I set the baseline for my minor singing goal, I figured I’d set the baseline for my major goal too because airport security lines.
I recently read “The Secret.” When you have babies, you strangely end up with an abundance of time — because you no longer sleep. “Falling asleep” and “waking up” aren’t things anymore. Wakefulness and sleep blend together until you enter an alternate universe where there is no longer any such thing as either.
ANYWAY, for those that haven’t read it, “the secret” is the law of attraction. Stated simply, the law of attraction says whatever you devote your focus to is what will show up in your life. This can work for you – or against you. For many of us, especially those who have not done any self-awareness work, it is the latter.
My major goal is all about having this law work FOR me. I think a lot. I have a very vivid imagination, too, I always have. Unfortunately, I often use this power for Evil (to myself, not others). I read news stories about tragedies and instantly visualize them, only the strangers in these stories are suddenly replaced by me and people I know. I envision negative scenarios often. I worry, based on nothing factual–but rather on images and scenarios my mind concocts that have never happened.
So, reading “The Secret,” I was reminded of the damage I do to myself and my life by allowing this to continue. I was also reminded of how powerful I am — and how I could so easily redirect my thoughts, energy and imagination toward manifesting the things I actually want for myself and my family.
“The Secret” also showed me that the trouble for me – up until now – has not only been using my imagination counterproductively, but also believing in limits.
Jimmy celebrated 27 years of sobriety recently. We brought the boys to his anniversary AA meeting on Long Island, filled with people he’s known that long. He wheeled the boys up to the podium with him when he gave his anniversary speech. After he spoke, his sponsor took the mic and said: “I’ve known Jimmy his entire sobriety. His whole life, he’s wanted nothing more than to be a husband and father. As time went on, it seemed as if he had missed the boat. But then, there he is–and there they are.”
He then compared Jimmy’s story to the story of Sarah and Abraham in the Bible. God promised them a child, but Sarah was barren and only growing older. She nonetheless miraculously gave birth at 80 years old. (This comparison may sound insulting, and at the time I thought it was sort of funny for that reason — the truth is Jimmy having a family even after it seemed like it was too late is a direct result of his committed action, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think such committed action doesn’t end up generating a little magic).
I’m not a religious person, and I’m not sure how I feel about “miracles,” but the message of the story resonates: anything is possible. Not in a cliche way, but in a real way.
Mountains move. We see it all the time. There are countless stories that prove this. We can look to our own lives and easily find stories that prove this. To have a different belief – that there are limits on what can occur, and how fast – is not the truth, and stymies what is possible.
When I met him, Jimmy was turning 50 and had no family. As a result, his biggest fear was ending up alone. Less than three years later, the twins and I appeared (not in that order). (It’s a little weird, being the product of someone else’s manifestation; my ego doesn’t like it. But, what can you do?)
Back to ME though. There’s a chapter in “The Secret” that asks you to play with manifesting. Come up with something simple, like a cup of coffee. See it, feel it in your hands, smell it, feel the experience of drinking it – and see if it doesn’t “magically” appear.
I chose to manifest something common, but a little less so than a cup of coffee. A red ball. It was bright red, and fit exactly in the palm of my hand. It was made out of softer, spongey material, but it was firm, and could bounce. I saw it, I felt it in my hand. I focused on it so hard that I fully expected to see it sitting in the backyard, or for Jimmy to walk through the door with it saying he’d found it somewhere and for some reason felt compelled to pick it up. None of these things happened, though.
When I began my job search, I told Jimmy about the red ball. I told him I could feel I was in the flow with beginning this job search; I had been visualizing daily about our future, laser focused on manifesting it now. Not in 15 years, or 10 years – in 5 years or less. I told him I knew the job I got would be an important component of making this happen. Then I told him about the exercise from the book, and how I had chosen to manifest a palm-sized red ball. I told him when the red ball appears, that’s when I’ll know that it’s all possible.
It was very soon after that that I went on my first interview for a new job. It was in White Plains. I have been a diehard Manhattanite for eight years – to now be living on Long Island and then even consider a job in White Plains is very far outside the script.
Before I got the offer from the White Plains place, I also interviewed with a Long Island firm. The Long Island firm was a safer bet all around. Close. Good pay. Work I already knew how to do well. Steady, consistent.
But it was unlikely to get me to my big vision. I won’t go into it, but as an attorney, as you get more senior (I now have 10 years of experience; how did that happen?), there comes a time when you have to make choice about what the punchline of your career is going to be (else you lose control over it) — I am at that point. There was, therefore, very little analyzing of this decision on my part. Talking it over with Jimmy, the choice was clear. Even he saw that it was, in listening to how I spoke of the White Plains opportunity. The Boca Raton component only confirmed it. I had asked the Universe for a warm place to escape to during the winter — my future boss is in Boca Raton as often as he’s not (meaning he wouldn’t blink an eye if I decided to work out of the Florida office for a month in the winter).
So I took the White Plains job, and I gave notice to my current boss, only a week and a half after returning from maternity leave. Jimmy and I had planned for my job search to take months, the rest of 2017. It took massive action — but in terms of time, it took less than two weeks. That’s what clarity, and urgency, gets you.
In my last weeks at my job, I went to CVS a few times, and some grocery stores, just running errands. Every time, I glanced down the toy aisle, looking for my red ball. There were blue ones and green ones and rainbow ones and big red ones made of plastic but no palm-sized red spongey ball.
Then it was my last day of work.
Funny aside — my sister quit her job of 7 years (as an IP attorney for a large publicly traded company) at the same time as me (she’s moving from Boston to LA to be an attorney for Hulu, which thankfully is not publicly traded, else there would be significant potential for my new firm to sue her company at some point). We had the same last day of work, and the same start date of May 8 (I ended up starting May 1 to go to Florida and meet the rest of my new firm, but I still officially start in NY on May 8).
For my last weekend of “freedom,” Jimmy and I decided to do some fun things. One thing we did was take the boys to the Sayville Springfest, which is an outdoor fair at a local park.
I’ll cut to the chase. There was a Walgreens tent at the fair. They were selling “red noses.” There were large boxes of them, all bunched together. “Let’s get four,” Jimmy said, “for us and the boys.” I said no, because “red nose” day was a ways away and even though it’s for charity I thought it was kind of hokey – I wasn’t totally sure I wanted to play along.
Later, we went to dinner locally. Since we weren’t taking the boys (Jimmy’s mom had agreed to watch them for a couple hours), we took Jimmy’s smaller sedan rather than the SUV.
Sitting on Jimmy’s dashboard by the steering wheel was a single palm-sized red ball, wrapped in plastic.
I did a double-take.
“What is that?” I asked him.
“Oh,” he said. “It’s a red nose. I had gotten one just for myself a few days ago, they were selling them at the checkout counter.”
So, it wasn’t a ball — but it had sure as hell looked like one. Jimmy handed it to me. It fit perfectly in my palm. I peeled back the plastic but already knew before I touched the material: soft and spongey, but firm. It could bounce.
“This is my red ball,” I told him.
“Oh wow,” he said. “Maybe.”
If we had gotten the red noses at the fair, I don’t think I would’ve seen the one on Jimmy’s dashboard as a red ball. I think I would’ve seen it as a red nose.
I could throw it back, and tell the Universe this isn’t what I had in mind – but how often does the thing we sought to manifest appear, with every essential feature we asked for, but it nonetheless still looks quite different from what we envisioned?
I finished unwrapping the ball and placed it back on the dashboard, where it will remain, as I’m using that car to commute to White Plains. A key component of my major goal is setting myself up to be reminded of my vision every day – and also that it’s possible.
Marie and I used to debate about “signs.” She insisted they exist. I said I don’t think so; I think they’re a product of a brain looking for confirmation of something it wants to believe.
Does it matter if “signs” are real? Not really. I have decided to believe the things I previously viewed as “not in the cards” for me and my family are in fact headed our way — by believing that, it instantly becomes more likely, and in my mind, inevitable. It can be an unnerving stance to hold, though; every few minutes my nerd/ego says: “Are you kidding? What makes you think you have what it takes for any of this? And what makes you think this world, which is full of hate and tragedy, will give it to you?”
That’s why I need the red ball.