There, I said it. Feng shui is bulls**t. And so are affirmations about abundance, crystals, visioning and “The Secret.”
I know this because I’ve done them all. And none of it ever did a thing.
When I was at a very low time in my life I was reading every single self-help and new-age book I could find. As a journalist I interviewed two Feng Shui consultants who even came to my house and gave me tips!
I placed red tape around pipes, on the bottom stairs (to keep chi from flowing from my house). I also placed my bed in the proper place to attract a committed relationship, put items in my “prosperity corner” to attract money, and picked paint colors for abundance. None of it did a thing. Sure, I bought myself some hope, so there’s that, but none of it increased my flow of money, happiness or love.
There was also the “abundance” class I took, and the only person to welcome more abundance into their life was the person charging us for eight weeks of nothing real.
When “The Secret” came out, yeah, I’m still kind of annoyed with Oprah for that one, I did everything they suggested. I visualized my success, the money, the perfect relationship...nothing.
Like many people, I was attracted to all these practices when I was going through a tough period of time. I was divorced, lonely, unsure of what was next, and scared. The idea that I had all this power to attract what I wanted was incredibly appealing when everything in my life so out of control. But it’s not real.
Wishing, hoping and dreaming in and of itself isn’t bad, but most of the time all that happens is you’re left feeling like you’re not doing it right. You didn’t say the affirmations correctly, or enough, your vision board lacked a certain j’nais se quoi, or you put your gold coins in your family quadrant rather than the abundance one.
There’s no shortage of guilt to be had when your visions don’t come to fruition. But I think there’s something more at play. Something missing. Actually several pieces are missing.
Some things aren’t meant to be. The relationship you think is the best thing that ever happened, and you’re devastated when it doesn’t work out? Down the road you will probably be extremely grateful you didn’t get the one you thought you wanted. The same with the job, house or car.
We don’t always get what we want. Yes, that’s harsh. When I wrote my novel, “The Best Worst Year,” I was in the thick of my affirmation/attraction craze. I was convinced it was going to be a best-seller, be made into a movie, and set me on a path to success and riches. It didn’t happen.
When I decided it was time to sell my home because it was financially untenable for me, it came after years of working on gratitude and abundance. I don’t know if there has anyone who voiced their gratitude and their love for their home more than me. It didn’t work out. I sold it, didn’t get what I hoped I would, and had to deal with that stinging reality.
But the good news is, there are things you can do to help yourself that have nothing to do with magic. You can keep going even when the world knocks you down, and believe in yourself enough to keep trying. You can learn from the things that don’t work out, and keep getting better.
Success isn’t a given for any of us, and we don’t know what lies ahead. The boyfriend I was heartbroken over? He wasn’t the right person for me. A couple of years later, I met the person who was. I didn’t find huge success as a novelist, and discovered a much better medium for me is playwriting.
Make a vision board if you think it’s a fun way to see what it is you want to achieve, just don’t think because you glue a photo of a Ferrari on a piece of posterboard it’s going to appear in your driveway.
I still hope, and I still pray, and I still believe that some unexplainable things happen - like I was supposed to go to that story slam six years ago and meet my boyfriend. So okay, I haven’t given up ALL my new-age thoughts. And I do think being positive helps, because, of course, who doesn’t want to work with, be with, be around a positive person?
What I don’t believe is that we can shoehorn our wishes into reality. We can do our best, work hard, and then let go. Or as one of my dearest friends says, “Do the thing, and then let the thing do its thing.”
Don’t ever feel you failed if sometimes things fall apart and you don’t get what you hoped for. It can really stink when that happens, but it can also be a chance to pick yourself up and rewrite the script. In my case, I am literally rewriting my script.
There’s no silver bullet and there’s no shortcut. There truly is no “secret.” Your dream partner or job aren’t going to show up magically. Think positively and be optimistic, and then just do the work.