“You don’t need a vision board, you don’t need crystals, you don’t need all that superstition.” Lacy Phillips is sitting across the table from me, ripping bite-sized pieces of avocado toast (topped with bacon, per her request) and popping them into her mouth as she demystifies the practice of manifestation.
Manifestation—calling on “the Universe” or a higher power to get what you want, whether it be a job, a home, or a bigger paycheck—had its heyday in the early aughts with the publication of the worldwide best-selling book, The Secret. The tome promised to teach readers how to manifest their wildest dreams by using harnessing the power of positive thought … but based on how many books were sold and how few millionaires credit their success to following The Secret’s teachings, realizing your wildest dreams wasn’t as easy as the dust cover made it seem.
Phillips’ manifestation technique is a far cry from the “just think positive and wait” philosophy of The Secret. Her popular blog, Free + Native, is a beautiful snapshot of how she works manifestation techniques into a balanced, grounded, and aesthetically captivating lifestyle. In her regular posts, she often discusses her own take on manifestation and how it’s successfully worked for her. Based on her light and airy Los Angeles home, booming coaching practice, and blissful romantic relationship, it seems like what she’s doing is certainly working.
As I was scrolling through her posts, one, in particular, popped out to me. Entitled “A Completed List, #2”, it was a picture of an unfussy, slightly messy list of what Phillips had asked the Universe to send to her. Along with requests like, “a home for us with chic white walls” and career success were asks for things like a new car or a specific pair of pants. I can manifest myself a new pair of Nissolo shoes? I thought to myself as I scanned the page. That’s different.
“My approach to manifestation is actually very structured—I have a formula. There are spiritual aspects in you’re asking the Universe for signs, but that’s where it stops. It’s practical! The more self-worth you have, the more you’ll get rewarded by the Universe.” Basically, Phillips says, as soon as you believe that you’re worthy, you’ll get what you desire—even if it’s something as small as a pair of new sneaks, or something as big as a romantic partner.
That being said, there are a few rules. Phillips kindly laid out her three-step formula for manifesting your desires. It’s simple on paper—but takes a lot more than just writing down what you want and hoping it will come to fruition. After talking with Phillips for over two hours, we highly recommend heading to her site for more detailed guidance (and for seriously gorgeous photos!)
Step #1: Get clear on what you want.
“If you have absolute clarity on what you want, you can move on to making a list. But most people don’t!” explains Phillips. If you’re not clear about what you want, you have no business trying to manifest anything. This part might take some time, Phillips says. Because so many people feel beholden to societal norms and expectations, or even what they thought they should accomplish in order to be happy, it can take a lot of deep introspection to decide what it is you actually want. Try meditating, or journaling.
“You just need to ask your intuition, a higher power, God, the Universe, yourself—whatever you want to call it—for clarity. And be open to receive what shows up. That’s the most important aspect of manifestation.”
Usually, Phillips cautions, to get clear you have to get rid of your ego. “If you want to manifest something in order to look better to other people—like you want to go on a trip to Iceland because you know it will make your ex jealous—then it doesn’t work. It’s gotta be for you.”
Get rid of your ego, and have clarity.
Step #2: Make a list.
The most fun—and most powerful—portion of Phillips manifestation formula? The list.
“You don’t need a vision board, you don’t have to call it in on the new moon, nothing weird! You can make a list on a Tuesday, at 3 a.m., on the back of a receipt and it’s all good! Your subconscious mind just needs to see.” There’s something about writing all of your thoughts down and putting them on paper that signals your subconscious to kick into gear.
“Your mind goes, Aha, I get it, it’s out in the air now. And it’s already in motion to you.” The more clear and detailed you can be about your asks, the better. So if you want to get married, call in someone who wants a committed relationship and a family. If you’re trying to create a sustainable wardrobe to help offset your carbon footprint, ask for the pieces you need in the exact size you wear.
Step #3: Expand your belief system.
Phillips explained that most people find it relatively easy to write a list—but believing that they’re worthy of getting everything they’ve asked for is what trips them up: “Manifestation is not thought based. If you don’t really truly believe you’re worthy of it, it won’t happen. And you have to do work on that.”
Stay strong and confident that you deserve what you desire because the Universe sends tests and lessons while you’re waiting for your list to manifest. Sneaky, right? Basically, it’s like the Universe wants to see how badly you want it … and if you really deserve it. So maybe you call in an incredible 1-bedroom apartment in a safe neighborhood for $1,000 a month—and a few days later something comes up that’s close to what you wanted, but not exactly right. “Don’t fall for it!” laughs Phillips as she explains, “Hold out for what you asked for because you believe that you deserve it. The Universe rewards us when we honor ourselves.”Photos via Lacy Phillips