The Power of Visualization, Part II: The Power of Making It Happen

When I was in my late 20s, I had fleeting visions of wanting educational degrees, in particular, a Ph.D. I say fleeting because I was raising a family and there was no way I could be on a college campus, let alone have a way to pay for it. This was the time period before affordable computers for individuals and before the Internet became public.

It was an idea so far out of my reach that it was an impossible dream. At that time, my education consisted of an executive secretarial certification from a business university—one where I would later in life find a career as a teacher. An irony not lost on me.

On June 29, 2013, at the age of 62, I walked across the stage and was hooded for a Ph.D. I was an English professor, overseeing two campuses at the time. In earlier years, I’d overseen three different locations, spending a lot of time traveling, in addition to teaching, and overseeing a dozen or so adjuncts at these locations.

It was my employer who had propelled me toward the degree and had paid for its tuition. How could I not want to achieve that goal with that kind of help? It was a win-win for me and for them. In exchange, I couldn’t leave their employment for five years, a price I was willing to pay.

Now that I had the Ph.D., along with my MFA, I felt secure in my career, and the university wanted me to publish. The problem was I wanted to focus on both creative writing and academic writing but I didn’t have time for both. I had to choose.

My gut told me to go with creative writing, and it was my first choice, but would the university agree? After a brief discussion, my supervisor agreed with me, saying the MFA and my previous publications created a more natural path for me. She supported me in that decision.

Life events kept getting in the way of doing that writing, however. After being involved in a 22-car pile up on the highway while traveling from one campus to another, I sent a request out into the Universe. My request was, I want writing time but where I’m allowed to live comfortably enough without horrific sacrifice.

It was late fall 2014 when I made that request.

As was happening with many colleges and universities, student enrollment was dropping and had been every year for several years. Fewer classes got offered. I watched as an organizational restructuring took place. I’d seen it happen a few times in my twelve-year employment with them and with every restructure, jobs would disappear.

The last big restructuring had taken place a few years earlier where they shut down several of the smallest campuses. We knew the Battle Creek campus would be next, and then our Kalamazoo campus after that.

Those campuses residing in community college environments were becoming partners with those community colleges. We could see the writing on the wall for Kalamazoo. By late spring 2015, we figured we had only a year left. As summer progressed, we were confident we’d be closed at the winter Christmas break. We were prepared.

Late June 2015, a meeting with all the senior administration occurred. Not usual for that time of year as we prepared for another year. A couple times a year such meetings would take place. We figured this would be the talk for the winter closing.

What some of us didn’t know is that day would be our last.

I was taken into a room with a senior human resource official. I was informed that I was being let go as they were shutting down our campus for all classes that fall. The core administrative staff was moving to another location and classes would be held on the community college campus. We were six weeks away from classes starting. When I left the room, I would have 10 minutes to gather my things and could arrange to come back later to collect anything else.

I sat there, in my usual stoic manner, thinking it all through.

I wasn’t stunned at all. Just merely surprised that we hadn’t guessed correctly.

And then I realized. I had asked for this. I said the words aloud. The HR official’s expression was one of surprise. Great surprise. “You’re not angry?”

“How can I be when I asked for this?” I told her of my fall request, saying this was the Universe answering that request. She was astonished and I could tell that she was also relieved that she wasn’t having to deal with anger, resentment, or frustration.

The good news was my Ph.D. was free and clear of any indebtedness. A big win for me.

As I collected my things, I wondered what I was going to do. Where I was going to live? How I would support myself until I could officially retire, something I didn’t want to do until I turned 66.

That’s when I heard my little voice say, Don’t worry about it. It’s going to be okay.

Having trusted that little voice in the past, I knew it spoke a truth that I couldn’t comprehend yet.

In the coming months, I was to find out.

Stay tuned for “The Power of Visualization, Part III.

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The Power of Visualization, Part I: The Power of Making It Happen

Yesterday, I traveled to Holland to meet with a friend, a former co-worker who I haven’t seen in a couple years. The visit felt like we had seen each other just last week. I love those friendships I have where the bonds are as strong as ever despite the many years between visits.

Two items on my relatively short bucket list are 1) to see a bald eagle in the wild, and 2) see a moose in the wild. For the later, it’ll take a trip to the Upper Peninsula or to Maine where I’d love to do a fall color tour since I’ve never been to that state. But for number one, I knew that the bird had returned to Michigan. I’ve been hoping…

As I was headed to Kalamazoo on 1-94 on my way to Saugatuck to visit my all-time favorite new age store, Mother Moon, before going to Holland, I decided to drive through Fennville, a small community in the middle of nowhere and which has a great winery. Out loud I added, “And wouldn’t it be nice to see a bald eagle there?”

I was enjoying the green foliage on the trees, being able to take my time as I drove in the shaded highway. I noticed lots of blossoming spirea plants, wondering how I could possibly plant one or two at my rental, knowing I couldn’t because they get so big. It brought back memories of being on the farm and the row of blossoming spirea every spring on our property, how it would look like it had snowed on the hedge.

Spirea

I turned from 40 onto 89, a straight-line of highway that would take me through Fennville over to 31. Not a cloud in the sky. The shaded forests on either side of the road diminished as I began approaching the town.

I looked up and there it was. A bald eagle overhead, soaring in a wide circle, wings spread wide. That pure white head impossible to miss.

bald eagle

I felt as if I had manifested its appearance, that the Universe heard my request and granted it.

So, why haven’t I been able to see an eagle before now? Because I never said when or where I would like to see one. I was specific this time, plus I was in the perfect place where apparently this bird resides, and I was there at the perfect time.

Any other time I’ve talked about wanting to see an eagle in the wild, I’ve been in my house, at my computer or on the phone. Impossible to see one through a ceiling, right?

This isn’t the first time, I’ve drawn something I desired toward me. I wrote about “The Winter Coat” in a blog here five years ago.

A few years ago, I wrote the blog, “Writing Down the Words: Making Magic Happen.” The coat was about imagining my vision as true. This second blog was about imagining the words as true.

And then three years ago when my job disappeared…wait, what? I haven’t told you about that desire that came about unexpectedly and in the most unusual way?

That’s my next blog. Part II. Stay tuned…

 

 

 

The Winter Coat

After the birth of our second daughter, money was tighter than ever.  It was September 19, 1978 and winter was coming.  I needed a new winter coat but I had only $35 to spend on it—tops.  And this was a time when coats started selling at $50-60 a piece.  While it felt early in the season, it was actually late.  Coats had been picked over and I’d been looking already for several weeks.

I remembered listening to some Norman Vincent Peale tapes where he stated that in order to draw to you what you need, you have to believe that you already own it.  That it’s already yours.  That it’s meant to be yours.  The secret was to speak and believe as if you already owned it, so the choice of verb tense was important.  Peale’s most famous work—now a true classic—is The Power of Positive Thinking, first published in 1952.  It can still be found on popular bookstore shelves today.

This positive-thinking philosophy would be repeated every decade by someone new.  In the 1970s, that person was Dr. Wayne Dyer, followed by Anthony Robbins in the 1980s.  By the twenty-first century, both would be talking about higher consciousness and our need to connect with our inner consciousness, that our power comes from within.

And then, a little tiny book authored by Rhonda Byrne would make headlines in 2006 unlike other books of self-fulfillment.  That book was The Secret and many of the philosophies that were being introduced to the public I was already practicing.  In fact, I had practiced it back on that day in 1978.

It was a typical shopping day for me where I was on a hunt for a specific item and coming up with nothing.  As I stood in the store, I visualized.  In my mind’s eye, I saw the coat that I desired—brown plaid fabric, a long coat that came down to my boots or knees, and with a hood.

At that very moment, my glaze fell upon the bin in front of me, which was full of mittens, gloves, and hats.  I wasn’t normally a hat wearer, but I noticed a rust-colored hat that I knew would match this desired coat perfectly.  I bought the hat.  I even began wearing it and carrying it, not caring that it didn’t go with the light-weight fall jacket or sweaters I was wearing while still on the hunt.

Two weeks later, I found the coat on sale for $32.  It was on a rack where it should not have been hanging.  It was almost as if it was there for me to find at that moment.  I happened to be wearing the hat.  When I put on the coat and looked in the mirror, the hat appeared as if it originally came with the coat.

Several days later, the winter’s first snow fell.  Every time thereafter, for the decade or more that I owned that coat, whenever I put it on, I was reminded that visualization works.  More importantly, I learned how my belief could not waver.  I had to see it, feel it, hear it, smell it, taste it.  All the senses had to be engaged.

This was not be the first time that I would draw to me that which I needed.  The future would hold far bigger needs, seemingly impossible goals, needs, or desires.  But what I did learn this day was not only did the secret work, but I learned how it worked.  Unbeknownst to me, the future was filled with opportunities for practice.