Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Yellow Brick Road

I preface this entry by saying it’s very freaking long, and you don’t have to read the whole thing, obviously. I am going to tell you exactly how I manifested this new job in my life using the principles of the Law of Attraction. (And I know that there are those of you that will roll your eyes when I start using words like "manifest," but that's okay. You can read something else instead.)

First, there was the obvious stuff…I worked really hard for seven years, built a reputation, made connections to staff people, and really, really loved my work. I loved it, and it grew in my heart.

Secondly, I fully understood what the Law of Attraction really means, and doesn't me an. It does not mean that you can get yourself a sports car by sitting on the couch and just "believing." That’s just absurd. I understood that the Law of Attraction means that what you think about, and thank about, you bring about. Your goal has to make sense for who you are, and it has to be something that you also work toward diligently and carefully.

So, when I found out that my predecessor had already made public his intentions to leave at the end of the year, (and only after I knew that – let the record show) I set out to earn the job. I made the decision in a hard and fast rush of “Eff this. I’M GOING FOR IT.” And I saw it in capital letters, and set myself a methodical agenda to bring it into being. I heard my shadow self, sitting sulkily in the corner, saying, “This is new-age bullshit. It’s not going to make a difference. They either will want you or they won’t. None of this matters.” Then I threw a coconut cream pie in that self's face and plodded forward.

How Kelly Harnessed the Law of Attraction in Ten Deliberate Steps…

1. Vision Board – I did this the weekend I decided to GO FOR IT. The need to do it woke me up at 3:30 one morning, and I did it alone in the Athenaeum. I took the school calendar (a beautiful, glossy full-of-photos affair) and collaged parts of it in. Then I took magazine pictures I had been sort of saving away in a box for the past couple of years – just stuff that vaguely spoke to me at the time – and sorted through until I found pictures and words that said the things I was feeling…things about a leap of faith, about working smarter and more efficiently instead of just more, about believing in your dreams. I wrote a little one-paragraph manifesto, imagining what a friend who loved me would tell me in answer to the question, “Why should I get this job?” Smack in the middle I put Kermit the Frog, who is basically my theater idol, as well as my inspiration for how to run the show with a sense of humor, and how to keep myself surrounded by good friends and love while I do it.

Here it is:

2. Shopping Cart – I filled an shopping cart with all of the textbooks I would need or want to do the job well. They included books on teaching acting, running a choir, vocal technique, directing, and theater games for the classroom. (I didn't buy them...just put them in my shopping cart.) One of which was called At Play: Teaching Teenagers Theater by Elizabeth Swados, which I found, oddly, I already owned. I put that book, along with my Complete Works of William Shakespeare and Ask and It is Given by Jerry & Esther Hicks on the shelf with my vision board. On top of them I put a Beauty and the Beast rose, ‘cause I was kind of praying to Matt during this whole thing, too.

3. Post-its on the computer – They were reminders of things I had read that clicked hard with me. They said:

“Be there. Go there now and never leave. Imagine that your dream has already come true. Filter every thought, question and answer from there. Dwelling from, not upon, the space you want to inherit is the fastest way to change absolutely everything.”

“The Universe is creative, kind, loving, beautiful, expanding, abundant, receptive.”

“You get what you think about, whether you want it or not.”

And my two favorites, from Eat Pray Love. One is a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert about Diligent Joy: “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.” And the other: “Darling, it’s time.” That’s from the movie, where Javier Bardem dances Julia Roberts off into the bedroom. To me, that meant…you’ve waited long enough. You’ve worked very hard to be the best you can be, now come to this new place of joy and freedom and a brand new beginning. Plus, anything said in Javier Bardem’s voice had to be true and inspirational. Obviously. Sometimes I pretend his voice is reading through the DVR list, too.

4. Snap-Shots game – I have played this game in a variety of lovely forms, but in this case, it meant writing down on post-its moments from my “new life.” For example, “My students are laying on the floor of the stage. The lights are turned low, and I am walking them through a guided meditation where they meet their character on a walk in the woods." Or, "We are studying Hamlet's soliloquy. We have read it, discussed it, and are watching You Tube clips of great actors performing it, and talking about their choices and understandings." I wrote scores of them, and stuck them in the back of my journal.

5. Mentor Texts – I read
Steering by Starlight & How to Find Your Way in a New Wild World (Martha Beck.)
The Power of Intention (Wayne Dyer)
Ask and It Is Given (Jerry & Esther Hicks)
Creative Visualization (Shakti Gawain)
A Return to Love (Marianne Williamson)
The Secret (Rhonda Byrne)

6. Journaling – Obviously, I journaled my ass off about it. Mostly so that no one else had to listen to me go on and on and on and on and on about how much I was thinking about it. Though I did talk a lot about it too. But, believe me, not one tiny iota as much as I thought about it. Or wrote about it.

7. Sleep-Teaching – Every night before I fell asleep, I pictured my dream as true. I went there, dwelled there, felt the feelings, looked around the rooms I would have to inhabit, decorated my office, and set up the furniture. Every single night, even if it was just a whisp of a second when my head hit the pillow. I planned my dreams before dreaming.

8. Conversation Rehearsals – The conversation where I was offered the job. The conversation where I told my current principal I was leaving. The conversation where I told my partner. I practiced them. Scripted them. And it’s worth noting that they all came true almost exactly as I thought they would. Not totally, but enough to give me shivers. I also wrote the email to my friends announcing that I got the job…one full week before I go the job. I only changed one sentence of it after I got my contract in my hand.

9. Focused on the End Feeling – I tried to not just imagine, but feel what it will feel like to have one job to go to, one place to devote my energy, instead of two. I tried to feel what it will feel like to be there for Monday Morning Meeting with the whole school. How it will feel to have two weeks off in March with my kids still in school, and to be done at Memorial Day weekend. What it will feel like to actually be there on the day the cast list is announced, or to be able to spend my days talking about Shakespeare and human relationships and motivations. How it will feel to have my life filled with music, all the time. It felt, and still feels, joyous. It feels what Martha Beck calls “Shackles Off,” which means utterly free and uplifting.

10. Believing – I believed with all of my passionate, striving, hopeful heart. I knew I could do it. I knew I could make it happen. I didn’t entertain the thoughts of “What if it doesn’t?” beyond knowing that if that unthinkable if were to occur, I would take to my bed for three days and cry, then choose out some new dreams. But I threw coconut cream pies at all of those ifs, every time they came up. Those were shadows. I kept my face to the light, and believed.

Speaking of believing, I realize that there people who won’t believe in this, and think the whole idea of the Law of Attraction is crap. And that’s okay. Part of how I know it’s true – at least for me – is that I don’t actually care if other people don’t believe in it. I don’t care. I know I am right, and that it can work, and I wish and hope that everyone in the whole world could learn these principles and ways of thinking, because they have made me so happy and successful, and brought me my Big Wish.

Of course I have been asked the question I most wonder myself, which is, “But in light of this, why do bad things happen to good people?” I still don’t know. I don’t know. My only guess is that part of life is carving out your purpose and path and destiny from the lump of marble you were born into, and that every soul has a different destiny, one that the soul chooses out for itself before it gets here on earth. I think about my brother in this. He was a good soul, a good person, and had people who loved him so much and tried to help him. But he still died the way he did. How could that happen in a benevolent Universe? How could my gentle mother have deserved to have that sort of pain inflicted on her? I don’t know, but here’s what I think, what I believe…my brother was meant to be a healer. He was meant to help others through their traumas in the afterlife, wherever that might be, and the only way for him to do it well, as I think he’s doing it now, is to have suffered in real life. To know the pain of the worst of human living in order to gently mentor others who have suffered, leading them into the light. I know that’s what he’s doing now. And somehow, it was part of my path of learning to lose him, and my parents’ and my cousins’, and somehow, his son’s. I don’t know why. I think, someday, when I’m in the Next Place with him, singing songs from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and eating Heavenly Hash ice cream, I’ll know. That has to be enough for me for now.

This is a digression, and, I guess, a post of its own for another time.

Getting back to the point...there you have it. My steps, and my philosophies behind them. I know, of course, that it won’t work just this way for everyone, but everyone has the capacity to create their own path. This was mine. And it won’t surprise you one bit to know that it looks exactly in my mind like a Yellow Brick Road.


  1. I would like to live in your pocket for a day. You rock. All good things to you, my friend. Proud and honored to know you and share life's moments: the happy, the sad, and the vodka'd. Xoxox.

  2. Thank you for reminding me how it's done. I love you soooo much, my dear dear friend.