How Does a Conscious Creator Create a Shitstorm?

How Does a Conscious Creator Create a Shitstorm?

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If you’ve been following this blog since the beginning of the year, you might have a question. It might go something like this. Ros, how does ‘being a conscious creator’ fit in with a lot of angry people having a go at you on Twitter? Fall asleep or something?

So here’s The World According To Guardian-clickbait-author.*

We are all of us creating our unfolding lives through the thoughts we think and where we place our attention. Most of us are doing so unconsciously. Some of us have learnt to do it consciously (see Dream House) but still do a little unconscious creation when we are – you guessed it – not paying close attention.

Example.  Long after I had manifested my dream house and a few months after I had manifested the long-desired Major Book Deal, I sprained my ankle so badly that I thought it was broken, was on crutches for a fortnight, and had significant pain for nearly eight months.

There are no accidents

img_0125If you recognise you are the creator of your own reality, you have to take responsibility for everything. (In your life. Not in the world. That’s madness. Or possibly Ho’oponopono.).   Ergo, there are no such things as accidents. So Ros, what was that about, playing Pet Hotel on your phone while you’re crossing on the pelican crossing that (being remodelled) has an inch-lower section just before the curb? Answer (apparently): not feeling good enough for the UCL PostDoc. It took me a little while to feel into the truth of this. My initial reaction was swearing, passing out from the pain and being carried home by the road crew.

While my ankle was raised and iced I had plenty of time to identify the real cause of the ‘accident’: not just my inattention to the changed level of the road surface, but to the flurry of ‘not good enough’ feelings that whispered bad things in my ear every time I looked at the UCL application form, or looked at the world-class academics who made up the English Department. I was trying to affirm myself onto a path that was not going to admit me (don’t get me started on the uselessness of affirmations), ignoring all the painful thoughts this course of action caused. But you can’t ignore painful thoughts for very long.  Whatever you focus upon with emotion, wanted or unwanted, you are likely to manifest. My thoughts, which manifested into a beautifully symbolic injury, were as follows:  I couldn’t move forward,  I would come a a cropper, and it would hurt. And really, bloody ow. With a mild surface depression on my route, a mindlessly addictive app, and UCL represented by a curb,  I created for myself a world of pain, and was unable to move forward.  Magnificent manifesting, kid!  Ten out of ten!

In fact that year I sprained my ankle twice, and fell down the stairs, top to bottom, twice (sober, I might add), so getting fully conscious became a serious priority. These days, because I loathe being in physical pain and my body seems to ramp up to it faster than a cat takes down a sparrow if I ignore the subtle signs, I’m very conscious of my thoughts.  If I feel them turning against me (indicated by a negative emotional state) I tend to notice, and turn them around, pretty quickly. No more monster ankles for me, thank you.  Not if I can help it. Which brings us back to the opening question. How does a conscious creator create a shitstorm? Especially one they didn’t actually see coming (and would have avoided, given the choice)?  And why am I not actually unhappy about it (even though it felt pretty bruising at the time)?

“Bad” is good

During the last nine years, I have learned to see everything that happens to me as a blessing.  “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so,” said the wisest man in English literature, and as the sassiest pop singer of the Eighties answered, “who am I to disagree?” So when something “bad” happens, I tell myself it’s actually for my benefit, and if I can’t see the benefit, that’s only because I’m not seeing the bigger picture.  The minute I relax about the “bad” thing, or even better, bless it, the benefits tend to arrive pretty quickly anyway. In the case of my recent social media experience, it was obvious that it was part of a hugely positive trajectory, rather than some kind of ‘course correction’ or universal smack down.

In the two weeks before it happened, I had:

  • Finally bitten the bullet and asked (the universe at large) for money.
  • Explained why I was asking for money in a blog post which was widely shared and universally (or so it seemed) appreciated.
  • Landed a commission for a Guardian blog post as a result…
  • …at a moment when I was very pressed and would have very little time to write it and no time to sit on it/edit it.

You have to assume, too, that everything arrives with perfect timing (even when the timing doesn’t seem particularly perfect). My mood in the run up to the Guardian getting in touch was possibly as elevated as my mood has ever been (though I set new highs of cheerfulness every few months). On March 11th I was “happy for no reason” and “feeling bulletproof”; on March 14th I was “still buzzing with joy”.  But being approached by The Guardian made me “slightly nervous” (more about what the editor would think of my article than anything) and on March 21st (hours before it was published) I reported to a friend I had “come slightly off the high, mostly because of having no time on my own (=no time to recentre and ground myself)”.  So the article had been written with a little bit of fear and trepidation in the broadcast signal. Humans are social animals, and very good at picking up these subtleties, whether they know it or not.

So: outrage.

The value of outrage

Yet the upshot can only be good. Outrage meant my piece was shared far more widely than it would have been had everyone agreed with it (or read it as the jocular opinion piece I intended).  The article had over 40,000 views, and tens of thousands of people who had never heard of me had my name appear in their social media timeline: not just linking to the Guardian piece but to the numerous response pieces, subtitled ‘my response to Ros Barber’ or ‘open letter to Ros Barber’.

I started the month by asking for more money. The road towards more money is name recognition. So I guess I’m on the road.

Yes, some people have decided they don’t like me and would never buy a book of mine, but they don’t actually know me and I’m pretty sure they probably wouldn’t have bought a book of mine anyway.  Many more people heard my name for the first time, enjoyed the article, came here and found out more about me. Some have bought my book; others have offered me paid work and other opportunities.

Outrage is quite a publicist.  I would never recommend you could it deliberately. But if the universe sets you up with Outrage, accept that the universe has got a better grasp of things than you do, and that it’s working for your benefit.

Path of least resistance

Here’s one final observation from a conscious creation standpoint.  If you ask for something, and it comes (or in my case, starts to come), but the way it manifests is painful, that’s an indication of how much resistance you’re holding. At a seminar once, I heard a man who had been trying to manifest enough money to completely remodel a room in his house, and then a pipe burst, the ceiling collapsed, and he got the money for remodelling from the insurance company. But as he pointed out, he would rather it had come a little easier than his bathroom actually falling into his dining room. And as was pointed out to him, given his level of resistance to receiving money (and common associations of wealth with evil make some of us *very* resistant), one eighth of his house being destroyed was the easiest way it could be delivered.  The social media shitstorm was just my ceiling collapsing. The remodelling is already in progress.

 

*Hoping you get the John Irving reference, though I suspect it dates me.

If you like what I write and want to help with the remodelling (of my finances), you could always consider becoming one of my patrons. It costs less than a dollar (and even less than a quid) per month and puts an unbelievably big smile on my face, a picture of which I will happily send you if you ask me to! I will also write to regularly with behind the scenes action and deep gratitude. Find out more here: http://patreon.com/rosbarber.

 

The Dog Walk of Appreciation

The Dog Walk of Appreciation

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In some ways I suppose this is another article about not losing things (and another article highlighting the importance of the family dog). But in this case, the potential loss in question is not a thing, but one’s significant other. And in this case success rested upon what might feel, at first, to run counter to everything I said in the ‘losing things’ article. With items, it was essential to think of that item as only mislaid, and coming back to me with certainty. But with my relationship, it turned out that I had no chance of recovering it until I first accepted that it was lost.

There is no contradiction. Energetically, this represents the critical step that most people (including me) find hardest to achieve when it comes to conscious creation: being at peace with “what-is”, and letting go of the outcome. With objects it was achieved easily enough: visualise the happy outcome and then surrender to whatever occurs, saying to oneself “all is well”. Not so easy to say to oneself when your second marriage — the one that seemed so very blessed at its inception — appears to be self-destructing.

Background: something that had been on my lover’s list of ‘wants’ in Costa Rica had been a child of his own. When we returned from paradise (freshly married), he moved in, and during the months that followed, he proved his parenting skills with my three small wolves boys so comprehensively that I decided it would be churlish not to give parenthood one more shot.  Part of me perhaps had some concerns about that, and those unconscious concerns manifested as SPD – symphysis pubis dysfunction.  What this meant in practice was that during the last few months of my pregnancy, and for a few months after our daughter’s birth, I couldn’t move without pain. As a result, my husband took on a great deal of extra physical labour. He was looking after me, my three sons, our new daughter, the house, plus running a theatre (for love) and doing removals (for cash). His own needs were at the bottom of a very long list. Cue broken immune system. A bad cold at Christmas turned into flu. Six months later he was still ill. Eventually it became clear he had developed ME/CFS.

For the first couple of years, our relationship was unaffected. But after a while it began to take its toll.  He became, understandably, angry and depressed. Five years in, we were pretty miserable.  Both of us hit moments where we wanted to bail out, but we had a small daughter. Plus at the bottom of it all, I kept remembering Costa Rica. Surely that person, the person with whom I had forged a deep, soul-level connection, was still there?  During this time, someone told me about Tam Lin. This is how I wrote it up in Devotion:

When her husband is swallowed by a monster, the good wife waits. There is an old folk tale, Tam Lin. A beloved husband is cursed by a witch. The curse can be broken only by love. The husband’s first disguise is a tree. So the wife hugs her wooden, unyielding husband, declaring her love. But it is easy to love a tree, and no test of your trueness. The tree will not love you back, but it’s harmless. The witch’s curse tests love more completely. The husband will keep changing form, and the wife must hold on no matter what form he takes. If she drops him, he’s lost, stuck forever in the shape that his wife couldn’t tolerate. Whether she finds in her hands a poisonous snake or a razor-sharp blade, a slippery eel or a white-hot poker, and though she cannot know what terrifying transformation will follow, the wife must grip fast, keep faith that this is her husband. Only when her love has been tested to its end will her husband be restored.

We made it out the other side of my writing The Marlowe Papers, but only just. He recovered to a certain degree but still had to take it very carefully, and between the two of us, a lot of damage had been done. I swallowed so much anger that my appendix burst. Communication was difficult and partial. We’d become pretty good at making each other miserable.  He kept saying he wanted to leave and I was making a lot of arguments about why he needed to stay.  Then one night, I stopped fighting for ‘us’.

I took the dog out for his late walk. It was a frosty night and there wasn’t another soul on Hove lawns.  I felt a huge amount of sadness to think that my second marriage was ending; such a failure.  But I had learnt that negativity doesn’t go anywhere good, so I was looking for a way to turn that around.  I decided I would use the 45-minute walk to list all the things I appreciated about my (soon to be ex) husband, out loud. I started with small things. It was hard at first, with all the rancour that had passed between us (some of it that very day). But any emotion, when focused upon and indulged in, builds its own momentum.  The more small things I could think of to appreciate, the easier appreciation came.  Here are a few things I said to the frosty air.

  • I appreciate what you did for me when you came into my life.
  • I appreciate the way you were such a good parent to the boys when they were small.
  • I appreciate how you had the patience to get them to put their shoes on the shoe rack every day for eighteen months so that I wouldn’t stress out every morning trying to find them.
  • I appreciate how you brought organisation and order to our lives.
  • I appreciate how you always put us first, even to your detriment.
  • I appreciate what a brilliant father you are to our daughter.

And so it went on for 45 minutes. I must have come up with hundreds of statements. When I came back in, nothing had changed for him; he was still looking at me with exhausted and slightly hostile eyes. But I could only look at him with the eyes of love. I was full of appreciation for him, so much so that even though he was utterly unresponsive, I was able to hug him and tell him very sincerely that I loved him hugely as a human being, and that he must do whatever he could to create a life for himself that made him happy, and that if that meant leaving me, although I would be sad about that, I would support him 100%. I left him standing in the corridor and went to bed.

This was about five years ago.

We are still together.

Want to get better at consciously creating good things in your life? Click here to subscribe to my mailing list and get my printable 1-page resource guide “6 Touchstones of Conscious Creation”: everything I’ve learned about conscious creation in 15 years boiled down to the essentials in a printable one-page resource guide.

Mind Your Language – Retrieving ‘Lost’ Things

Mind Your Language – Retrieving ‘Lost’ Things

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words have powerOne of the most heartening things for me  (as a writer) to learn as I began to practice conscious creation was the genuine power of language. The words we use – both in our speech and our thought – are critically important. They will make the difference between the outcome you want and an outcome that sucks.

As someone who’d had a bit of bumpy ride through life from age 8 to my mid-thirties, my default outlook (and default word-set) was pretty negative. Imagine a world that reflects your beliefs back at you, so that pessimism leads to exactly the crap you were expecting, confirming you in your beliefs. Thanks to the vibrational nature of reality, and the like-begats-like behaviour of the quantum particles that constitute us and everything around us, that is the world we live in.  Fortunately that also means that if you can genuinely transform pessimism into optimism (and not just pay it lip service), your positivity will be reflected back to you with equal certainty.

I’ll illustrate this in due course with a small but at the time fairly mind-blowing experience on the subject of loss.

Loss had become one of my life’s major themes. I’m guessing it began with the loss of my father (who moved out very suddenly when I was eight) and subsequently the loss of my older brother Peter (my replacement father-figure), who died of a rare bone cancer a few days before my fifteenth birthday. From these two experiences I began to focus on loss so strongly that my ability to lose things (as well as people) increased exponentially, with every additional loss only reinforcing my belief in myself as someone who lost things.

My belief in myself as a loser (in every sense, really) was so strong that it could sometimes manifest in ways that seemed positively supernatural. For example, not long after my brother’s death, my father gave me a silver fountain pen as a birthday gift. There had never been a more perfect gift: I was a budding writer, to whom a pen would always be meaningful, but silver pena precious pen with actual monetary value from my precious (lost) father? I was terrified of losing the pen, so I took very special care of it. I kept it in its box when not in use, and it only came out for best: for neatly copying already-written poems into little hard-back notebooks. I was doing this one afternoon on the carpeted floor of an otherwise empty room when the phone rang. The phone was about five steps away, just beyond the door, in the hallway. I answered the phone, then came straight back to my poetry-copying task. The book was there, but the pen was gone. Had I taken it with me to the phone?  I went back to the phone. It wasn’t there. In fact, it wasn’t anywhere. No-one else was even in the house. It could only be in one of those two places or in the few steps between those places, but it simply wasn’t anywhere. I felt like I was going mad. And get this: my silver pen never showed up. It was like it had simply evaporated.

I did not take any of my losses easily. The loss of a favourite or important item (and it was always favourite or important items I would lose) would send me into paroxysms of grief and despair as I essentially re-experienced every other loss and bereavement (including my father and brother) simultaneously. When my (now) husband met me, he would watch with interest as I had yet another complete meltdown about a disappeared item. The way I could make things vanish was almost accomplished; my out-of-control emotional reaction (only over-the-top if you didn’t know I was mourning a whole life full of losses) was positively embarrassing. This man was already some way ahead of me on metaphysical matters. With undoubted insight, he would say “You’re never going to stop losing things until you get over your hangup about loss.”

mislaid not lost

He already understood the creative power of beliefs, and of the words one uses. This is what he taught me, and what I came to learn myself through experience: if you think of something as lost, it is. Say goodbye to it. It’s gone, baby.  He persuaded me to start changing my language: not lost, mislaid.  Someone who is convinced they have lost something will often not be able to see it even when it is right in front of them.  How many times has something you ‘lost’ turned up (or been found by someone else with less pessimism) in the place that you searched over and over again without success? When “I’ve lost” becomes the much softer, the temporary “I’ve mislaid”, it opens a possibility for the thing to be found. The raging bereaved child inside of me would want to kick up a tantrum about this (“No, no, no!  It’s really lost!”). So like my own caring parent, I would add other more comforting words even though, initially, I struggled to believe them. I would repeat them out loud until I felt the possibility that they were true: “I don’t know where it is right now but it will turn up. It is here somewhere.” Things I ‘mislaid’ began to turn up, making it easier to believe the comforting words I was using.

Mislaying things in the house is one thing.  Outside, one is seemingly more prey to uncontrollable external forces. But even outside, the language-change that led to mindset-change began to have positive results. One of the first really striking ‘loss’-return successes was a glove. My sister-in-law had given me these really beautiful tan suede gloves with orange stitching for Christmas. We took the dog for a walk by the sea on Boxing Day and when I came back I only had glovesone. They had been mine for ONE DAY. Cue the habitual reaction, a wail of frustration and despair, until my husband reminded me: language, mindset, and I started the process of soothing myself.   I had a good idea where I had dropped it (having taken it off to bag up the dog’s doings on the beach) and my husband set off to repeat the whole circuit with a torch (it was getting dark) and see if he could find it.  He came back empty-handed. Almost belligerently, I decided to believe it was coming back to me anyway.  I said it aloud: “It’s going to come back to me. When I walk the dog tomorrow I will keep an eye out, and it will be there.”  I knew it was probably on that beach, and that the tide would come in and go out before I’d walk there again. What were the chances?  But I decided to have faith. And next morning, there it was. Soaking wet, because it had indeed been picked up and washed out by the tide. But the incoming tide had brought it back to me, as I had decided that it would.

A glove, you say, so what? Easy enough to explain by normal processes. Though the tide might have washed it away, it didn’t on this occasion, and no passerby is going to walk away with one glove. A few months later, however, I left my coat over the back of a chair in a cafe with my mobile phone in its pocket and cash in the other pocket. The spring day had heated up and I didn’t notice the absence of coat when I left the cafe and went for a swim. Only an hour later, when I went to make a call, did I realise what I had done. I returned to the cafe but they knew nothing of any coat.  Let me say that my experience before with leaving something unguarded in the wider world had been that it would be ‘lost’ pretty quicknokia-6820ly.  But now I had some inkling that my attitude might have some impact on the outcome, and it was worth a try. As with the glove (and the glove had been a good warm-up exercise for me) I decided to believe it was coming back to me anyway. All of it. Coat, phone and cash. Why not?  I would have faith. Somehow or other (and I had learnt it’s important not to get stuck on the ‘hows’)  it would find its way back to me. I imagined myself with my phone in my hands again, and putting the coat on again, and being thrilled with these things I usually take for granted.  I cycled home and my husband greeted me with “you left your phone somewhere”.  A stranger had noticed it, taken responsibility, called the ‘home’ number on my phone to find out where I lived and personally delivered it (coat, phone, cash) to my home address.

The fact that I imagined having them again before I had them is something I regard as relevant. Having learnt the power of visualisation (through the house manifestation), I now had a new way to recover mislaid things, which led to that small but mind-blowing experience I mentioned at the beginning.  Here it is.

SpikeLeatherCollarTwo weeks earlier, my son had taken our dog for a walk and come back without its collar.  He had taken the collar off when the dog went swimming in the sea and had left it on the beach. He didn’t know where. I sent him back to find it but he came back empty-handed. I was cross about that collar. It had belonged to our previous dog and felt like a meaningful item.  We liked especially the telephone number tag which had ‘GRRRR’ on it. On my daily walks afterwards I kept an eye out, but there was no sign of it. No question that I was indulging in blame, and that in my mind my son had ‘lost’ it.

My habit on dog walks is to take the dog off the lead so he can have a good run, and loop the lead round my neck, dogleadfastening it to itself.  On this particular morning we finished the walk, I went to put the dog back on the lead so we could cross the road safely and discovered: no lead. I had dropped it somewhere. No matter. I would retrace my steps. So I set up back up the lawns, looking carefully on the ground, and to my left and right in case someone had moved it. When I got to the other end of the lawns I was still leadless. Time for stronger action. I visualised myself with the lead, and putting it round the dog’s neck with a big smile on my face, and the joy I would feel.  Each time I felt the habitual moan of loss begin to kick in I visualised that action, that smile, the feeling of joy I would feel at having manifested its return. That was what it was beginning to feel like: not ‘finding’ the lead: manifesting it!  I was worried about how I would get the dog back over the road safely without it (he was still young and skittish around traffic, but too big to carry. I would have grabbed him by the collar if we had gotten round to replacing it).  I saw some string half-dangling out of a bin with the air of a metaphysical temptation: seafront bins are not known for their string content and I’ve seen nothing similar before or since. For a moment I nearly succumbed, putting it into my pocket ‘just in case’. But it felt like an act of bad faith, and I dumped the string. I returned to visualising the joyful action: lead around the dog’s neck: joyful smile. And then, as the yards diminished, remembered I had to let it go and not be invested in the outcome. One way or another, whatever happened, it was going to be fine.

I got back to the start/finish point of the walk, the point where I had first noticed that I didn’t have the lead.

I looked to my right and there it was. Hooked onto the railings: the lead.

But this is the kicker.

Hanging up right next to it: the studded collar that my son had lost two weeks earlier.

Where had it been all this time? No-one could possible know that these two items belonged to the same dog. Yet there they were, side by side.

The return of the collar in addition to the lead felt like a wonderful cosmic joke.  It felt like getting A+ for my metaphysical homework. Like the universe wanted to prove to me that this stuff works in a way I would never forget.

Did I put that lead round my dog’s neck with a big grin on my face, just as I had visualised?

You betcha. And then some.

Want to get better at consciously creating good things in your life? Click here to subscribe to my mailing list and get my printable 1-page resource guide “6 Touchstones of Conscious Creation”: everything I’ve learned about conscious creation in 15 years boiled down to the essentials in a printable one-page resource guide.

Manifesting My Dream House

Manifesting My Dream House

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casa-punta-banco
Casa Punta Banco, Costa Rica. This was how far I would travel for good sex 15 years ago.

In committing to blog about my experiences (and experiments) with conscious creation, the question is where to start. I’ve been doing this stuff for well over a decade now, and there are many tales I could recount. So I’ll start at the beginning.

My first experiment with energy, visualisation and all that malarky manifested something rather spectacular: my house. Anyone who has been to my house will appreciate that I do not use the word ‘spectacular’ lightly.  My house is a thing of great beauty. The creation of a troubled romantic genius (the brother of Greta Scacchi), modelled on his house in Milan, it’s a quirky conversion of an 1880s brewery stable block. It has a 30 foot roof terrace and an excess of plumbing (four toilets, 3 baths and a shower).  Though it is not enormous (certainly not for a family of six), people get disoriented and sometimes lost in it: staircases go off in different directions and doorways open on to parts of the house you didn’t expect.  From the outside it barely seems to exist: there is no facade, only a small doorway in a doorway-sized wall set back from the road.  But the house itself – which young visitors have dubbed ‘the TARDIS house’ and ‘the James Bond house’ – is on three levels and stretches behind the back gardens of three adjacent properties. All this magic (and let’s not forget the blessing of a built-in double garage in this parking-restricted city) is not twenty steps from Brighton seafront.

It is my dream house: I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. So how did I manifest it?

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Coming out as a conscious creator

Coming out as a conscious creator

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You know that New Year, New You thing?  Downtime over the Christmas holidays is often a good opportunity to reflect, consider, and change gear.  The revamp of this website was long overdue for many reasons (and please excuse any imperfections as that process continues: it is still in transition).  The font was too small, the dark background made it hard to read, the theme wasn’t mobile/ipad friendly. But the chief one was this: I am not that person any more.

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Changing My Mind and Getting a Book Deal

Changing My Mind and Getting a Book Deal

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Here’s a copy of the bound proof of The Marlowe Papers on my writing desk at the end of 2011.  At the beginning of 2011 there was no inkling that such a thing was likely to exist.   The novel in verse had been written and the four friends to whom I’d given typescripts had all come back saying it was amazing, but then friends generally say that.  That’s why they’re friends.  My agent (of a decades standing) had said it was ‘a real treat’ and like nothing she’d ever read before. That phrase set the fuel-light blinking. If you know anything about publishing, you’ll recognise that being like nothing an agent has ever read before isn’t necessarily a Good Thing.  If something is not like anything else, it doesn’t fit into a comfortable marketing pigeon hole.  You can’t tell people it’s The Next [Insert Successful Author/Book Here]. And my patient agent knew very well (having submitted, and oh-so-nearly-sold three previous prose novels of mine) that I am very good at writing things that editors think are wonderful but the marketing people can’t work out how to market.

Some weeks had gone by and I’d twice e-mailed my agent with ideas of editors who might, nevertheless, be interested in taking a glance at it. No response. This was the engine cutting out and the vehicle coasting to a stop on the hard shoulder. Agents, I’m told, never ‘sack’ their authors. They just ignore them until they go away. So there I was with four-years’ worth of passion-project in my lap and no way forward. How did I turn things around so spectacularly?

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