This is the story of how I manifested the love of my life. I've shared parts of this story in a few podcast interviews before. While I share the ritual I created I think a little background story is helpful to see how everything came together so I’ll explain the ritual, motivation and outcome in one go.
On January 8th 2015 my first name change got approved and as my legal name changed everything seemed to shift around and inside me. While the lead up to this name change had been intense and I was ready to radically change my life, I didn't realize just how far reaching the waves of change would take me.
One of the first impulses I had in the days after the name change was to sit with the feeling of love and to clarify for myself what love is, how it feels, tastes, sounds, smells and how it unfolds inside of me. This part is the core of the ritual.
You might already feel like this is silly, or too easy. Think that of course you know what love is and how it feels. I would invite you to always get curious when your mind dismisses something in connection with manifestation as too easy or basic. Manifestation is not complex math or quantum leaping. It is basic, grounded and practical. If it feels intangible you have either complicated it or missed out on getting to the core of why you want to manifest something in the first place.
At the time I was living and studying in New York and while I had crushes and flings a few times over the last decade, long term relationships had been far from my mind. I was very content on my own and could tell that part of me was firmly in a kind of dormant, waiting space - not open to love in my life.
I found myself in front of a display of 7-day candles in my local grocery store in Queens. There were candles of every color, some solid, others different layers of colored wax, a row of ones wrapped with saints and scripture quotes. I felt the impulse to buy around half a dozen candles in different colors - mostly solidly white, pink and green and take them home. When I got home I placed them on my altar, which was just a simple side table I had found on the sidewalk, cleaned up and decorated with flowers, crystals and sage. The week before I had bought chalk pens on a whim and that night I sat down with the first white candle and a pink chalk pen.
For a while I just sat and thought of love. I thought about that heart expanding feeling of tenderness I had when I was around my best friends. The fierce protectiveness I felt when my friend's parents would belittle them. The safety of long enveloping hugs. I had learned from my new American friends that saying I love you is not something you have to save for special occasions or grand gestures and I thought about the freedom I felt being more expressive with my declarations of care. I thought about how my body reacted to really personal and kind compliments. Of being fully in the present moment with someone else and trusting them not to leave me there. I thought about what it feels like to blush when you’re keeping eye contact with someone you’re attracted to. I thought about how my body still cried every time I slowed down and thought of my mom now two years after she passed on. How the more we love the more our heart cracks open when death takes our loved ones from us. That my tears when I thought of my mom kept me honest about the depth of love I could feel.
When I went deeper I thought of the crushing words of dismissal or lack of physical care from my last long term boyfriend and I realized that I could not really clarify what love is without first looking at all the ways my love and heart had been rejected. The times I had reached out and been cut down. I think we at times are very hard on our own heart and the people we love. We treat love like it can and should endure subtle or clear forms of abuse, dysfunction and in the name of love we ignore our own boundaries and needs. Not all that is done in the name of love feels true and right.
I sat with the candle in my hands and love in my heart and listed for myself all the things that love is not: it is not being left behind, laughed at or ridiculed by your partner. It is not being called too much, too sensitive, expressive, stupid, emotional, cold, ambitious, spoiled, challenging or moody. It is not name calling. Love is not feeling unsafe or like you’re walking on eggshells. Love is not fear, not dangerous and shouldn’t feel like having to be hyper aware of other people’s moods. Love is not a lack of touch, time, thought, worth and recognition. Love is not being reduced to a caretaker without your consent. Love is not meant to be tested just for the sake of not being bored. Love is not sacrifice or martyrdom. Love is not going hungry or lonely for the sake of others being full and satisfied. Love is not always being in the motion of fulfilling and being able to anticipate your partner's every need. Love is not being ignored or feeling disconnected to your body. Love is not being used for others' pleasure. Love is not having to deserve and work tirelessly to be worthy of attention. Love is not deception, lies or manipulation. Love is not thinking you know better than someone else and acting on their behalf. Love is not limited, restrictive or conditional. Love does not mean you have to break, cry or show weakness before you get help. You don’t have to fight, yell or break things to show you care for another. Love does not mean you always agree with others. Love is not hiding who and what you are, not dressing down or not playing down your intelligence, desires or dreams. Love is not being the scapegoat, taking the blame or excusing abhorrent behavior. Love is not getting only one chance at it. Love is not being someone else's trophy. Love is not only available if you’re skinny, young and talented. Love does not change with the numbers on a scale. Love is not a narrow path or perfectionism. Love is not dependent on having to stay the same or always evolve. Love is not feeling shame or guilt for simply existing. Love does not need you to keep being interesting and mysterious. Love is not only being interested in the beginning of things. Love is not jealous or envious. Love is not transactional yet it is also not a one way street.
You can probably tell that my list could go on and on. This is only part of it!
After I had taken inventory of all the ways I had felt unloved I honed on the core of each memory or thought pattern and about what the opposite would feel like. Some of them were easy and so I started writing on the candle while flipping each sentence, writing full sentences or just the one word I wanted to experience. I sat fully with love and let it fill me. Sometimes the memories would lead me to the same words and I simply wrote them multiple times. I kept saying ‘love is…’ and filled in the words.
The first candle had these words: Love is safe, warm, being held, expansive, fun, silly, soft, delicious, love, tender, curious, eternal, honest, trust, safety, lucky, feeling seen, understood, honored, invited, cheered on, celebrated, nurtured, happy, joy, passionate, expressive, solid, dependable, slow and steady, being believed in, truthful, earnest, immediate, communication, kindness, clear boundaries, respect, appreciated, listening, sharing, laughter, consensual, cared for, precious, rare, open, home, unlocked, juicy, enjoying silence together, fitting, flow, reaching out and being met.
For each word I sat and let the true meaning fill me. If I didn’t immediately know the right word or could feel it I just sat and tasted the emotion until something crystallized. With some words this took a long time and felt uncomfortable. I realized that even though I could find the word and emotion some of them were things I had never felt in a romantic relationship. For example I hadn’t felt truly safe in any of my previous relationships. When the glass around the candle was filled with words I lit the candle and let it burn for the days it took to burn all the way down. When the candle had burned out I wiped off the chalk pen writing and recycled the glass. Then I picked the next candle and repeated the process again. This went on for a while where every two to three days I sat with love, quietly feeling intro what love is to me, saying it out loud, writing it out on the candle and letting it burn. During this time it was the only candle I had burning on my altar and if I had to leave my house I placed it in a bigger fireproof container with water at the bottom just in case the glass would break.
I cannot tell you how long this process took but I remember that within the next few weeks I felt myself soften and create space inside and around me. I took physical actions like buying extra bedding and pillows for my bed to make it feel safer and more inviting. I put down new boundaries with people who liked to meet up just to gossip, share misery and judge. As I was attending acting school I tried working with love as a motivation for my acting choices. I realized one of the things that held me back in my work was that it felt physically painful for me to be completely present in a moment with an acting partner who wasn't. I cleaned out and de-cluttered things that I had kept from old lovers and crushes. I looked at how being in a relationship had been modeled for me by my parents, family, friends, movies and books. I realized that I didn’t want almost any of those relationships for myself. I bought myself flowers and took myself on self-love dates. I let other people take care of me and I kept track of all the ways I was being appreciated for being me.
Within the next month I started dating someone who was so open, honest, straightforward, funny and caring that I had a hard time allowing it. He seemed not only incapable of lying or manipulating me but also like it would never occur to him to play any games at all. I felt my old patterns wanting to push him away. To put up walls and create drama. I had to work on not reacting to these old impulses. I sat with love some more. I recognized my list had become a real person and that love through him was reaching out to me. One night he came over and as I was lying in his arms I felt the last tie to an old story of needing too much physical touch and safety slip away. I let my story of love be rewritten. Last September we celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary and he still is all the things I wrote on that very first candle.
If you are looking for love, love is looking for you. Never think you are alone, the only one searching or doing the work. Your next love is on its way, maybe they have been on their way for a while and are just about to reach you. Maybe you just need to arrive in your own love first. This ritual will help you heal and make space for love inside and around you. It will not fix you or make you worthy. You are already whole and deserving.
I don’t think any of us are broken just as I don’t think there was anything wrong with me before I went through my name change or decided to sit with love for a while. I do think that many of us have trauma, stories of hurt that we think are unchangeable, patterns of dysfunction that are hard to unravel. To heal we have to be honest, willing to sit through the uncomfortable, take inventory and decide to do things differently.
When you do this ritual your words and memories will be tied intricately to your upbringing, past relationships, and your base numbers. I found that a lot of my dysfunctional stories were tied to the caretaker patterns of the 6 - my second base number. If you want to learn about your own base numbers read A Little Bit of Numerology.
What you need to create your own ritual:
Seven plain 7-day candles* or seven unscented block candles in candle holders.
Markers that can write on the glass, like these or just a pen and paper.
A fireproof bowl or a bowl .
A place to keep the candle with no draft, ample ventilation and no pets or kids that could get too close. If you can place it on an altar all the better.
Burn one candle at a time replacing it when it's burned down and rewriting the ‘what is love…’ list on the glass. Maybe the list of words will change over time. Some days the list will flow quickly through you and other days take longer. Some days you will feel into and write the same few words over and over again.
If you don’t want to keep the candle burning continuously you can put it out when you go to sleep or leave your home. Relight it as soon as you can. Every time you light the candle, read the writing on the glass.
If you’re using block candles instead of 7 day candles, write out your list on a piece of paper and place it under the candle holder.
You can use this ritual no matter if you’re in a relationship, on the way out of one, heartbroken or looking for love. You can use it to release old lovers and love stories. It will clarify love and make it easier to articulate how you’d like to be loved to yourself and all the people in your life.
*I recommend solid white, pink and green colored 7 day candles. White is universally clearing. Green and pink are connected to our heart chakra. Red could be used but for me it stirred a bit too much anger, if it feels right for you - go for it. Blue can help your voice and throat open so if your heart have been silenced play around with blue. Purple and indigo are connected to our higher chakras so if you feel unloved by or unconnected to your higher power you could work with those colors later.
While I think it’s important to have boundaries, standards and be able to visualize your desires I think it’s a complete waste of time to try to manifest by physical attributes, age ranges, professions, ethnicity or a purely visual representation first when it comes to love. Focus on the feeling, not the surface. Better yet, focus only on yourself and your connection to love and trust that the right person is on their way.
Do you need to follow the ritual faithfully? No, please adjust the ritual in any way you want. Repetition is your friend. You could use EFT and tap your way through both the ‘love is not…’ and ‘love is…’ list with great success and release. The more you do it the deeper you can go. More memories, stories, patterns and aha's might happen. You might find forgiveness for some of the people who hurt your heart. You might have to forgive yourself for how you have made it hard for love to flow in your life.
Why do the ritual at all and not just sit and meditate on love? Rituals create space for expansion and transformation. Using rituals that have physical objects, words and actions involved create anchors for the new reality we want to manifest. By repeatedly seeing the candle burn, sitting with love and going deeper into your own story you keep the focus on a new outcome. Even on days where you might not feel like it, the candle will remind you of the work you’re doing.
Professional Numerologist + Writer
PS: Do you know someone who is working on manifesting more love and self love in their life? Share this post with them!