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A Small Secret

I have a love/hate relationship with The Secret. One one hand, it is kind of awesome believing that you can bring fabulous things into your life simply by believing whole heartedly in their imminent arrival. And some of it does seem sort of, dare I say, logical.

If you are a terrible, curmudgeonly person who thinks exclusively terrible, negative things you will probably not have a whole lot of good in your life. People will be repelled by your aura of sour milk and loathing, no one will ever give you a seat on the subway, or open doors for your horrible grumpy face. I mean this type of person is pretty much doomed to stomp around complaining loudly enough for others to overhear, without actually doing anything, for all eternity.

But. BUT. There are some parts of The Secret I just can’t get behind. (I think by some parts, I actually mean most of it. Like, 85% at least. Probably closer to 90, really.)

First, the faith. I am on the fence about religion, but I have always envied the faith it took to believe in something you couldn’t see, couldn’t prove. The courage (whether you believe it misguided or not) to stand up and declare that you believe in something is rare, I think. I don’t believe in anything the way religious people believe in their God.

Not even myself.

So while I am sometimes frustrated to tears over religion – the way that every one claims to be founded on love, yet is the justification and the cause for so much pain and persecution, the unequal role of women, the virgin/whore apple-in-the-garden-of-Eden vilification of female sexuality,  the dismissal or hatred of gay and transgender individuals, the corruption and abuse of power within the church/mosque/temple, etc. and so on – I  nonetheless envy their faith, and I know myself well enough to know that I do not possess the characteristics of the truly devout. So I can never truly do The Secret because as I am sitting there thinking positive thoughts and expecting good things to happen, a good 60% of my brain is watching this strange scenario play out and is all:

It’s rather difficult to manifest positivity into your life with sassy J Law sitting there giving you the side eye.

Number two, and this is the real issue, is that a heartbreaking side effect of this whole The Secret thing has been people blaming themselves for misfortunes entirely beyond their control. Like, you got cancer and that’s bad enough, but now you have to sit with the guilty knowledge that a book is going around saying that you caused your cancer by thinking wrong? No. Balls.

Unfortunate things happen, and they happen to good people and bad people and good people who think bad things. Yes our thoughts have an effect on the world around us, but we are not in control by any means.

SO! All of this is to say that I only half (or 10-15%) believe in my ability to manifest positive things into my life, but there has also been a marked pattern of me manifesting not only negative things, but negative things that are precisely the type of negative things I was trying to avoid by worrying about them excessively in the first place.

Oh, examples? Sure.

Remember when I was all, “Oh, I have to get the sister tattoo but I’m so nervous because what if they screw it up and I have a screwed up thing inked onto my person FOREVER?!”

And then they DID screw up, and I did (and do) have a screwed up thing inked onto my person forever? Remember that?

Or when my work had rats, and I was all prima donna freaking out “I’m pregnant! Rats are gross! This is so unsanitary! OMG ratsss whyyyy.” and then we got rats. In our house. Two weeks before Olive was scheduled to be born. Yeah. Guys, there if no doubt in my mind that I MANIFESTED those rats.

What this shows is that clearly, whether I believe in these shenanigans or not, something is going down. Those two random examples prove it. (Shut up with your talk of confirmation bias. I don’t want to hear it).

I have been thinking about this a lot lately, and so in the interests of manifesting GOOD things, POSITIVE things, I have decided to take this opportunity to turn a blog post into that most deeeelightful of hippie endeavors, say it with me now….a VISION BOARD!

Please stand by as I manifest our new home. With my bare hands.


It will be an old house, because of the character and the history and the size. Old houses tend to be small houses, and because Adam and I have always lived in small houses  we love small houses.  None of this suburban granite countertop bullshit, it feels good to hear another person shuffling around one room over and not have to shout to be heard.

It might have two storeys, because I love having bedrooms on one level and living space on the other. It will have three or four (or five!) bedrooms and they can be small bedrooms, sweet bedrooms, with tiny closets that force us to keep our warbrobes pared down and get creative with space. And you know, if a few of these rooms were on the top floor (if there is a top floor I mean) and they had sweet little slanted attic roofs, well I wouldn’t mind that one bit.

Olive could take one and Baby #2 could take the other one across the hall and then #’s 3 and 4 (and 5!) could just cram in there wherever they fit. Bunk beds for everyone! Hammocks, even!

I would like these rooms to have carpet, initially. Junky old janky stained gross carpet. Carpet we can gleefully rip up with our bare hands and recycle, (did you know that many cities have carpet recycling services now? True story!) before replacing it with hardwood or laminate or bamboo flooring, something chosen painstakingly and meticulously, something we only made the final decision on after wavering back and forth for days. And then installing it ourselves! And making mistakes and doing it wrong and having to rip it out and Adam sweaty and swearing and me saying “Well, why didn’t you read the directions?” and him throwing a piece of flooring at my head.

The downstairs floor too will get our special swearing, possibly marriage-ending, domestic-dispute DIY flooring treatment, so it can have bad dated linoleum please, daisies perhaps – or that horrible gold-flecked stuff that makes you sweep the same spot three times thinking there are crumbs your broom just isn’t catching.

As for the kitchen, solid cabinets in a dark wood that would love a fresh glossy coat of paint and some new hardware. An overhanging dish cupboard that we can knock down with one satistying thwack! of a sledgehammer, windows that open and close and have screens. Please, screens. Outdated formica countertops that we can replace with polished concrete (says adam) or wood block (says I)

It will have an ocean view (as lots of homes here do), but barely. We will say to visiting friends, “Look! If you stare right through that hole in the hedge you can see the pacific ocean! No, no, ABOVE the garage, but below the power lines! See it? Right there!  Isn’t it gorgeous?”

The living room will have an old non-functional fireplace that we can update the mantel on, perfect for hanging stockings. It will be small, of course, this living room, but I will have successfully worn Adam down by this point and we will have tossed the TV which will free up a whole wall for furniture and art and all manner of wonderful things that aren’t giant time-sucking, soul-killing black boxes.

If I am lucky there might be an odd room somewhere, a sunroom or a shed or a strange corner where I can squirrel away with my computer and my writing, somewhere that I can still hear my children terrorizing each other, but not loud enought that I feel I have to get involved.

The yard will be huge, huuuuge! This is the other benefit of old houses, you see. Small houses often equal large yards. And the beauty of yards is that you don’t have to clean them or furnish them or heat them or cool them.  And Adam will build raised garden boxes and I’ll plant things and forget to water or weed or whatever most of them, but I can teach the kids about where food comes from, and every week I will be able to pull something out of the dirt and say “That squash you’re pushing around on your plate refusing to eat, Louis? We grew that ourselves!”

(Louis is a boy name I adore but Adam has vetoed in favour of ridiculous bullshit like The Steve. Maybe I can manifest naming autonomy, too!)

The house will be in an older neighbourhood filled with older people, neighbours that alternately dote on and terrify our children in equal measure. I think all children need to be spoiled by and sternly reprimanded by elderly people at least twice a month. Nothing tastes better than cookies from an old lady, and nothing is more heart-shatteringly scary than being yelled at by someone who fought in a war. 

This kind of thing is just good for a child’s soul.

sigh. I can see it so clearly. It makes me itchy just thinking about it and now I’m feeling all sorts of wistful.

When we walk through this house, this small house on an old street with three or four (or five!) small bedrooms,  musty carpet and a dark old kitchen, it will seem quiet and unassuming. It won’t seem like much, but I think we’ll just know. We will know because we have spent so many nights, just like this night: picturing it.

Dreaming about our own little home, four walls and a roof to hold this family.

Universe, I manifest this house!

(Is that how it works?)