In Part 1 of this blog, I told the story of my cheetah encounter during the Africa STAR retreat with Martha Beck at Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa. What I hadn’t realized at the time, because we weren’t being intentional about it, is that those of us in the Land Rover who were blessed to have our sacred moment with the cheetah had been doing exactly what Martha teaches about how to bring into being what you desire.
Let me be clear here. You are not about to get a lesson in The Secret. This is not about how to manifest a Ferrari or cast a spell that suddenly makes the guy you’re lusting over fall head over heels for you. What we’re talking about is not about giving God a shopping list of what your ego desires. This is about how to “call in” that which is aligned with the highest good. In Finding Your Way In A Wild New World, Martha teaches what she calls the Four Technologies of Magic. Tosha Silver also teaches a similar process in Outrageous Openness, which I wrote about here. How I call in cheetahs is informed by the process of both of these spiritual teachers, so what I’m about to share with you is an amalgam of both that reflects my own process of bringing into being that which I desire.
Whether your cheetah is an animal you wish to see on safari, the Divine Beloved you wish to call in, clarity about your soul’s work, the perfect client who will be uplifted by your service, or the money to fund your dream, this process applies to it all. The following steps are not necessarily linear. Some will happen simultaneously. Some happen out of order. But they give you a guideline about how to bring your cheetah one step closer to you.
Step One: Set The Intention
It all starts with desire. In spite of what you might have been taught in Sunday School, desire is never wrong. It’s a signpost pointing towards what lights you up, feeds your soul, sparks your enthusiasm, and makes you feel alive. Sometimes we’re misguided in what we think we desire. You might think you want your best friend’s husband, but what you really want is the kind of soulful connection you feel when you’re with him—which you’re likely to find in someone else in a way that doesn’t threaten your integrity and leave you betraying your best friend. Desire is information. It’s feedback about what sparks your Inner Pilot Light, and it’s often a marker of what wants to become in what Martha calls the “Everywhen.”
Before I left to go on Safari at Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa as part of Martha Beck’s African STAR retreat, I kept joking about mystical cheetahs. Every time I’m with Martha, magic happens, so I was curious what mysteries would unfold in Africa. Would the cheetahs levitate? Would I have a run in with a psychic cheetah? Would a cheetah start speaking to me in tongues? It wasn’t just me who was envisioning cheetahs before the safari started. Anne Davin, who was joining me on safari, also kept seeing visions of cheetahs.
We didn’t realize when we were joking about cheetahs and seeing them in visions that cheetahs are not at all a common sight at Londolozi. Last year, Martha had emailed me to say that a cheetah had come up to her and said, “Mew.” I assumed stuff like this was common. Little did I know mewing cheetahs don’t appear every day at Londolozi.
Our sunrise game drive had been pretty quiet for the last couple hours. The bush was still, but we were satiated from the day before, when we had seen elephants, leopards, lions, giraffe, rhinos, hippos, and a whole bunch more. The morning of the cheetah was mostly about birds with wings like morpho butterflies, dwarf mongoose sentries, and communing with the strangler fig trees- not glamorous by African safari standards, but lovely and quiet and full of connection with nature. Kate, our park ranger and safari guide, stopped the Land Rover in the middle of a clearing. We drank coffee and laughed a lot. We weren’t thinking about cheetahs at all.
In the wake of the renegotiation of my sacred contract with a friend, I had an epiphany. In my close relationships, I have two opposing desires:
-the desire for intimacy and security
-the desire for freedom and autonomy
Every relationship is a dance of these two desires. So in one of my relationships, I feel a bit insecure, and our communication challenges leave me feeling distant, so I crave more intimacy and security. In another one of my relationships, I feel a little smothered sometimes, like we’re so codependent and enmeshed that I crave more freedom and autonomy.
I am neither a needy person nor a stand-offish person. But finding that perfect balance of closeness and space is a dance that has to be customized to the needs of each relationship. My easiest, most comfortable relationships flow effortlessly because we seem to have similar needs for intimacy/security and freedom/autonomy. When it gets challenging is when someone needs way more space than I do- so I wind up getting all clingy and insecure- or when someone has such an intense need for intimacy and security that I wind up feeling like I can’t breathe. My healthiest relationships sometimes need tinkering, but we don’t wind up with one person always getting hurt feelings or the other always jockeying for space.
When Things Get Out Of Balance
So what can we do when the dance gets awkward?
1. Meet your own needs first.
If you’re giving someone else responsibility for your happiness, you’ll wind up being a bottomless pit of need. I’m not suggesting relationships don’t feed us. They do. In fact, they’re arguably the most important part of our health. But healthy relationship occur between two sovereign individuals who take responsibility for their own happiness and then amplify that joy by sharing intimacy.
2. Ask for what you desire.
I know it’s uncomfortable to express your desires. If you’re feeling the need for closeness, you may be afraid of coming across as needy. If you’re feeling the need for space, you may fear hurting someone’s feelings. But what’s the alternative- letting resentment build up?
3. Be willing to make yourself vulnerable.
Rather than showing up with your armor on because you’re feeling hurt or smothered, be brave enough to be vulnerable. I know it can be the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but if the relationship is worth nurturing, it will bring you closer and help your loved one understand what you need.
4. Learn to enjoy your own company.
In part 1 of this 5 part blog series about a feminine way to manifest your dreams, I wrote about a more feminine, “eggy” way to operate when you’re trying to bring into form something you desire, such as a business, a book, an art project, or a vision. While the masculine “spermy” approach requires pushing and striving, usually to the point of exhaustion, the feminine “eggy” approach requires setting clear intentions, making your desires known, and then trusting that, when your desires are in alignment with the highest good, the Universe will rush to your aid and send an army of dutiful little sperm your way in order to help you bring your desires into being.
All Desires Aren’t Created Equal
Now mind you, this approach is not to be confused with popular “law of attraction” notions put forth in The Secret and such. I’m not suggesting that all you need to do in order to make a Ferrari appear before you like magic is to imagine the Ferrari and then wait for the Universe to plop one in front of you.
Sure, the masculine approach still works if what you desire is a Ferrari. You can work your ass off, earn hundreds of thousands of dollars (or however much you’ll need - I don’t keep tabs on how much your average Ferrari costs these days), and go buy yourself a well-earned Ferrari. But the Universe is less likely to join in on the fun, unless you intend to use that Ferrari as part of a campaign to end world hunger or cure AIDS or convert neo-Nazis into open-hearted lovebugs, in which case, hell - you’ll probably get a dozen Ferrraris plopped in front of you.
As my friend and business partner in the Find Your Calling program Martha Beck teaches in her book Finding Your Way In A Wild New World, a more effective way to bring a dream into form is to feel for what wants to happen in the collective consciousness, in service to the highest good, then surrender any attachment to it while moving faithfully in the direction of your joy.
In other words, the feminine way of operating is unlikely to succeed if what you desire is purely materialistic, focused solely on your personal gain, or attached to desires like fame, power, or adulation. Not to say there’s anything wrong with desiring those things - there’s not. But when you move in the direction of the highest good for all, while following your joy and trusting completely in the Universe’s desire to help you achieve those desires, you’d be surprised how many material rewards and personal gains come flooding your way.