I’m someone who believes in the power of manifestation; speaking things into existence over my life. I would say I first learned to do this at night when my grandmother used to help me say my prayers before bedtime. She would begin reciting the 23rd psalm and I would repeat after every third or fourth word.
“The Lord is my shepherd…I shall not want”, was how the prayer would begin and after we made our way through each stanza, she would allow me to freestyle. In my freestyle, I would mention what I was thankful for.
“Thank you for mommy and daddy and my family”, I would say followed by a loud and proud, “AMEN”.
When I closed my eyes though…I did want. I wanted better circumstances for myself and my family. I wanted my own room. My own backyard to play. I wanted a younger sister. I wanted my very own library full of books. And most of all, I wanted my grandmother to get better. She had been losing her hair and getting weaker by the day and I wanted that to end. I didn’t know then but she was battling cancer and before long, I did have my own room and I hated myself for it. When she passed away I felt like it was my fault for wanting her released from her pain. Needless to say, I vowed to never want again. Much less pray.
Fast forward nearly twenty-four years later and the notion that wanting more than what I had was wrong has left me. I’ve come to terms with the unfairness that is life but also the boundless opportunities that can be available for you if you just give in to wanting them. As I became less religious and more spiritual, I realized the importance of ‘prayer’ in any form. Some kneel in praise. Others hum with their legs crossed and their third eye facing the sky. And if you’re like me, you do what feels right. Regardless of how you pray, beyond thanking Father God, the universe, or the divine Mother for life, you’re also asking for something you want or need. And this is the first step to manifesting.
Manifestation, to me, is a conversation that takes place between your conscious mind and the limitless universe that surrounds us. Through prayer, meditation, fasting, vision boards, and/or scripting we attempt to manifest by using the law of attraction. The law of attraction states that positive or negative thinking can result in positive or negative experiences in our lives. By manifesting with intention, we believe that you can bring about positive experiences like the perfect job, a new baby, a new home, or a boo. So how exactly does it work? Let me tell you how it worked for someone near and dear to me.
In 2005 I discovered the wonderful world of Octavia Butler. This woman is my all-time favorite author. I’ve always loved the way she was able to blend sci-fi, history, and feminism in her stories but I especially appreciated her centering Black women as the protagonists in her books; something unheard of in her era. Between then and now, I have read most of her books, cited her in many of my own works, and even titled my dissertation “A Phoenix First Must Burn” in honor of her. I say all this to say, I idolize this woman.
In 2019, with the help of one of my mentors (shout out to Dr. Cynthia Olivas), I began teaching classes at Pasadena City College. I remember walking the campus before class started and thinking, ‘God. Give me a sign that this is the right path for me.’ As I’m rounding the corner of a building that opens up to the campus epicenter I look up and who do I see. Octavia Butler. Well…her picture. It was hanging proudly in the sun as if it were placed there just for me (it wasn’t). She was being revered as an alum of the institution. After my classes ended for the day and I returned home, I remember feeling fulfilled and texted Dr. Olivas to let her know how grateful I was for the opportunity. Now, you might be wondering, ‘Sis…what the hell does this have to do with manifestation?’ I’m getting to it, dang.
So after I sent my text to my mentor, I thought I’d look into learning more about Octavia’s journey to being a best-selling author. It was then that I came across her own attempt at manifesting. Octavia used the popular form of manifestation known as scripting. Scripting is when you write down what you want in life as if it is already happening. Among the many manuscripts, annotations, and short essays donated to the Huntington Library after her passing, there were two scripts that outlined the future she envisioned for herself. She wrote…
We can learn much from Octavia’s scripting of her life so as we get intentional about what we want to see manifested on our own journeys, let’s keep the following in mind:
Manifestation in any form is useless without work. We must do more than hope, we must follow that action with more action. Make deliberate changes to our processes until the opportunities begin to appear. And when they do…choose to ACT on them.
Establish your life goals devoid of the opinions of others. Similar to how you're told not to tell anyone your wish as you blow out your birthday candles, think of manifesting as a secret between yourself and the universe. When you keep your goals and dreams within, you are less likely to let the naysayers and the haters influence your belief as to whether your goals are attainable.
It’s not for you to determine how it happens. That’s none of your business. Your only job is to want it and to be open to it when it arrives.
Be descriptive and in-depth as you write out your goals. What do you want in the long-run? What happens in the interim? How long will it take you? Is it timeless? How do you change as your goals come within reach? What do you do when you reach success? How do you know you’ve reached success?
Write it in your own style; organize it by category, list it or let it be random. Use paper, Word, post-it’s, or a journal. There is no protocol you must follow other than writing it in a way that feels genuine to you.
Read it whenever you are in doubt about a decision that needs to be made in your life. It will help you to recall your end goals and will make decision-making easier for you. If it doesn’t align with the life you envision for yourself, you don’t do it.
Lastly, like life itself, your script is not set in stone. You can edit or rewrite it as many times as you see fit. Doing so will not decrease your chances of reaching your goals.
That night, after my husband and my little one went to bed, I stayed up and decided to script my own story. With my laptop in tow, I went on the patio in the dead of night with nothing but the moonlight and the random lights glaring from the windows of the apartments in view. I thought about what I wanted to be for my family and what I wanted in my personal and professional endeavors. I thought about how I wanted to look and how I wanted to feel. I gave myself deadlines for certain accomplishments but I also built in grace. And as I thought into the night and feverishly typed so as to not lose a word, for a second I wasn’t sure whether I was producing the thoughts first or if they manifested as my fingers hit the keys. I was in the zone and completely at peace. When I felt compelled to stop, I read over it several times and touched up where it was needed. Then, I emailed it to myself and printed it out so that I would always have it in my possession no matter where I was in the world.
While I don’t know when all of what I wrote will come into fruition, I do know that the universe, my praying Grandmother, Father, and Mother God are already working on it in my favor. And as they’re working on it in dimensions I can’t access or imagine, I’m working on it here in the folds of my mind and between the lines on the page. AMEN.