Acts of Faith

In recent blog posts I talked about morning magic (the power of daily prayers and meditations) and visioning (the power of picturing the things you want with the clarity and intensity that bring those things to you.) Now I’m going to talk about the most important part of this kind of work. Acting as if you already have what you want aligns the universe to your vision. If you pray for or meditate on having a horse, if you envision owning that horse, now you must build a stable even if you don’t know where you are going to get a horse.

When I had landed my agent but did not have my first book deal yet, I decided to show the universe that I knew I’d be needing a headshot for my dust jacket. I googled local photographers and chose one, called him up, asked for a sitting for a publicity headshot because I was a novelist. He asked when my book was coming out – when did I need the photo? I said I didn’t know because I didn’t have a book deal yet. He humored me and asked when I wanted to come in. It was January. I said, “How about May?” Turns out he had plenty of time in May.  As it happened  my novel sold in April – when I came for my appointment, and he asked how my search for a publisher was going, I had fun telling him about my book deal and seeing the surprise on his face.

Here are some other examples of acts of faith that did the trick: When my sister and I were living in a motel waiting to move into the house we wanted, the bankers kept telling her that she should choose another place – that house was too much for us. But Cynthia knew we were going to get the house she fell in love with at first sight. To get that idea across to the universe, she had address stamps made for herself and me with our names and the address of our future home. And it worked.

Before I adopted my baby, I gathered toys, furniture, clothes, and books. I recarpeted the nursery and had a tree painted on the wall. I know there were other things afoot in the universe helping Binny and me find each other, but when I took action, a demonstration of not just hoping but of knowing, it tilted the scales toward my dream.

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That doesn’t mean the road to motherhood was easy – I had two failed adoption matches before I met my son, but when I was waiting for the third match to succeed or fall apart, I wrote a draft of my child’s email birth announcement. I imagined how I’d feel and was overflowing with joy as I wrote the text, leaving blanks for birth weight, length, date, time of day. And I used that very document when Binny was placed with me a couple of weeks later. Feeling the happiness in advance is part of the act of faith recipe.

In The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, she and the other contributors tell people who want to fall in love to make room in their lives for that soul mate by clearing out drawers and closet space for them. They also warn us that if we are asking the universe for wealth, we need to act rich. Don’t keep saying out loud that you can’t afford things or that you are broke. Instead do something a rich person would do whether that’s buying the expensive cup of coffee or window shopping for a new car.

And as writers we need to be reminded to perform acts of faith about our careers. Saying, “I’ll try to be a writer for six months and if that doesn’t work I’ll quit.” would be like telling the universe, “I will fail and it’ll take about six months.” Instead of planning to fail, plan to write forever. And don’t just meditate on your success and visualize a fabulous career, take some action – get your publicity photo taken, draft the invite to your celebration bash, have cards made: (your name here) ~ writer. And feel the thrill of it now, in advance.

Another example of a small act of faith, something you could do today, is the purchasing of a signing pen. When I didn’t even have an agent yet, I bought a funny ball point pen that was covered with faux gems and said aloud, as I put it in my pencil jar, “Someday I’ll sign my novels with this pen.” And I felt a little surge of joy. A couple of years later as I was rushing out of the house to go to a signing at a book expo, I grabbed a few pens from the jar and threw them in my bag. While I sat at my booth signing copies of my novel I noticed I was holding that pen. This stuff works – I’m just sayin’.

bejeweled pen

Another example: I got a new purse and filled it with pens for signing books, tissues, gum, all the kinds of things I’d need on a trip. And then I left this purse sitting out in my apartment on the coffee table. I vowed that I would not put this purse away until my publisher sent me somewhere on their dime to do publicity for my book. People would come over to my place and say, “What’s that?” I’d say, “It’s my traveling purse.” Within the year Houghton Mifflin flew me out to New York for BEA to do a signing and attend a Houghton Mifflin party. I got to meet my editor, publicist, and agent in person. It was a wonderful trip. And I felt some of that wonder in advance every time I saw that purse waiting on the coffee table.

purse

So, now, go forth and act on faith! If you can’t decide what action to take, follow your feelings. If the idea of a certain act of faith makes you feel bad (nervous or stressed or annoyed) choose something else. Choose the idea that makes you smile on the inside. Your pleasure is what gives the act its potency.

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5 Responses to “Acts of Faith”

  1. Becky North Says:

    Beautifully written, Laurie! I love this. I’m a true believer of positive thinking, but I’m not perfect at putting thoughts into actions, so it helps seeing examples of it in other people’s lives and to be reminded that positive thinking is more than just “thinking” about it– you’ve got to LIVE it and act on it, too! Very inspirational!

  2. Victoria Sawyer Says:

    HI Laura, I just decided to look you up because I loved a Certain Slant of Light. Out of the many books I’ve read recently, it really stuck out to me and has remained in my mind. I feel that it is so much better than most of the YA stuff you find out there and the idea, the concept of the story really blew my mind. As I read over your blog I found this post and as someone who is normally a pessimist, this really spoke to me. I want to try it. I hope it works! I want to believe that I can succeed! I actually just self published my own first novel and of course with sales not being what I’d like, it’s hard to stay positive, but I am going to try this! The way you describe it just…speaks! Speak on! 🙂

    • Laura Whitcomb Says:

      Hi, Victoria. Great good luck with your book. An important thing to remember about positive thinking is that if it doesn’t seem to work right away, don’t give up. Sometimes it takes a little while to build up energy enough to shift. All my best to you!

  3. OMG…it’s Optimism! Whaaa? | Angst Says:

    […] last post, I feel the need to take it and flip it on its head because I just read a few blog posts here that really got me to thinking that I need to be more positive (and/or visualize my success).  I […]

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