my belief in the practice names. I think I’ll also find others that subscribe to this too; people who have learned to put language and practices around this “mind over matter” thing and get stuff accomplished. I know because the evidence is already there.

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