Parenting: Manifesting? Would ya go away outta that

IS ANYONE HAVING an ounce of luck with manifesting? Has it worked? Because listen, I’ve been thinking about it, and I just don’t think it’s for us.

Manifesting means thinking about something, really focusing on it and willing it into existence. You can picture your ideal life, make all kinds of wild requests to the universe, and just sort of believe that it’s all coming your way. And then it just materializes. Bam, here’s your dream life!

Of course, you need to tap into your higher vibrations. Shoot for the stars too, obviously. You have to think about it a lot, in different states of consciousness, so when you are falling asleep, waking up, during the day and while meditating. You need to whisper it, say it, shout it, make a vision board and hang it by your bed so it’s the first thing you see each day.

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Shutterstock / Miljan Zivkovic Shutterstock / Miljan Zivkovic / Miljan Zivkovic

This isn’t a new idea either, it’s been around for many years, gained popularity in recent years after The Secret went mainstream, but social media has now given it a global boost. It might seem coincidental that its rise in popularity now coincides with influencers who can help you to manifest if you just like and subscribe to their channel, but those two things are definitely entirely unrelated.

Oh, and if you don’t get what you asked for, you just didn’t ask right, or enough, or at the right times. Maybe the moon wasn’t in the right phase or something. Mercury might have been involved. Or maybe it’s not meant for you right now. Are you still with me? I know, it can be a little confusing.

Giving it a go

I decided to give it a whirl in December 2019. We had been trying to buy a house for ages, and I had nothing else to give or try (or lose). I didn’t make the vision board or anything now, I feel like I need to disclose that for full transparency. I wouldn’t have minded making one, but we were living with my parents at the time, and I just wouldn’t have been able to live something like that down. You know yourselves.

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I did whisper it to the universe in the car on my way to and from work, even though I was absolutely mortified to do so. I spent a lot of time thinking about it, and I even made it my midnight wish on New Years! So, I mean, I did everything I could.

I wanted it more than anything and really felt it was right there, within reach. Anyway, the last four years have been a blast. The universe came back with a fairly definite ‘no’ and hasn’t stopped swinging. Between the complete collapse of the housing (and rental) market, the general economy and the post-pandemic world, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the word ‘unprecedented’ so many times.

Pushing on

Never one to learn from my mistakes, I tried again in 2023. I wanted so desperately to be a runner. You know, someone who just goes and does 5k once or twice a week and then finds a way to drop it into every conversation? I thought I could just take it up, at the ripe old age of 38 without any prior experience or level of fitness, so that was quite a humbling experience. As I was horrified to realise, you need months of conditioning to build up any kind of stamina.

So, I did. I started very small, with a half-kilometre run two or three times a week, and just built up really slowly from there. It was so hard! I put all my energy and focus on these runs, and on where I wanted to be by the end of the year. I visualised the future I wanted.

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Shutterstock / lzf Shutterstock / lzf / lzf

In September, I managed to run a 10k for the first time and was just thrilled with myself altogether. But then I signed up for a charity run thing with work, to do 100km over the month of October. I spoke about it at length. I told the universe what I wanted, and once again, it responded with a swift karate chop to my general ankle area.

I got up to 98km in October, you seriously couldn’t plan this and right as I was about to finish my last run of the event, I slipped in a tiny patch of muck. I was running around a family in my local park who were feeding the ducks, took one step off the path, and it was game over. Ligaments, tendons, avulsions, bone contusions, fractures; terminology that I now know entirely against my will.

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Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov / Andrey_Popov

Three months later I still struggle with stairs and walking for more than 15 minutes, and again, each doctor, consultant and physio has said what a ‘freak accident’ it was, how it was an unusual injury, and that I was just really unlucky.

Unprecedented times…

Now on to my theory, I just don’t think Irish people have the kind of relationship with the universe where we can freely go about saying what we want. It doesn’t work like that for us. It never has. It’s not that long ago since generations of Irish were tormented by cunning little faeries who listened at the windows and played hilarious pranks like stealing children or murdering farm animals.

Back in the day, people knew better than to say anything positive out loud. They suppressed their wants and desires, pushing them deep down inside and never openly speaking about them. They knew that any kind of envy or longing would invite nothing but wrath.

They took preventative measures to hide not only what they had, but what they wanted. They dressed their boys in little girls’ clothes to confuse the faeries and reduce their chances of being stolen.

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Fairy tree. Shutterstock / Christina Shell Shutterstock / Christina Shell / Christina Shell

They were definitely not asking the universe for what they wanted or saying it out loud, and I can’t even imagine their horror at a vision board. And this wasn’t as far back as you’d think either, Ireland’s first president Douglas Hyde was a faery believer, as was WB Yeats.

Now, are we expected to completely backtrack on all this, and just trust in the universe to give us what we want and not try to ruin everything for the craic? We just forgive the faeries and move on, is it? Now look, am I saying that faeries broke my ankle and collapsed the housing market? No. But would I like that printed on a T-shirt? I would. Very much so.

My current feelings on manifesting are somewhere between FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and FOFR (Fear of Faery Retribution). For the future, I’ll be watching how everyone else gets on, from a very safe distance.

Margaret is a busy mum of two, living and working in Kildare.