There’s a strange notion in our social consciousness that to make something happen or to make ‘magic’ you must keep your wish or will a secret.
You find it in our fairy tales and folk traditions, with heroes and villains often having to keep secrets that maintain their strength or magical ability. More recently it appears in many beginners guides to witchcraft or ‘practical magic’ (often of the neo-pagan kind). These books encourage clarity and determination in our intentions and desires and usually offer prettily worded scripts to help you in the early stages. This is good advice; of course your inner landscape needs to in line with your intent if you want to see something manifest, hence why we are told to ‘dream big dreams’ and ‘wish with all your heart’. Eventually though the books often urge you to work without words and to focus more strongly on internal/subconscious activity; this being the way to greater skill and thus success. But to focus exclusively on internal work disconnects us from the power and importance of our voice and our words in the outer World and the affect they have over on Self and on the reality we live in.
For a long time I clung to the notion that in order to successfully create anything I must keep it secret until it actually exists. As if, by putting my hopes and dreams into words, I risked their safety and eventual success. I grew up making many a silent wish upon a star and then, as a teenager, I began reading books – inspiring, important books – that broadened my mind and my possibilities but also reinforced this old idea; that my greatest strength would come from silent graft on the astral plane and not from sharing openly in the physical World. In fact I’m pretty sure I once read somewhere that sharing an idea or dream too early and to other people actually disseminates the behind them energy likely causing it to fail.
Despite its good intentions this idea was holding me back and gradually eroding my trust in my own voice and in the listening ears and hearts of those around me. Somewhere deep inside an image was forming of a World that was out to destroy or steal my good ideas and my hard earned wishes and my only weapon against it was to turn inside and keep my words and wishes secret. Only then would I be empowered. Only then might I be able to make something a success. For a girl growing up (as so many do) with low self esteem and confidence issues this didn’t just seem logical, it felt right.
But of course it wasn’t, it was simply adding weight to an already debilitating struggle with social interaction and self image. By ’empowering’ my inner landscape I was losing faith in my ability to access and understand the World on the outside; something which I now count as one of my biggest sources of joy and inspiration. And my dreams and ideas weren’t making an awful lot of headway either because (as the ‘secret and safe’ idea fails to point out) the World they were made for didn’t know about them! Looking back into the (not too distant) past I almost mourn the lost chances and missed opportunities and advice that I didn’t access, because I never knew how to draw them to me.
I needed words. Real words. Spoken words. Words out loud. Words offered boldly to the Air with the same determination and trust that I held in my inner landscape. Because its all very well deciding to ‘do it alone’ with nothing but the power of your well-trained mind but the fact is that people aren’t mind readers and its people who will help you get to where you want to go.
To reach people you need to be with them, speak to them, offer them your words and ideas in neat little packages and let them play. I’m not saying you have to be a raging extrovert or an excellent conversationalist (I am neither of those), nor am I suggesting you give all your ideas away without some safety strings to tie them to you. But you do need to be able to speak about your dreams and wishes out loud if you want someone to help you achieve them.
In this World there is very little we can achieve on our own and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing (and goodness knows that’s a whole other strange social idea we could get into!). Last year I watched this amazing TED talk by Amanda Palmer called ‘The Art of Asking’ and it reminded me just that. It covers our difficulty as a species when asking for help and how we might benefit if we got better at sharing our words and sharing our loads; I’d urge you to give it a watch.
At the root of our ingrained need to keep our dreams a secret lies a common dragon: fear. We are afraid to lose what is ours, afraid to seem stupid if we do not achieve what we set out to and afraid to be judged on the things we want and the things we do. All these fears exist and are entirely valid experiences; I run through them all, regularly. But what I’m learning (slowly, carefully) is that the fear only exists because I let it, because I believe the old tale about the power of secrets. I believe that if I tell then the bad stuff will happen, why else have I been keeping secrets over every birthday cake I’ve ever had.
But what if I stop we believing that and instead take a chance on a different truth: Speaking dreams will make them come true.
I’ve already seen some evidence to support it.
I’m sitting at home, ploughing through Facebook, pondering on expanding events outside my local area. On a whim I send a message to a friend who lives in one of the areas I’m interested in. He immediately replies, we set up a meeting and after a nice chat over dinner he makes some connections and now I have a new venue to trial in the Summer.
It’s a quiet morning at work and the noise from the kids craft event upstairs is filtering down into the cafe.
A customer asks what’s going on and I tell her. “Do you do many things like that here?”
So I tell her; first about the current schedule and then, taking a deep breath I add on the two new ideas I’ve been toying with and considering sharing with my manager.
The woman’s face lights up when I mention one of them; her eyes are bright and her smile says ‘That sounds like my kinda thing’. As she leaves my belly is fluttering but my feet feel grounded and secure. I am joyful: she heard me and her smile has given me faith and confidence in these new possibilities. So tonight I’ll draft a schedule for my boss and see what happens…
Words are incredibly powerful things. They move us in ways we’d never expect; novels and poems are fine proof of that. Too often we forget the power they have on other people and even less often do we trust that power in the hands of another. But if we could find the strength to trust them, to awaken our voices and speak up and speak out then perhaps a few more dreams might start coming true.