The Trick to Making Visualization Work

Posted by on January 24, 2024 in True Self, Your True Calling | 0 comments

Outline of a brain with lightening boltsVisualization works best when you create a detailed picture of what you want in your mind and envision each step toward getting that end goal. The more senses you bring to it, the better. Swimmer Michael Phelps, for example, used guided imagery to visualize successful races at the Olympics and won 18 gold medals. It’s as if you can trick your mind into believing that what you want is real and, then poof, it happens.

However, there is a definite trickster energy to visualization. Just like in that old Rolling Stones song — “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need” — setting intentions doesn’t always bring about what you long for, but it often gives you just what you need.

After creating a vision board and having my dreams for a new car and house materialize (see previous blogs), I figured I was on a roll.  So, I decided to ask for the only thing I could think of that would heal my broken heart — kittens.

Michelle's 17-year-old brown tabby cat Woodie

My 17-year-old cat Woodie in S Africa

My lovely cat Woodie died of kidney failure shortly after I returned from touring in South Africa. She had been my constant companion for 17 years, during my undergraduate days at Georgetown, my graduate days at Princeton, and while I’d been a professor in Florida and California. I even took her to South Africa. She had been like a child to me.

I don’t know if you’ve ever felt this way about a pet, but the hole she left in my life was almost unbearable. Of course, Woodie could never be replaced so I decided to get two cats instead of one. On my inventory of intentions, I wrote that I desired a male and a female — a brother and a sister — and I visualized them every day.   

Five months went by but as hard as I tried, I couldn’t find the right kitties anywhere. A woman at the SPCA warned me that it wasn’t “kitten season” yet and encouraged me to be patient. I adopted a feral cat on a trial run but she was too scared of being cooped up inside and I lived next to a busy thoroughfare, so I ended up taking her back after a couple of days. I drove ninety minutes north to Oakland to meet a pair of young black and white kitties but, unfortunately, they didn’t seem to be that into me.

Out of sheer desperation, I put a notice in one of the Santa Cruz newspapers that I was searching for kittens. I received a call the next day from a guy who told me he didn’t have any but he did have a pregnant cat. I promised that I’d take two of the litter, sight unseen. They were going to be born in March, just like me. We’d all be Pisces swimming around the house together. It was purrfect.

Michelle holding two fluffy grey kittens

My new kittens Izzy and Ollie in CA

When I arrived to pick them up a few weeks later, their mother sauntered into the living room first. I was surprised that she was a Maine Coon. Two little gray puffballs scampered through the door behind her. I smiled. I hadn’t realized until then that I’d been assuming these kitties would be shorthaired brown tabbies as Woodie had been. That’s what I’d been visualizing. But that’s not what I got. These two little clouds of fur were cuter than what I had imagined.

A couple of weeks after I‘d brought them home, I discovered that as much as I treated them like brother and sister, that’s not what they were. They were brothers. Ollie acted macho from the get-go so I knew he was a boy. But Izzy had a female energy about him (like a sensitive little poet). I was separated from my husband at this point, and to be honest, not very keen on men.

The last thing I wanted was to have two males running through the house. But, in hindsight, I’m glad that’s what I got. I was pleasantly surprised to discover how sweet my “boys” could be. They helped warm me up to guys again. If it hadn’t been for Izzy and Ollie, it would have taken me much longer to renew my trust in men. They weren’t exactly what I wanted, but they were just what I needed.

Chinese Symbol for Crisis

Crisis © caffeinatedart

What is the lesson? Let go of the outcome. Ask for what you want, but be able to let go of the results just in case something better comes along. Visualization works best when you align your intentions with your authentic self. Odds are that you buried some of your greatest gifts in the unconscious to fit in with others and don’t remember who you truly are. So, the universe may have a better idea of what you need than you do.

That’s why trickster energy seems to be both helpful and risky. It reminds me of the Chinese word for “crisis,” which means “dangerous turning point.” Things are changing but we’re not sure how. That’s why New Thought philosophy advises us to add “this or something better” to the end of our wish list to ensure that we manifest a positive outcome. As Henry David Thoreau said, ”Whate’er we leave to God, God does and blesses us.” 

So, whenever you set an intention, be willing to let go of all those details you so carefully laid out. Maybe what you’re asking for is too safe or too small. You are so much greater than you think you are. There’s a chance something better awaits you, but you don’t realize it yet. Go ahead and ask for the moon, but don’t try to control how things turn out. You may miss a cool opportunity that’s trying to materialize somewhere you’re not looking. The trick to making visualization work is to embrace the weird-ass ways the universe delivers your deepest desires to you and trust that they’re just what you need.

Previous blog: The Power of Persistence and Visualization


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