At the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want to achieve? To live the dream.
The first time I went to Lagos, Portugal was in 2001, I was at the tail end of healing from a devastating heartbreak. At the time, I was 31 years old and decided to embark on my first solo trip to the beaches of southern Portugal, in the spirit of self-discovery, in hopes of a renewed vigor. On the train ride from Lisbon, I fell asleep. The train director woke me up to let me know that we had arrived at my stop. Late into the night, three taxis awaited numerous travelers rushing off the train. So I hurried and grabbed one of the few cabs patiently waiting under the Algarvian stars.
My taxi driver’s name was Manuel, he was kind and of age, somehow I instantly trusted him and asked if he could be my private chauffeur during the next few days, to be my personal guide through the Algarves that framed the coast of his proud region. In two days, Manuel drove me from rocky shorelines to cafés stained by footprints of fearless cats. By the end of the trip, he became my friend who generously introduced me to his daughter at the train station, as I waved goodbye to an enlightening weekend of spiritual rejuvenation.
Earlier this year, one of my best friends from London, Kinga, told me that she found a new job and had rented an Airbnb in Lagos where she was planning to spend an entire month working remotely while living life under the Southern European sun as she had always wanted. This was her manifestation.
“But how did it come into fruition?” I asked, regarding the new job and spending a whole month away from drizzling London.
For months, Kinga created a PowerPoint with a list of what she wanted the most out of life. Part one of her master plan included: a new job, and the sun. For weeks, she listened to sounds of the ocean while working with recruiters for a position which would challenge growth and elevation on a professional level. From the first moment Kinga and I hugged at the train station in Lagos, she exuded the most beautiful spirit of her own self. She was beaming, it was undeniably evident. She shined brighter than the Portuguese sun that she wholeheartedly sought after.
Manifestation might be extremely cliché in 2022, but what I’ve come to realize is that, it is extremely empowering and enlightening. Imagine staring into a blank piece of paper and writing down exactly what you want, for yourself and your future. It is, in fact, an incredibly powerful cleanse.
When I arrived in Lagos, entering Kinga’s modern and beautiful Airbnb, I couldn’t help myself and gasped, “Girl, we’re living in your manifestation!!” She glowed even brighter.
In an instant, she became my manifestation guru. Furthermore, she became my inner circle of family and friends’ manifestation guru. We all wondered: How do we make our dreams come true? Despite that it’s quite possibly the most asked question to the end of the Earth. But truly, how do we actually make our dreams come true?
Sit in silence. Listen to your heart. It’s telling you what you and your heart deeply desire, without the noise, without society’s expectations.
Over the following weeks, I sat and heard. My thoughts led to a magnificent place where I captivated visions, desires and images that solely belonged to me. No one else.
So I wrote. Words, as I am a woman of words. In multiple languages, because they each embody different significances. Their definitions, implications, and ironies. How did I get here? Where I am. Where do I want to soar?
Yet, manifestation isn’t simply confined to thoughts and words. It’s based on energy and actions. Dreams don’t come true when we sit on our butts and wonder for hours. The list, for me, after pages of words, was comprised of actions and the attainable. “Write down things that you can really do,” Kinga said. What is plausible within 24 hours can accumulate to reality in weeks and months to come. But clarity is key, so is consistency.
For Kinga, manifestation required months to solidify. For others, it may take a few days. I, the irritable overachiever, took a weekend but even now, I’m still in the process of rewiring, adjusting to see what fits into my schedule while facing the reality of what I can actually do within a day, in spite of efficiency.
Body, mind and spirit have always been an alignment that I’ve overlooked. With the assignment of manifestation, however, I started to list all the areas that I wanted to refine in three conglomerate compartments as I spoke to my version of God who always sedated in peace, I instilled positivity in the way I chose to lead my team and decided that focusing on my body would be a top priority. For the first time in my life, I decided to take care of my body as diligently as I’ve always took care of my skin. At 41, I’ve finally found a way to enjoy going to the gym. Imagine that!
Of course, there’s a lot more to my manifestation. Bullet points, numerous PowerPoint slides, an impossible to-do list. “You should focus on what is possibly doable in a day, this is the most important element,” Kinga repeated, “When you don’t do them, you shouldn’t feel guilty!” That’s the key, even in the present; I continue to rewire, adapt, and reshuffle my daily to-do list. At the end of each day, isn’t that what we all want to achieve? Rewrite our stories so we can be better versions of ourselves, to attain our visions?
On this trip, I forgot to bring along Manuel’s business card which was slit into one of my old journals hid somewhere in my bedroom in Taipei. I never had the chance to say hello again, but his presence wasn’t forgotten throughout my second journey in Lagos – a place I seem to revisit during times of transition – phases of renewal.
Dreams do come true, this is what I’ve come to realize. Working hard and being kind are fantastic traits, but most importantly, it is the will to thrive in the present. When the vision is clear, I wouldn’t need another trip to Lagos to reap the message that life is exactly what we make of it. We just have to manifest.
Best of luck to you and your manifestation. Let’s go get ’em!