When it comes to manifestation, I’d be the author writing the chapter in The Secret on getting what you want when you don’t care if it happens or not.
One of my most interesting creative tensions, you see, is reconciling the intense desire to manifest dreams that really matter versus making flippant ideas happen with ease.
Let me explain.
Last week, my partner Matt and I were sitting in San Francisco’s Mission-Dolores park, eating low sugar dairy free chocolate ice cream (all the taste and none of the depressing guilt afterwards).
It’s fair to say it was a pretty average evening. An apocalyptic fog was rolling in and my hair was being slowly whipped into a beehive by the gusts coming from Twin Peaks. Just an aside: the oddest aspect of mist is that you’re convinced at any moment it’s going to start raining — your clothes take on a gooey dampness that confirms this— yet it never does.
Anyway, we sat down at our favorite viewing spot, watching the city lights shimmer like fireflies trying to attract the Oakland Bay bridge.
We discussed what we should do that night. It had been a tough work week for both of us, so we really wanted an adventure, but weren’t up for spending lots of money. The free section in TimeOut magazine was looking particularly grim — a church meal event, an obscure film festival, and a night nature walk that sounded like a preview to a horror film.
Just above us on the park’s incline, a boisterous group made up of artist types settled onto the grass, whooping and laughing gleefully.
“Wow, we need more of that in our lives here,” I said to Matt, as we peered longingly at the fun loving posse.
Just as we turned back to fight over the last dregs of the ice cream, a woman with a nose ring, goddess eyeliner, and blunt bangs skipped down from the group towards us.
“Hey, can I sit down?”
“Of course!” I secretly hoped she wasn’t selling us anything — like those disappointing moments you’re waiting for a first date call, and when you answer, it’s a telemarketer.
I have no idea why she chose us. There were other groups sitting all around. Perhaps it was our unique combination of shivering and looking forlorn as we tried to get the ‘fun’ of freezing in the middle of July.
“Um, so we have these tickets, but now there’s a group of us we can’t use them. Would you like them?”
“Er yeah, sure, what are they for?”
“It’s a comedian, Louis CK, he’s starting in an hour.”
My face remained impartial — the face of Australian ignorance — but Matt’s eyes widened, akin to a penguin’s at the first iceberg sighting after an Antarctic swim.
“Seriously? You’re not selling them?” He said.
“Nah, we were given them by a couple in the city earlier today, so we want to pass them on.”
Pure awesomeness, no effort. We gushed thanks at our new ticket-giving guardian angel before jumping on our bikes to head downtown — the ice cream cold war forgotten. As we rode away we did a call and response ‘woohoo’ with our saviours on the hill.
Now, do you see what I mean? These wonderful, spontaneous creative tidbits have come into my life over and over again. I feel so grateful for them. They add color, magic, and sharpen my appreciation for the small joys of being alive.
Sure, we could’ve bought those tickets. But going because they were a gift felt a thousand times more exciting. And yet I can’t help wondering: why does this happen only when it really doesn’t matter that much if it happens or not?
I’ve gone back to the exact same spot in the park several times in the last week and said ‘oh I wish lots of clients were here right now’ and ‘I’ve always wanted to go to Kenya for holidays’ — but to no avail. So taking out the magicalness of that particular patch of grass as a controlling factor, I have to conclude, reluctantly, those Buddhists are onto something when they talk about non-attachment.
Now, off to try and release my grasping for ice cream.
This post originally appeared over at Medium.