While in a meeting the other day, a high level executive mentioned that he has been chronicling some of the extremes that he’s experienced since moving to Chicago last year. Among them was this gem: Every day, a well-dressed woman arrives at his stately home, and for about a half-hour or 45-minutes, she stands on the sidewalk, gazing at the home.

Apparently, this woman didn’t restrict her visits to daylight hours. One morning around three o’clock, the executive and his wife were awakened by repeated flashes of light hitting their bedroom wall. The flashes were coming from a car parked across the street. The couple was understandably unnerved.

One Saturday the executive spotted the woman outside and ventured down the long driveway to greet her. When they were face-to-face, he asked if there was anything he could do to assist her. Most of us don’t value civility as much as this man, and probably would have greeted her quite differently.

Pointing to the house, the visitor explained that it was the home of her dreams. That’s why she felt compelled to spend time visually embracing it every day. The man found her response quite odd. I didn’t.

This woman was exhibiting all the predictable symptoms of someone who has a small library of books and tapes proclaiming that she can have anything she wants. Typically, this material outlines several steps for manifesting one’s desires.

Without serious thought or question, this woman had followed step one: We must make our desires our most dominant thought, and we must expect our desires to manifest. Her daily visits and the pleasure she derived from them demonstrated the next steps: We must visualize our desired object in great detail–soffit, fascia and slant of roof–and experience the same emotion we’d feel if we’d already received it.

That is, after all, “The Secret” that brought millions of dollars to those who produced and sold the book, CD, DVD, audiobook, soundtrack, “secret scrolls” email messages and even daily text messages promoting this extreme and implausible interpretation of the spiritual law of attraction. It didn’t bring nearly that much cash or comfort to those who bought it, which is precisely why I was compelled to write Crossing an Unseen Bridge: The Law of Attraction Secrets No One Wants to Talk About.

Let’s get real: Everyone who has experienced a disappointment–including those who spent their hard-earned money buying secrets–knows that life doesn’t work like that. It would be impossible for us to have been disappointed if we hadn’t been focused on our desire, expected to receive it. Just the thought of having it made us giddy. There, we did all the steps. Where’s our stuff?

Conversely, if we accept this as the secret to the human creative process, then we are forced to believe that everyone who was ever diagnosed with a disease they couldn’t pronounce and had never heard of manifested that disease because they’d held it in their minds as a dominant thought.

Give me a break! Didn’t we go through all those steps the last time we applied for a job? Didn’t we obsess about getting that offer letter? Didn’t we envision the details of our lives and lifestyles, if we had a bigger office or a larger paycheck–or in this recession, a paycheck, period? We might have even pondered the best route to work to avoid the traffic. Do we land every job for which we apply?

Starting tomorrow, if five people stand in front of their dream homes for an hour every day for a year; if they embed every detail of the houses’ architecture into their minds; if they visualize themselves bringing in groceries, washing clothes, making beds and watching TV in those homes; and if they replicate the excitement they’d feel if the homes had become their residences, will all of them eventually live in those homes? I rest my case.

Remember: If it doesn’t happen the same way, 100% of the time, for 100% of the people, it’s not a law. Maybe the real secret is that we should stop believing things that our own experience tells us are not true. Maybe we should stop trying to be in control–and stop listening to people who tell us to place demands on the Universe/God because It/He responds to our commands/prayers. 

After years of inconsistent results from applying this so-called law, we conclude that either we aren’t really in control or we’re not smart enough, persistent enough, consistent enough, faithful enough or “favored” enough to get what we want, when we want it, in exactly the right size, shape and color, without fail.

When we mention that we didn’t get the results we desired or expected, we’re often told that we must have let a fleeting negative thought creep into our minds, and it negated weeks or months of  positive thoughts. A fleeting negative thought is more powerful than a hundreds of positive ones. Not only is that bad messaging, it’s just downright scary.

Luckily, it only works for a limited time. Eventually, thinking people see the gaping holes in that theory and they stop coming to hear it. We have been fed unrealistic expectations by well-meaning people who thought that they were inspiring, motivating and empowering us to do great things. 

How do we achieve great things? What should we believe? It depends upon whether you’re open to the possibility that your physical life and your path were created to serve your soul, not your body. Whatever you have right now, whatever you’re experiencing right now–if you haven’t gotten in your own way by imposing your will–is precisely what you’re supposed to have and experience at this moment.

It’s possible that every one of your experiences is a teachable one, a growth opportunity. Embrace that experience; focus on finding the lesson and the blessing in it. If you can’t detect or even fathom a blessing in what you’re going through right now, ask for it to be revealed to you. Then act as if you really want to know: listen. When the answer appears and you don’t know what to do with it, ask for direction. Then listen.

Earth Is the Mother of All Drama Queens readers know that I have gained tremendous insights from the turmoil that I have experienced in my lifetime. Soon, I’ll share with you my latest drama, and how applying the lessons I’ve learned–especially the ones about imposing my will–brought it to an astoundingly better conclusion than I could ever have designed, desired or expected.

To those who are waiting for a big breakthrough, a great relationship, a new job or a miracle: You are more than a physical being with physical needs and desires. You don’t alway have what your bodys wants; but you always have what your souls need. Seeing and being the Light within you could shift some static energy or attract some complementary light to you. 

When you fixate on your physicality and your physical needs, you can’t see the big picture and you limit your possibilities. Sometimes situations such as the one you’re experiencing appear and recur to provide you an opportunity to question your expectations and beliefs, or to practice trusting that everything is going to resolve itself for your highest good–and the highest good of everyone involved in a situation. 

Seize the opportunity your soul has created. Work with it, not against it. Learn, practice and master the lesson so that you no longer need to have this undesired physical experience.

I predict that the lesson the daily visitor on Longwood Drive will learn is that fixating on someone else’s home can make you miss the one that’s really yours.

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3 Responses to Your greatest stressor: expectations

  1. Bobby says:

    The law of attraction as described in the movie “the Secret,” doesn’t work for me or do I believe it to be true. I do believe that we come across the things, ideas for usage at the appropriate time during our walk through eternity but attracting something is a stretch for me. If we were to allow that which is Spiritual and Eternal to lead us in this experience, we will find that all prayers and desires are answered. The seeming issue is that they are answered in Spirit, the unlimitedness of our consciousness which should indicate to one that it may not show up in the limited formed experience we call the world. Matter just by right of it being formed is limited. When will we stop expecting that which is limitless to show up in the limited? Sometimes they the things will not be “seen ” on the tapestry of our live. Doesn’t mean that it’s not there. Have you seen God lately?

  2. Rev. Jackie says:

    UMMMMMMM…..for me the message of the Secret was in ways similar to Jesus’ message. So taking the examples, either in the Secret or in the New Testament, as the basic teaching instead of as ways to make concrete/understandable the abstract Truth teachings is taking the road more often travelled, no matter that it leads only to a dead end. I know that my interpretation flows through the lens that I bring to the reading . So I am clear that what we REALLY want on this journey is that which is being called for by our souls since we are spiritual beings, EVEN if we get “fooled” by the “wild ones,” who we know as the five senses.

    Rev. Jackie

  3. Gloria Dedrick Cooke says:


    You are a genius – I’m so pleased to know you, and share your thoughts.

    I’m even more pleased to share
    the the same Chappelle blood-

    Love you,

    Your cousin Gloria

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