Manifesting Love

Photo credit: Les Talusan, lestalusanphoto.com

Photo credit: Les Talusan, lestalusanphoto.com

“Now, in this vision, I want you to visualize yourself in a relationship,” he said.

We were sitting on the sofa in my living room. He was on one end and I was on the other, our feet firmly planted on the floor, eyes closed.

“Picture the man you want in your life. See him in front of you. Picture the characteristics he has. But beyond that, picture how you see the relationship. Think of how you want him to treat you. You want someone caring and loving. Someone that will support you and make you a better person. Someone that will inspire you and support your art and writing. Someone to laugh with and make you smile. Someone to hold faith with.”

I closed my eyes tight, trying really hard to picture not just a man but a loving relationship. I was sitting in my intuition chakra and all I could see was an abyss of swimming colors, deep pinks and purples. It was beautiful. I wondered how I would paint it. And somewhere, floating in the distance, I was able to picture a blurry outline of a gray-silhouetted couple holding hands. Was that all I was seeking? Someone to hold hands with? Had I not been in a long-term relationship for so long that I had forgotten what characteristics I wanted?

I was one of those perpetually single types referred to in this week’s NYT Modern Love article. It wasn’t that I hadn’t tried, or I hadn’t loved. (I’ve been in love 4.5 times. The national average is 2.) I just hadn’t been in a long-term relationship, the kind where we called each other boyfriend and girlfriend, had keys to each other’s place, met the family over holiday meals and (ten years in the future) had ‘date nights to reconnect’ because life is so ‘hectic’. And for me that guy, the one who told me back in 2004 that he wasn’t ready for a committed relationship, called me on Jan 1, 2014 to let me know he had finally gotten engaged and wanted me to know before he put it on Facebook.

It was now day two of 2014 and I was manifesting a man. A mock-up of a man at least, for now. My friend had come over to generously teach me some tools of the trade from the “manifesting what I want in life” industry. There is a whole industry around this after all. The book The Secret? The whole self-help section of the bookstore? The trend of making vision boards? Malcolm Gladwell? Eat, Pray, Love? Giving duas? It is all about envisioning what you want and putting it out there in the universe.

The snarky side of me was laughing at myself. This was not only so “California” – but just how desperate could I be to resort to such an “all-time low” to actually manifest a man? People in relationships are supposed to meet through kismet, serendipity and online dating websites. Love at first sight because your gut instinct tells you that you “just know.” There’s no manifesting when RomCom/Bollywood romances are involved.

But on the flip side, the popular belief is that if I wasn’t in a relationship by the time I’m in my mid-thirties it was because I was doing something tactically wrong – my online dating profile was too aggressive or didn’t show enough cleavage, I was too old for the matchmaking aunties to even care, or I wasn’t putting myself out there enough. I was too intense, too educated, too political. I had to be myself (but don’t push men away), be confident in what you are looking for (but don’t be picky).  Societal norm dictates that if I was single, it was my fault somehow. Forget kismet and serendipity and love at first sight.

I took a deep breathe and grounded myself back in the moment of being on that couch with my friend. I realized something beautiful was taking place. My friend had heard me. He had heard all the pains of dating, the nursed broken heart, the unspoken loneliness, and all the gripes of the downfall characteristics of the men I dated. And he wasn’t just offering advice, he was helping – in a really hippie dippie Californian way – but it was still help. He wanted to see me in a loving relationship, where I was being cared for and loved; and he was willing to take the time to sit with me and manifest that with me. It reminded of the Thich Nhat Hanh quote, “To be loved means to be recognized as existing.”

“Now take that image you have in front of you, this loving relationship,” he continued. I pictured the gray couple in the colorful abyss. “Now sprinkle it with some gold. This is the light and goodness. Let’s put a timestamp on this, put today’s date. And let’s set a goal and say we want this to manifest in the next six months.

Now, create a carbon copy, an exact replica, so you see two images side by side. Make sure they are identical. Once you have that, take a huge slingshot, and catapult one of the images as far as you can, to the ends of the universe. You want to put it out, way out there.

Then take the second image and lift it up and pull it down through your crown chakra into you. And hold it there. So that the images can come back together and whoever it is will be able to find you. And then, we are done. And you can slowly open your eyes.”

“And then what do I do?” I asked, as I opened my eyes and looked towards him.

“You don’t do anything. You forget about it. Now, you can let it go.”

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As I reflected back on 2013, I felt good with how I challenged myself as an artist, a radical, a community activist and a spiritual being. I had wanted “love” in my life and this past year love manifested itself in my life through community, art, faith and activism. I came to accept that love was being sent to me differently than it was to other people – and I just had to open myself to it. I’ve struggled with these traditional ideas of conventional love, and tried to accept that maybe Allah hasn’t written that path for me. If there’s anything I’ve learned from the grieving process of the past two years, it’s to love boundlessly and radically. It’s the “how” part that is a constant struggle. If love is the recognition that someone exists – then how can we live a life full of love that recognizes people beyond just significant others and babies? We need to treat love as a value in life’s journey, and recognize … well, just about everything.

“Do you remember that conversation we had when we were driving in Los Angeles?” Oiyan asked me a couple weeks ago. We were in her bridal suite a couple nights before her wedding day and I was coaching her into writing her vows.

“The conversation where we got really excited about seeing the grilled cheese food truck on the freeway?” I responded.

“No….” she side-eyed me. “We were talking about love. You asked me what I was looking for and I responded that I was looking for a guy that was going to love me unconditionally. And then you said something that really stuck out in my head. You said you were looking for someone who you could pour your love into. You were looking for someone you could love unconditionally.”

I remembered. I was madly in love at the time in someone who was backing away. I nodded my head slowly.

“Well it was because of that conversation,” she continued, “that I decided to date again. And I was ready to fall in love again. You taught me that love isn’t primarily about receiving, it is about giving. And so I went seeking someone to give love to. And…two months later I met my fiancé. That was why it was so important to me to have you as a bridesmaid. This wedding was catalyzed because of you.”

“You should include that in your vows,” I suggested.

Here’s to manifesting love in 2014: receiving love, giving love, finding love in community, arts and belief. And in recognizing people in our lives as existing. Happy New Year.

To read more posts by Tanzila, click here.

Tanzila “Taz” Ahmed is an activist, storyteller, and politico based in Los Angeles currently working as the Voter Engagement Manager at Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles. She was a long-time writer for Sepia Mutiny, and was recently published in the anthology Love, Inshallah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women and both zines from Totally Radical Muslims. Her personal projects include curating images for Mutinous Mind State and writing about Desi music at Mishthi Music where she just co-produced Beats for Bangladesh: A Benefit Album in Solidarity with the Garment Workers of Rana Plaza. Taz also organizes with Bay Area Solidarity Summer and South Asians for Justice – Los Angeles. You can find her rant at @tazzystar.


5 Comments on “Manifesting Love”

  1. Nirmala says:

    This was beautiful. Thank you for your eloquent words. Looking back on my own journey in love, I’ve never consciously “manifested” a man (I believe too much in kismet myself), just made room for and honored that wonderful tenderness within me that sought to give love, wherever it would be best received. And I always had faith that it would. That hasn’t always resulted in a romantic relationship, but it’s always led me to greater happiness than I think I would otherwise have had if I were running around like a chicken on a chopping block, seeking the perfect man before final curtains. The journey, as they say, is always more important than the destination–but from my experience, there is no real destination, no best final outcome, only the love we choose to give along the way rather than withhold in our search for “something real.” Happy new year–I hope it brings you everything you desire.

  2. nga says:

    thank you for sharing your story so beautifully

  3. Mukesh Negi says:

    Really so amezing story thanks for sharing with us.

  4. jdeena says:

    Such a beautiful piece. I, too, sometimes feel that I am getting too old for people to care anymore to set me up. I’ve been told my online profile is too intimidating. And I also recently had to see the Facebook pictures of my one true love on his wedding day, with no forewarning. I’m 31 and I feel that no matter what I do I will never find the guy I’m meant to be with. Reading this helped me know I’m not the only one out there like this. Thank you!