The Gathering Room: A Little New Year's Magic
- Hello, everybody. I never know when the thing comes up and says live and the circle is going around, I can't see anyone. The circle hasn't finished. Aha! Aha. I think I'm here.
Hahahaha. We're back again. Let me fix my angle. Got to fix my angle a little bit. Mhm, we all got to do what we can do in COVID times, to make things work. Hello, Denise.
How you doing? Hello, Tracy. Hello, Donna. Hello Susan. Hello everybody. Anne Marie.
All the old friends. Another Susan, a few Susans. Hey, this is the Gathering Room. I'm Martha Beck. Aha, Gathering Room. There I said it so it can be for the podcast.
And we have 141 people. Boom, I'm starting. I'm saying hello to all of you all and I'm just going to dive right in.
Everybody's on time. Did you have a lovely holiday? I hope you all had lovely holidays, whatever you celebrate or if you celebrate nothing, I hope it was lovely. And good riddance 2020, right? Although, you know, for some people 2020, as I said, last time we talked, it was a good teacher. It helped us- it helped a lot of us learn a lot of things about ourselves. So let us not be too cruel to it. And we're so glad it's over.
And nature doesn't know that we have started counting again. So who knows what will happen, but probably nothing very new. Anyway, welcome back. And today let's do a little new year's magic. I was talking to some friends yesterday and we were discussing New Year's resolutions and specifically the sort of new age goal-setting thing where you write down a whole bunch of things that you want, but write them down in incredible detail.
The classic model on which it's all based, there was a woman who wrote an article for Oprah Magazine years ago, not me, another woman. And she had made a list of a hundred characteristics she wanted in a husband. And she wrote them all down and she put it away. And then years later she met this wonderful man and they were dating and it got serious.
And so she said, I am going to go dig up my list. So she went and dug up her list and she gave it to her her boyfriend, and she went in the other room. And when she came back, he was weeping and she thought it was because they were so dissimilar that he had to go his separate ways. But what he said was, there's only one thing wrong. You didn't- I wear a different color of socks than the socks you listed. Everything else describes me.
So they got married and lived happily ever after. So we were talking about this and how, all right I believe that woman. I really think that that happened. And after the article ran, a lot of people asked me, should I try it? And I thought, can't hurt.
And I started getting reports from my clients that they were receiving the things they were putting on their lists. And I thought, wow, I should do this. It's basically the same thing as a vision board only more detailed. A vision board for those of you who have been asleep since 1970, is a big piece of paper on which you put pictures and words and images that describe a life you want or something you want in your life. And then you put it up and you envisage it. And according to the new age formula, it manifests.
And I've made a few, you know I've made a vision board because why not, once or twice. But after this article ran with the hundred items, I was like, I started hearing back really positive things. So I made a vision board to end all vision boards. I was later, they got me on the show with this vision board. It was like 15 feet long and four feet high, completely covered with pictures I had cut out from magazines, which were a primitive form of the internet that we used to take on airplanes. It was, yeah, old pioneer times.
So I had all these things on this vision board. And like 10 years later, they'd all come to pass. Including things I put on there as a joke. Or that I didn't even know I was putting there.
Like, I really liked a picture of a certain room. So I put the room on the vision board and in the room was a golden retriever. And 10 years later, I had a room very similar to that and a golden retriever which I had not expected to ever acquire. And in the middle of all this, as a joke, I put heal Africa because I thought, okay, as long as I'm making huge goals, I might as well put something completely ridiculous. And I am not saying that I have done anything particularly significant.
But within those 10 years, I was actively engaged, going to South Africa once a year and running seminars specifically to bring in first-world money, to help rebuild the ecosystems there in South Africa and help the local people. So it was literally healing little bits, I was contributing to healing Africa. And it was like, I hadn't even been to Africa when I put that on my vision board.
So after I went on the show, there was a big, another big flurry of interest in it. And people, I finally started telling people, okay, let's do the hundred item list. What do we have to lose? So we started making hundred item lists, my clients and I.
Now yesterday I was talking to a group of friends about, as I said about New Year's resolutions and we were talking about, is it worth it to make one of these lists? Is it just too ridiculous? And one of the women said, well, I have been making a list. She's single. And she said, I've been making a list but I only have 23 things on it.
And I really think that that's all I deserve. And I was like, wait a second. You're writing a list in the abstract about what you would like to see in a potential spouse, and you don't think you really deserve more than 23 items? Hmm, my little life coach antenna went up and then another woman went off and she said, I actually made a hundred item list and now she's not single.
And she went away and she brought back her journal from long ago and she read most of her hundred item list. And it turns out that the relationships she's in now perfectly matches the list. Absurdly, to the point where we were laughing and laughing. And the woman with the 23 things, I went back to her and I said here's the deal, I don't think that if you just say you're going to win the lottery, you're going to win the lottery.
I don't believe that. But I really do believe that if you never put your attention on the specifics of something that you might like, then you are not actively looking for it and screening reality for it. And once you do specifically describe something that you truly want from your heart, you become like a guided missile. And the way those things work is that, when they shoot a missile like that, it's supposed to go to its target and it drifts inevitably a little bit. And if it drifts far enough there's a mechanism that connects it.
And then it drifts a little bit too far the other way. And then it corrects again. And by the time it gets to the target it's just making tiny corrections and it hits the target. So when we actually specify what we would like to see in our lives, we become like those guided missiles.
And we just, we're always correcting course through millions of choices we make every day, every week. And sure enough, I mean, it cannot be denied. My friend with the a hundred item list had everything she wrote down. Who would have thought? So I have made a list of a few things 'cause I'm just obsessed with lists today, that differentiate wild-eyed fantasy from a genuine dream. And one of my friends said in our conversation, our epic conversation yesterday, she said here's the thing, I grew up living in fantasy.
And fantasy is where your immediate environment is not tolerable. And so you make up something that takes you away mentally from the environment. And it's very compelling to you. A lot of addictions function this way. It removes you from the situation and allows you to spin endless stories about what could be. But it's not the same as a real dream.
And she said, I've seen fantasies come true but they're not satisfying. Mostly they don't come true. But real dreams are different.
And if we can get a beat on those things, they, and we focus on them, we actually can make them come true. They're meant to come true. This is our hypothesis. Fantasy, dream, two different things. And a lot of us get them mixed up, right? We sit down and say, I'm going to dream of what I want to have happen to me in 2021. But instead of saying, finding the dream, which I'll talk about in a moment, we escape into fantasy and we do, it's all these very routine cultural tropes.
I'm going to get a ton of money. I'm going to get the, I'm going to be- I'm going to look exactly the way I've always wanted to look. I'm going to have these specific adventures that I've seen on the internet or on TV or whatever. It's actually, we can go off into fantasy and it won't work. So here are the things.
First, a dream makes you more present. So as we were talking yesterday about the dreams that we had for 2021, it made us feel like we were more connected and together in that conversation. We were on the phone, COVID times, right? We weren't all together, but we felt very present and connected.
when we talked about our dreams. One of the things I've experienced with all kinds of people, with acquaintances, with dear ones, with clients, is that when you start to fantasize, you are gone. Your energy is actually gone from the room.
It doesn't feel connected. Somebody who's sitting in a room and they, say they have a gambling addiction. And they're fantasizing about going to the racetrack later and they can make small talk, and they can eat dinner with people, and they can bounce a baby on their knee, and they're not there.
And everyone pretty much knows that they're not there because they don't feel present. They're just gone. And you can't really fake that.
Energy is much more sophisticated than most people will give it credit for. And if somebody's gone, you feel it. If you're the one gone, you might not feel it. But if you don't feel connected to the specific present moment that you're in, you're in fantasy.
Dreams bring you present, into presence and fantasies take you away. Second thing, a dream will fill you with oxytocin and other rest and relax hormones. And a fantasy is more like Oxycontin. It will drug you and make you, maybe feel okay in the short term, but not in the longterm.
So that's it. I thought oxytocin, Oxycodone. Funny pun, everyone will love it. And I'm like, no, no.
No, Martha stop with the world play. All of this is just to say that you will calm down and feel more at peace when you are embracing a dream. And when there's a fantasy going, you'll feel revved up or drugged or adrenalized, or like ahhh, manic. We've talked about this before. Mania is celebrated in American culture as being a good thing. It actually isn't, it's not good.
You can't sustain it. And it doesn't pertain to your dreams. It's only your fantasies. A dream comes from within you.
It's very personal. It doesn't need other people to sustain it. You want it from within like, I love to ski and that just is something I want to do from within.
And I'll do it alone. And I don't care if anybody else wants to go with me. I have another friend who is a passionate nature advocate and she loves to dive.
And she tried to talk me into, I got very excited talking to her about diving and I even got a wetsuit and everything. I was going to learn to dive. As soon as she was gone from the room I was like, meh, let's go skiing. It wasn't coming from inside me.
It was coming from the people around me. So if something's coming from advertising that's not a dream. It's a fantasy. If it's coming from another individual, you want to impress, not a dream, fantasy.
Dreams come from inside. And finally fantasies are made up from stories you've heard around you. Dreams are pre-membered. And that's a word one of my clients made up once to say that when you think of a dream, you can feel it inside you as if there's an echo of it already having happened. And it's very, very sweet. And sometimes there's a yearning associated with it and a fear that it won't come true because it's so core to your heart.
It's so tender. It's so, it so wants to be real. And fantasies don't feel that way. They're narcotic, they drug us.
So with all of this in mind I would love to give you guys a challenge to go away from The Gathering Room today and sometime during the next week, write up a list of a hundred things you would like to have happen to you in 2021. And it can be something really tiny. Like I would like to grow a plant from a seed. That is one of my goals in 2021. And some of them are really big.
You know? I'd love to write another book in 2021. Eh, that feels like a fantasy, not a dream, sorry. But maybe it'll come in.
Anyway, I would love to take any questions now and discussion about how you make sure that you get the right dreams to create the magic. Because, oh, and there's one other thing. As you write the hundred things you will run dry at a certain point. The way my friend did at 23 things that she wanted in her potential spouse. And by the end of the conversation I convinced her, we'd convinced each other, that you need to break through those places where you get stuck. So you'll get to this sort of edge of your sense of possibility.
And then if you keep listing things what happens is they sound really stupid and random for a few minutes. And then you sort of break through into a new level and you'll get a whole bunch of new dreams and they come from inside you. And it's the continuing to list. Continuing to put the things on your vision board when you've already got 58 things, keeping going is how you get through to the parts that are coming from deep within you. And those are even more magic than the things you list first. So, you know, when we get to this point a year from now maybe we can check in and see how many of our things have come to pass.
So any questions or comments I would love to get some for you. And I am going to tune in to the fabulous, Gracious Badger, Rowan Mangan is sending me your questions. Jessica says, I have trouble with the poles of creating a vision and or releasing the future to divine guidance and intuition. I start to feel negative, Type A control. It creeps in when I imagine the future too much.
How do I merge these? It's an interesting thing. The way to do it, is not to back away and deny yourself. But to move forward and indulge yourself. And this is what I mean, Jessica, when you want something, like if I want to go skiing, that's a very specific thing. It's something I- it seems silly to me, but I love it with my whole heart. So instead of saying, oh, I hope I can go skiing again but I do have a bunion on my foot.
And what if that never heals and I won't be able to- I can get kind of into this space of being afraid. I'm using a trivial example. But instead of saying, okay, I'm going to back off and not want that anymore. What I need to do is imagine the feeling state that comes with the fulfillment of my dream.
So I can sit in a chair and go back to the times when I have skied and they come back very, very vividly. 'Cause it's something, I don't know, my soul just loves it. So if I drop into that feeling state, I can get so blissed out that I forget to be afraid that I'll never get to go again.
Right? So I- and when I was looking for love long ago, I've been very very fortunate to have a lot of love in my life. But I remember, that when I tried to push away from it and say, it's okay to be alone, it felt horrifying. And when I leaned into it and felt, let myself feel as if it had already happened, I swear I could feel loving arms around me before they ever showed up in human flesh. So going into it gets you to that oxytocin hit and it blisses you out and your brain will say, but it may not happen. So what? You're in bliss now. You're much more likely to get the thing that you're dreaming of.
You're following your spirit's guidance and it feels better than trying to back away. So Jessica, very very good question. Lean in, feel the bliss. And then when self-talk comes up, that's scary, question that and say, no, you're the one I don't want in the room. The dream can stay. You need to leave, please.
Donna says, does a dream need to have an element of the reality of the means to get there? You know, yes and no. I mean, I hesitate to say no, it can happen completely by magic. But my favorite story about this is when I was 14 years old, I started seeing that there were certain things that I really wanted to do. Skiing was one of them. I wanted a 10-speed bicycle and then I wanted to go to Europe.
And we were not rich by any stretch. But I found ways to earn money. And I bought used ski equipment and I bought a used bicycle and I made those two goals happen. Me, get to Europe? Nah.
I tried selling enough candy for the French club to win a prize, it didn't happen. And then I came home from school one day, I was 14, 15, and we had a friend who was a basketball player in what is now Croatia. And he got all these round trip tickets every year to go to the US and back. And there were two that were, he hadn't used them and they were going to expire. So he mailed them to my family and said if anybody wants them, here's a round trip to Europe.
So the next day I was on a plane with my little sister and we were headed off to Yugoslavia. And it was the fulfillment of my, of the last of those three dreams. And it just came out of the blue and I have experienced this over and- not the same exact thing, but similar things over and over and over. And that's one reason I really want you to make your list of a hundred things, because if it comes from the heart, you guys, if it comes from the dream, the dream, Shakespeare said, we are such stuff as dreams are made of. The whole world is such stuff as dreams are made on. And if we can dream it, the whole world seems to start dreaming it with us.
So, give it a try. So Catherine says, what is your dream for the year? Can you share yours with us? That would be helpful. It makes me a little shy, but I will tell you one thing. And that is that, we all get vaccinated. And there's a restaurant where I go in New York City to meet with one of my friends who comes in occasionally and Ro and I go to New York and we have dinner with this beloved friend. And it's just so, it's such a sweet feeling.
It didn't seem like a distant dream a year ago but this, right now it does. And I actually painted a picture of that happening again so that I could dream it into existence 'cause I want it so much. I mean, they don't even have to be big things. Yes, I'd like to write another book, but meh, it's kind of iffy. That scene in the restaurant is so real and it doesn't have to make sense and it doesn't have to feel important or to the mind it doesn't have to be important.
It feels important to my heart. But remember, a hundred things, list a hundred things. They can be a new pair of socks or I'm going to go to the Olympics. Anything and everything gets to go on that list. Okay, Holly says, what if the dream seems so big you think it might be a fantasy? The bigness of it, you notice on my list of things, the size of the dream is not a determining factor. The feeling of it is.
The way it affects your body and your heart and your presence in the room and your connection to other people, those are the things that are the operative variables. And if something is huge and it makes you feel very present, very connected, very peaceful, very joyful, and it's big, big, big, huge, and you deny it because you think it's too big, you will feel broken. And that is one of the things that I've watched people do as a mistake. They think if they bring their dreams down a little bit, it'll help. It doesn't. If you're meant to have a huge life, like the friend that I go to, with- that Ro and I meet with in New York, she has a huge, huge life.
And she's meant to influence millions of people, I mean she already has, but I think it's even supposed to be bigger. And she keeps, she's a very humble person and keeps trying to pull it in. Not going to happen.
If your dream is huge, but it's a real dream, dream it. And question your resistance to the dream. All the cultural logic that tells you what should work and what shouldn't work, it's not the magic. The magic is all about the flavor and texture. I mean, when my friend who wrote the list of a hundred things, when she wrote her list, the odds of her getting all those things, nil, I mean, it was, that's why we were all laughing. It was impossible that this dream should come true.
But she just wrote down a hundred things that were her biggest dream. Why not? And I really do think that made it, it helped make it happen. So yeah. Check for the texture of it to see if it's a fantasy but don't look at the bigness. Some dreams are supposed to be big. Okay, Jen says, do we put timelines on the list to get things in 2021? Here's an interesting question, because as I've said I've seen a lot of dreams come true for clients, but it wasn't always within the time limit they hoped for.
And I've had huge things come through for me, but often not within the time limit that I hoped for. And it almost feels, and you'll hear this if you talk to psychics or people, mediums, I don't know a bunch of those people, but I've talked to a few, and they'll tell you the hardest thing to get right is timing. And I heard one medium who I really think has a gift, explain it by saying, in the spiritual realm time does not exist. Everything is present all the time. And as I've said before on the Gathering Room, if spirit is light and light is traveling at the speed of light, at the speed of light time does not exist and you can be everywhere at the same time. So what this medium told me is it's very hard for the spirit world to tell the material world when things are going to happen because for the spiritual self everything's already present.
So it's like, what do you mean what time? That makes no sense. So, again put the timing out there and maybe it has to happen by a certain time. Maybe there's a limit to, for example you want to have a baby, it probably won't happen after you've gone through menopause or if you're biologically male or whatever. So there are some constraints. But put the timing down and then let it go. Because often, often, often it's after the time's up and people go, oh, it didn't happen.
Bang. It comes along right then. We always say, in my Wayfinder life coaching there's this saying, intention, attention, no tension. You intend something, you put your attention on it intensely by writing it down and thinking about it.
And then you drop it, you drop all the tension. And that dropping seems to help. Okay, Kim says, what's the best tips to know a dream is for my best interest, instead of what others think is best for me? It's how you feel about it.
If people are telling you what's best and you're like, okay, okay, but you get away from them and you're like, eh, I don't like that feeling. You climb into bed and you're feeling sort of sad or too challenged or whatever. That's not your dream.
Your dream will make you go- (gasps) Oh, for me? It's really, when I said it brings oxytocin, don't do it Martha, just stop. If it fills you with peace and joy and it actually can change the hormones in your body, I've tested this medically, when you're dreaming a dream that's true for you, you're going to feel really good. As long as you believe it. If you fear that it won't come true, you can get yourself tied in knots. But if you're following a dream that others are telling you to follow you will not feel that way.
My book that's coming out in April is all about this. What comes from culture, from other people has the interest of the culture in mind. What comes from your nature, which is your soul, your body, your heart, that's you.
That is your spiritual mission. That's what you're meant to have. That's the dream you're meant to dream. Even if it goes opposite the culture. And at some point it will.
Okay, Dillon says, what would you suggest for getting into the right heart space before beginning one's 100 desires? I would say playfulness. You know, people think it's prayer and meditation. But actually play is the most creative and sort of limit busting mental state that we can get into. And so when you see children, there's a study that was done where a bunch of people were given a task to make towers out of marshmallows and raw spaghetti. And they gave it to engineers, they gave it to CEOs, they gave it to all the, to geniuses.
The people who did it best were five-year-olds. Because they would just start putting together whatever they had in mind. Whereas the other people would get perfectionistic and start to, oh we've got to get it in the right head space. Nope, just jump in and start playing.
Just start listing things, list silly things. And then feel for what wants to come up. The more playful you are, the better the dream will be. I think that's, I'm pretty damn sure of that. Okay, Tracy says, how important is the wording? Should I be careful to be positive? I want to worry less about money versus being confident I have enough money. You know what? There's all this stuff about, put it in the present tense, frame it positively.
Those are just tents, cultural rules about how to make this work. The magic is a feeling, it's joy, it's laughter, it's play. Do this with your friends on the phone, with your sister, your mother, whoever, your husband. Do it to have fun, do it to share dreams, do it to have love between you. And don't worry about the wording or the specifics. The magic loves the feeling.
It doesn't have specific regimented rules. Okay, we just have a couple more. Which is good 'cause we're almost out of time.
Margaret Rose says I want to buy land and build a house but see so many obstacles and people between me and this dream. It's a very strong yearning. How to move forward in spite of these obstacles and not just think it's fantasy and thus give up keeps coming back to me.
(voice whispering off screen) - Oh. (Martha gasps) Oh, the Gracious Badger just informed me that Margaret Rose's question has been answered by Vicky Jones. Listen to this Margaret, in 19- This is Vicky talking, in 1983, I was a single mom who wanted a new home for myself and my children. The new home would cost $123,900 to build but I didn't have any money.
I told everyone that I was going to move there and most just laughed. At one point I told my grandmother I needed the winning lottery numbers. She told me I didn't. But asked if I had a camera. She was a big believer in the vision board, which was called treasure mapping at that time.
She told me that I had to own it before I own it and told me to take pictures of my new home, get to know the neighborhood, visit the schools my kids would attend and imagine how I'd decorate the rooms and have the backyard parties we would have. She said, my job was to know what I wanted by when, not how it would come. And her final piece of advice was that if I wasn't a thousand percent sure of the support I would get, keep the dream to myself and they'd see it when it happened. Well, I followed her advice to the letter, and at just the right time I was given a gift. Yes, a gift, of $123,900. My children and I lived in that house for 17 years until they were grown and gone.
Today I wonder why it seemed easier to get that house than it does to stay on top of month to month bills. My guess is because I could relax with the house because it wasn't something I had to have. I could play with it. The electric company wants their money every month. Anyway, I just, she says wanted to let folks know that dreams do come true.
Work with them, believe in them. Have a wonderful 2021. Vicky, you just took it away and I am so grateful. That was my dream, that somebody else would give the perfect ending for the Gathering Room this week.
So do your list of a hundred things, write them down, share them with your friends, share them with each other, and we'll check in next year and see how many of them happened. Because magic is real and this is a great time to work it. I love you.
Come back next week and see me again on the Gathering Room. (makes kissing noises) Happy New Year!