manifestation as materialism
If you watch my Instagram Stories, then you've probably seen Sunday's Corner. This weekly video series was created with the intention of sharing synchronicities, intuitive moments and manifestation. I like talking about what excites me and anything mystical has always piqued my interest. From my childhood obsession with stories like Matilda and movies like The Craft, it makes perfect sense as to why I enjoy making things appear out of thin air.
Now I get that not everyone is into this sort of thing. I am fully aware that some of the spiritual world, especially via social media, can come off as elitist or detached. The fact that I'm an attractive privileged white woman is never lost on me. So when I posted a story about my roommate manifesting a new iPhone, a plane ticket home to Spain and a photo job all in the same week, I hesitated after I clicked the check mark. My roommate was worried that people would think she was bragging, but the video wasn't her idea. "You aren't posting this. I am," I told her.
When I received a negative comment in response, I wasn't completely surprised.
"Manifesting an iPhone and a plane ticket is fucking basic," the person said to me.
Did she just call me a basic bitch?
While her words were a bit harsh, I didn't completely disagree. I understood the point she was trying to make and yet, I also realize that we live in a material world. We need technology, flights home to see our families and well paid jobs. However, isn't the spiritual path one of releasing attachments, rather than gathering tools to gain them? To be honest, I felt confused. I reached out to a friend who talks about manifestation on her sold out yoga retreats, but is also very real and normal (she even started a #realmotherfuckinglife hashtag).
"It's fun. Don't overthink it too much," she told me when I asked for her opinion. But I didn't feel satisfied.
Where do we draw the line between appreciation of the good life and spiritual materialism?
When does manifesting become a new age form of consumerism?
I reached out to a teacher to discuss this topic further. "Objects hold energy and everything has the potential to be helpful, depending on how we are approaching it. When it comes to clothing or artisan products, I like to have a relationship to the person who makes it. For instance, when I put on a particular designer's dress for the first time, it made me feel so many things- beautiful, powerful and immensely feminine. Instead of just being a great design, this article of clothing had a transmission. When I mentioned this to the designer, she was so glad that I was able to feel it. It isn't an accident that her dresses feel that way," she told me.
What I took away from our conversation is that manifesting is what you make it. For me, self worth is something I have struggled with, as have many women. We are often taught to accept less or stay quiet, especially in areas such as work and romance. Following the idea that we must tap into our own inherent power and stand up for ourselves, I have turned down several jobs that didn't honor me. In the past, I would have been willing to work for less money, but I have slowly stepped further into my worth, financially speaking. And this has helped me manifest the kind of jobs that I do want. It seems that once I value myself, so does the universe.
In regards to clothing and other items, there is no escaping the fact that we live in a 3D world. I love good design, detail, art, fabric and clothing, all of which are really just forms of energy. What's wrong with enjoying these things? In healthy doses, nothing. However, if we are trying manifest specific items or the money to buy them, I do think that we should keep the source of products in mind. While anything made quickly is cheaper, I don't want to help promote industries with inhumane and/or environmentally detrimental practices. With that said, I'm not perfect when it comes to living a sustainable life. I aim for progress, rather than perfection.
As I move further into my healing journey, I'm discovering how the material supports my creativity. After coming out of a year in eating disorder treatment at 19, I left my fashion loving self behind. She was such a big part of me, as I found so much joy in putting together outfits in the morning. Certain pieces and colors gave me power because wearing them was a creative act. And while I no longer have the kind of disposable income or closet that I once had, I am slowly reintegrating her back into my current life. She is important and now has the chance to be more inventive due to a much smaller fashion fund.
Here are some questions that I like to ask myself when my desire for something "out there" arises. These can be applied to anything from a partner to a job to a pair of shoes.
Is it a need?
Do I want it to enhance my already whole self or to fill a space within?
Can this form of prosperity help me to be more of service to others?
Does this enhance my creativity?
Like most of us, I definitely have materialistic moments. It's a learning process for sure and a dance to stay conscious in an unconscious world. However, I'm pretty confident that I am creating a life beyond traditional consumerism. I can also safely say that learning the art of crafting reality is anything but basic.
Photo by Helena Haro