Why Does New Age Wisdom Actually Make Me Feel Worse?

It was designed to make you feel better. But is it? 

Almost three years ago, a startup nonprofit that I was co-running failed. It was at this time that I had also started digging into New Age spirituality and meditation (and around the time I founded She Enlightened). 

With these freshly discovered principles in my back pocket, I went about my life, building my career at this startup, meeting all of these amazing women, and feeling a lot of YES - this is what life is supposed to look like. 

And then, only months later, the business fell apart. 

The wisdom I had to turn to was the following: 

You manifest everything you have on a vibrational level. On some level, you got what you wanted. 
Believe it, and you will see it. 

While I can understand why like would attract like on a physical level, I reject this concept and the way that it has been presented for a few reasons. 

1). Right before my company failed, I was the happiest I'd ever been. I had doubts and challenges daily, but I was 100% solid in that I was living out my relevant purpose. That translated to my confidence levels - meaning, my confidence was the highest it had ever been. I wanted this. 

2). It makes the person, not the Universe, too responsible for their destiny. Apply this principle to a cancer diagnosis. To a natural disaster. To a school shooting. To rape. There is no way that you are responsible for reigning in any of those things. I repeat. You are not responsible for any of those things. This theory lacks the complexity of trauma. 

3). It does not give you permission to feel your feelings. This is incredibly important. Because I felt like I had to force myself into thinking the best of myself during a time of failure and unemployment, I wasn't giving myself the grace OR the compassion to let myself be me - a human who experienced a real loss, and now had to grieve the people she came to love, the life she built, and the future she thought she had - and I really lost out on that grief.

Because I felt like I had to be consistently positive to manifest the next best outcome. 

This idea of manifestation is useful in some contexts, but applied in every context, it can make can make you feel pressured, trapped, and afraid. It can make you doubt yourself at the soul level. Which doesn't allow us to listen to it anymore. 

If a terminal cancer patient begins to judge every negative thought as contributing to their illness instead of as a natural human response or a side effect of dying, they're not going to feel better about themselves. This thinking will generally not be helpful.

So here I am - giving you permission to feel what you actually FEEL, listen to your soul and what it is telling you you want - and dropping the blame game when you don't get it.

I still believe in the power of prayer.
I still believe in the power of meditation. 
I still believe in the power of you making your dreams come true.

I also believe that...

Shit is the best fertilizer, because it makes flowers grow. 
You should take metaphysical practices with a grain of salt. Because no one really knows.
Trust yourself. 

And don't spend your life avoiding the inevitable shit and beating yourself up when you get it.

Go forth and coexist within the balance of light and dark.