The manifestation trap

In Insight and Self Awareness by Julie Ann CairnsLeave a Comment

Be careful what you wish for. Manifestation has a way of delivering more than you bargained for.


How to manifest

Lots of people talk about how, when you want to manifest something new in your life, you need to get really specific. Make a list. Write down all the things you really want, in great detail and then also say when you want those things to show up in your life. Give the list a deadline. And then let go, and let God and the universe take care of the rest.

Have you ever heard advice like this?

Well, I want to save you some time and some tears. Because I think there’s a bit of a trap in that…

A tale of two manifestations

Let me explain by telling you a tale of two manifestations. True stories. In our first story, we have a wonderful woman who wanted to manifest the perfect husband. So she made a very detailed list, because that’s what you do, right?

On her list were many things:

  • She was quite tall, 1.80 metres (about 5’11”); so she wanted her dream man to be even taller than that.
  • She loved to sing and write songs, and so she wanted someone who was also a musician and could accompany her and perform at gigs.
  • She wanted someone she could talk with for hours and never get bored of his company.
  • She wanted someone who had an even temperament, a kind heart, and was not prone to angry outbursts.
  • She hated overly ‘macho’ guys; so finally, she put on her list that she wanted a man who was ‘in touch with his feminine side’.

She made her list, put a time limit on this man showing up in her life, set it aside knowing that the universe would take care of it, and sat back and waited for him to arrive.

A few weeks later he did.

The dream comes true. Or does it?

The man who arrived was VERY tall, over 2 metres (6’7” actually). Almost too tall…yeah, she realised she hadn’t put an upper limit on the height thing. Oops. But hey, it wasn’t a deal breaker; so on she went down the list to the second criterion. He was a gifted guitar player and was super excited about writing songs with her, and happy to perform them around town together. Perfect! Check.

Conversation flowed between them like a gently flowing river. Not hurried, not frantic or exhausting. Just deeply relaxing in a very pleasurable way, and they were never short of things to talk about. Perfect. Check.

His temperament was very sweet. He was such a kind soul that she couldn’t imagine him ever hurting a flea, let alone her. He treated her so well…in fact he seemed to almost have a sixth sense about how, as a woman, she wanted to be treated. He made her feel special, he listened to her, he respected her and never talked down to her or tried to control her like those other ‘macho’ guys she’d known before. Perfect. Check.

He did indeed seem to understand and respect her femininity extremely well; so that must mean he was in touch with the feminine side of his nature, right?

This was definitely her dream man.

They got married. For seven years they were very happy. Or so she thought. Then he confessed that he’d actually been feeling suicidal. For some time. As he couldn’t bear it any more, he finally decided to tell her the truth.

The truth revealed

He was feeling suicidal because he was transgender. He really wanted to transition his gender, to become a woman, and he didn’t know how to tell her. He almost thought it would be easier to end his life than to burst her bubble. He knew he’d lied to her…by omission at least. He’d never told her about his true inner feelings or just how ‘in touch’ with his feminine nature he really was. And he knew she’d be devastated.

She didn’t get angry. She actually did her best to support him in his transition. She loved him through it until he became a she. They tried to stay together, but in the end they couldn’t make it work.

Her grief at losing her ‘dream man’ was deep and wide and unspeakably painful.

I met her during the time she was supporting her husband’s gender transition. One day, when we were hanging out, she told me about her ‘dream man’ manifestation list. She said she realised that she’d not fully thought through exactly what those words ‘in touch with his feminine side’ could really mean.

Was the universe playing a trick on her? Laughing at her expense?

Make a wish

Think of it from the perspective of the genie in the bottle. That’s sometimes how we view the universe when we try to manifest in this way, isn’t it? As the granter of wishes. Not to belittle my friend’s experience…but doesn’t it remind you just a little bit of a genie in the bottle joke? Like this one:

A married couple in their 60’s find a genie in a bottle who grants them both a wish. “I want to travel around the world with my darling husband”, says the wife. And *Shazam!*…suddenly 2 tickets for a luxury cruise magically appear in her hand! Her husband then says, “Sorry love, my wish is to have a wife 30 years younger than me…” And *Shazam!*… suddenly the husband becomes 92.

Let’s assume for a minute that you are an all-seeing, all-knowing, higher power that definitely has the ability to grant wishes. Yet, as that higher power, you also know that the real purpose of this realm is more like a classroom where the beings in it get the chance to advance and grow spiritually; to participate in lessons that will allow a dawning of true wisdom and inner freedom.

Then, some student comes along with limited knowledge, vision, or insight into what’s really going on here and tries to tell you how to do your job. The student tries to tell you that they know EXACTLY what they need, and in fact they have it all written down on this handy little list. Could you just grant them their wish-list please?

If you were that higher power, might you compassionately grant those wishes (exactly and to the letter) in a way that shows them, yes, they CAN ask for whatever they want…but at the same time teaches them that they don’t necessarily know exactly what it is that really serves their highest good?

Might you want them to learn to TRUST you just a little? To learn how to surrender and be guided to their highest good? To realise that it might not look like what they expect?

Hmmm. Food for thought, isn’t it?

A different story

So what is the other manifestation story I want to tell? It’s my own.

Many years ago I also asked the universe to find me my ideal husband. Only I didn’t use a list. I wanted the universe to manifest my ‘ideal’ spiritual match: a husband that would serve my highest good and spiritual growth, and for whose highest good and growth I could be of service as well. No long list of criteria. That was my only request. I knew that I actually didn’t know what kind of partner would serve my highest good, but I trusted that the power I was asking probably did.

Now here’s the interesting thing: the manifestation for me was a partner who is also transgender (he didn’t keep it a secret from me though – I knew from the start.) And when he decided to transition his gender, I supported him much like my friend supported her husband’s transition. On the surface our stories looked quite similar.

The main difference is this: I have no regrets. And I don’t carry a deep gaping hole of grief about it. I don’t wish it had turned out differently. The journey we went on together as a couple was spiritually and emotionally challenging, for sure. AND it was unquestionably the best thing I could have experienced for my own growth. I’m a better person for it.

We’re not together as a couple any more but my former husband, now she, is still my best friend. We have a daughter together, we co-parent, we have a business together and we still navigate life together in so many ways. We’re on each other’s team.

I wouldn’t change a thing. She actually was my ‘ideal’ husband. It wasn’t anything like what I expected when I asked for that, but I did get exactly what I asked for. He (she) was perfect for me.

And perhaps what my friend got was perfect for her spiritual growth too. At the very least it taught her the trap of manifestation lists.

About the author

Julie Ann Cairns

Julie Ann Cairns is the author of the top selling Hay House book 'The Abundance Code: How to Bust the 7 Money Myths for a Rich Life Now', and the director and producer of the documentary of the same name, 'The Abundance Code'. Julie Ann's life mission is to empower people to live an abundant life free from false beliefs, to make a shift to the abundance mindset and seek joint solutions to the most pressing challenges facing our planet.


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