Hi, beautiful souls.
Lately I've been thinking on just how profoundly our spiritual practices and commitments to come home to ourselves time and time again impact literally everything else in our lives.
When we get into alignment from within, our outer lives start to fall into place naturally. Sometimes in ways more perfect than we could have even dreamed up in our own minds. The Universe has such beautiful gifts for those willing to surrender and co-create.
One of the first things that manifested into my life when I began to get into spiritual alignment was my relationship.
It's really a pretty epic story that I shared over on Lunchbox - the online publication I spent much of 2020 writing for - last year. (It's written in Lunchbox format with all lower case and a slightly different voice. A little something different!)
I got inspired today to throw it back and share this story with you here, because I truly believe that it's a testament to the funny, mysterious, and unexpected ways the Universe works, and that all this inner work I'm constantly writing and shouting about from the rooftops genuinely has the power to transform us in real, tangible ways.
So grab a cup of tea and enjoy this one. With infinite love, from my heart to yours. Xo.
all my life, i’ve craved intimacy.
physical, romantic, emotional – you name it, i sought it out. as early as preschool, i latched onto people i was attracted to and furiously unleashed my love on them whether they asked for it or not. i had my first kiss in kindergarten. in elementary school, my group of girlfriends told me that my totem animal was a lovebird, because i was “so obsessed with boys.”
one might say i came into this life with attachment issues, the results of which have often been less than positive. i have been slut-shamed, made fun of and, worst of all, left high and dry by many of the people i so freely gave my heart to. often, the explanation i received was that i “came on too strong.”
i internalized the negative commentary that surrounded my romantic relationships from childhood right on through to adulthood. the surface noise of others’ opinions caused me to retreat quietly into a cave of shame and embarrassment. over the years, my unabashed declarations of love slowly turned into more guarded, careful approaches to those i was romantically interested in.
but beneath the surface, the same desires bubbled and churned. i craved partnership. i wanted to experience life with someone. i continued to seek that intimacy out, and my borderline desperation led me to look in all the wrong places.
i went from one relationship to the next with virtually no break throughout my teens and early twenties. year by year as more rejection accrued, my subconscious need for validation from a partner festered into intense insecurity. what was wrong with me? why couldn’t i make anyone stay? why did i want love so badly, but the people i was getting involved with seemed perfectly content with just a casual fling?
the energy i was projecting into my relationships was not one of healthy confidence, but of incompleteness and insecurity. though at the surface level i appeared successful and sure of myself, i was subconsciously pushing everyone away with the toxic fear narrative that i needed a partner in order to be complete.
fast forward to new york city in the summer of 2018.
i’d finished my first year of graduate school and completed some intense shadow work. after two of my most misaligned relationships yet and the pain and soul-searching that followed, i was beginning to notice my patterns and had derived some possible explanations for my nearly lifelong need for validation from men.
i was single as could be for the first time in forever, singing in a prestigious opera program, figuring out the nyc subway system with google maps as my only companion and having the time of my damn life. for the first time, i felt genuinely ecstatic about my life all on its own. i was so empowered by the experience of conquering city by myself that, without even trying, my need to complete myself through partnership subsided. all of a sudden, after 10 years of wandering, i was starting to come home to myself. i felt content. i felt genuinely joyful! and i didn’t need anyone to provide that joy for me.
i returned to graduate school that fall with absolutely zero intention of starting a new relationship. i made the firm decision not to search for anything, and i meant it to the very core of my being. my contentment was genuine. i had new york city glow all over me, and i was ready to take on the world as a strong, independent woman.
i told myself that if i were to start dating someone at any point in the near future (though, i repeat, that was not the plan!), i wouldn’t settle for anything less than a person who matched my level of empowered confidence - basically, a man who had his shit together.
well, two weeks after this mental, emotional and spiritual declaration of independence, i met my current partner.
i turned my back for two seconds, and the universe dropped my soulmate smack dab in the middle of the school of music practice room building just as i happened to be walking out. that trope about how “it comes when you stop looking” turned out be – in this case, at least – true.
when you think about it energetically, it makes sense. the law of attraction teaches that what you focus on magnifies in your life. before new york, i projected an energy of low self-esteem and adopted a “why me?” attitude about my many failed relationships. in turn, i attracted people who, similarly, had low self-worth that either made them run from commitment or reflected my desperation back to me, resulting in a codependence spiral. that day in the practice room building, i was focused on my confidence, joy and independence, which were magnified in the form of a man with a similar level of emotional wholeness.
i’m not going to say that my current relationship is perfect. it’s not. but it is kind, supportive, patient, communicative and fun. it’s a partnership between two whole people who, instead of completing one another, amplify and expand each other’s wholeness.
while i was not consciously manifesting this man into my life, there are several things i attribute to his organic and perfectly timed arrival in my life. i see the shift in my patterns from before new york to after, and i know that i was paving the way for this to happen. in observing the process, i see that the manifestation happened in four stages that can be consciously applied if you are looking to attract a partnership between yourself and another whole, confident, beautiful person.
Complete Surrender and Deep-Dive into Shadow Work.
the first and most important step is complete and total surrender.
now, i’ve had friends who resolved to stop looking, but continued to go on Bumble dates and have casual hook-ups. there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it’s not a complete surrender. this approach maintains the focus on searching and striving. remember, what you focus on is what you attract! focusing solely on your independence with no intention of finding someone sends the message that you are in true surrender mode, free of grasping for specific outcomes.
it’s important to note that there may be some necessary shadow work involved here. energy doesn’t lie. you may be consciously telling yourself that you’re not looking for a partner, but still project an energy of lack and incompleteness beneath the surface. if this is the case, lean into that shadow work. dive deep into meditations, inner child work or even therapy if you feel there are ingrained patterns and mental fear narratives holding you back from truly surrendering the need for a relationship.
shadow work can be painful, but the other side of it is almost always triumphant. revolutionary, even. it’s hugely empowering to look inward and start to understand where your deep-seated emotional patterns come from, and pinpointing how you can begin to heal them. through this process, you’ll grow into your wholeness and independence one step at a time.
Enjoyment of Your Independence
once you’re in full surrender mode, you’re free to enjoy life on your own terms. the world is your oyster, and when you relish in your independence, no one has the power to dull your sparkle. there is a certain glow to people who are completely in love with their life, and that glow is hugely attractive! what steps could you take during this time of surrender that would make you glow with joy? taking yourself on dates? applying for that dream job you’ve had your eye on? starting the food blog you’ve always talked about? go for it!
Clarity About What You Want
so far i’ve talked about manifesting a partner through the lens of my experience with constantly searching in all the wrong places, but these final two steps will apply if you’re on the opposite side of the spectrum, too. all you fiercely independent, unattached souls who have trouble letting love in – these will be key to your manifestation process.
a fun way to enhance your manifestation is to get extremely clear about what you want in an eventual partner. it’s important to make sure that you’re not projecting this vision onto somebody you already know, or trying to fit someone you know into a box by censoring your checklist to meet their characteristics. that would imply attachment, and this is an attachment-free zone!
this is your time to get completely creative. make a list of every trait you’d like to see in your partner, even if you feel like this magical creature you’re dreaming up couldn’t possibly exist in real life. write down that hair color you love. write down the type of humor that you’re drawn to. even get as specific as tattoo placements, hometowns, music preferences – anything! the more specific, the better. the universe has a hilarious way of meeting even the silliest specifications. enjoy this. dream big.
the final key is to keep your heart open to all possibilities. invite some softness to mesh with the strength of your independence. if i had completely hardened my heart in those months following my new york city liberation, i would have walked right past my amazing partner without entertaining the idea of engaging in conversation.
it’s possible to be totally satisfied with life on your own and still set the intention to allow what’s meant to be to make its way to you. often, the right things come when you least expect them, so steer away from rigid mental timelines. your partner could be waiting for you in a grocery store or on a plane. you could meet them in days or years. keep your heart open and stay receptive to all possibilities.
like many things in the world of spirituality and energetics, manifesting your ideal relationship is a delicate balance. it requires you to find that sweet spot between your fierce individuality and soft surrender to the universe. you do have to take action – “play your hand,” as i like to say – by doing the shadow work and seeking fulfilment on your own terms. but you also have to be willing to let the universe do its thing – stay open to all possibilities and avoid trying to force certain outcomes.
don’t be afraid of this dance. it can be intimidating because it takes a willingness to face and fight some inner demons. but there’s nothing more empowering than slaying those demons for the sole purpose of coming home to yourself, your independence, your authenticity, your life. and how fun is it to think that your person is out there somewhere slaying their own demons, clearing the path to make their way to you?