When the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne came out in 2006, it excited millions around the world with its easy to follow premise on the law-of-attraction. People started creating a “wish board" with photos of all the things that they wanted to have in life, and hoped/believed that their desired reality would follow suit. Unfortunately this premise didn’t help to eradicate poverty, illness, or personal frustration from our planet. When I met Dr. Shawn Postma I learned a completely different approach to manifestation. It’s not as simplified as The Secret, it actually requires some in-depth personal work, but once Dr. Postma explained to me the logic behind it, it made so much sense. I was so fascinated by the method that I have asked him to share it with you all in this blog so that you can all have the knowledge to really transform your life.
Shawn Postma is a Naturopathic Physician, Shamanic Practitioner, and Teacher. He enjoys helping people who feel stuck or lost in their life and need some soulful guidance. He believes in the power of mindfulness and natural medicine to help people create the love and connection they desire. In addition to seeing patients in his private practice, Sky Roots Healing, Dr. Postma is excited to be offering a new online program, IBS Zen Wellness, which is expected to launch in the new year. He has a passion for teaching as well, and has taught at Bastyr University. In his free time, he loves hiking, surfing, juggling, being in community, and hanging out with his family and son.
What is manifestation?
We may all have desires in our life, but we don’t always know how to get what we want. Some of us desire that perfect soul mate, while others of us may want to reignite the flame of a dying relationship. Manifestation is about knowing how to meet our underlying needs so that we can better align with our hearts desire.
How is your manifestation method different from other approaches?
My approach is inspired by the book The Desire Map, by Danielle LaPorte. LaPorte talks about how there is typically a desire or feeling that underlies a want, such as in things listed in a bucket list or a wish board.
The trick to manifestation is identifying how we want to feel, instead of what we want to have. Let’s take for example the desire to have a relationship with a soul mate. Within this want, there may be many different feelings we desire, such as happiness, love, comfort, etc. Naturally, the desired feeling is going to be different for each of us, but the take away message is that it is important to explore these feelings and underlying needs.
This isn’t all that easy however, as many of us are out of touch with our feelings and have closed our hearts, whether from a painful previous relationship or childhood abuse. Becoming aware of our feelings can be challenging, however it holds the key to getting our underlying needs met, and therefore what we desire.
The second step that you teach is to connect a feeling to a symbol. Why are symbols important to the manifestation process?
Basically, symbols are associations we have with a particular image or thing. If we use them appropriately, they can have a deeply transformative and healing effect on our subconscious mind. Symbols can create a form out of something that may feel a bit abstract. We inadvertently attempt to do this by constructing an ideal image of a soul mate for example, but this is misdirected. Rather than creating a symbol for something outside of ourselves, we want to utilize a symbol that fosters personal responsibility in meeting our own underlying needs.
If I dig a bit deeper and explore one feeling that I desire in a life partner, I think about joy. Since the feeling of joy is in my field of awareness, my subconscious mind is telling me that there is an underlying need. Rather than focusing on finding someone else to fulfill this need, which can inadvertently create a co-dependency, the first step is learning how to acknowledge and meet my own needs.
This is where symbols come in handy. However, we don’t just want to use any symbol. Generally, we want to use a symbol that is neutral or positive, and is based in nature. If I think about joy then, a symbol that comes to mind is a hummingbird. Here again, each person will likely have a different association for different feelings, but for me, hummingbird is my starting point to manifesting a healthy relationship.
The next step is putting the symbol into action. If I were to use the hummingbird as an example, I would put pictures of it on my computer and phone desktop. I would try to watch some documentaries about the hummingbird or read a good book about them. I would put a hummingbird feeder up around my house where I could easily see it. I would try to learn more about the flight patterns or anything else unique to them.
Working with a symbol in these ways may seem a bit silly at first. However, in time it will serve as a reminder and a guide to fulfilling your underlying needs. It also becomes a relationship in itself, where it takes curiosity and reciprocity to grow.
The last step that you teach is very surprising and unexpected when comparing it to other methods of manifestation.
One of the big problems in relationships is that we often put expectations on our partner to meet our needs, without ever expressing what those needs are. Since our partners cannot read our minds, they typically fall short of our expectations, which leads to frustration and dissatisfaction.
While symbolism can assist in learning about our feelings, the next step would be to meet our needs independent of someone else. I frequently use a dialoguing technique to help me in this process, which basically involves finding out how I can specifically meet my needs, as well as when and where. It is important to point out that each need may have very unique request, which may come from different ages of myself. The part of myself that needs to experience joy may be a younger part of me who has very specific request—to go roller-skating in 15 minutes with all his friends from school from 10pm-2am. We may not be able to meet the demands of every need, but we can often come to a middle ground. The inner adult parent may need to set some boundaries, but the end result is roller-skating with some good friends and staying up all night over the weekend. The essential part of all of this is follow through, otherwise you are going to have a pissed off adolescent who will find a way to wreak havoc on your life until the need is met.
Most people hope that being in a loving relationship will address their emotional needs. Why is it important to do the work of emotional awareness and addressing our needs beforehand?
In a relationship there are always needs and issues that are going to arise. Expecting our partners to sense our needs and know how to address them without communication is not realistic. On the other hand, if we are aware of our needs it will be easier to express them and find supportive and fulfilling relationships. Working on our emotional awareness is always going to be a process or evolution; we are not going to be fully aware all of the time, but hopefully these tools provide a starting point.