Secrets of Magic 12: Frame and focus

One of the secrets to creating powerful affirmations is to specify the result that we want and leave open the specifics of how the affirmation will manifest.

Suppose you want a new job. You look in the paper and find a job that you think is exactly right. You make an affirmation, “I get the job.” You phone for an appointment, send in a resume, interview for the job, and then discover that someone else got the position. How disappointing! Why didn’t the affirmation work? The affirmation narrowly specified the way to get the result, not the result itself, so the affirmation didn’t have scope to manifest.

It is also possible to make an affirmation that is too general. The affirmation “I own my own house” vastly expands the scope of possible houses to own. However, it is so general that the house we end up with may not fit all of our needs.

The secret is to narrow down the characteristics of the result we want without specifying exactly how the result is to happen. “I own my own house with shade in a quiet neighborhood with a mortgage I can afford” creates the shape of our dream house without limiting the way the house will manifest for us.

For example, to find a new job, we can list the qualities we are looking for in a new position.

  • A short commute
  • On a bus line
  • A chance for promotion
  • More money than I’m making now
  • Enough money to pay my expenses
  • A manager who appreciates me
  • Flexible hours

Once we have the frame, we can work to focus the affirmation on the result that we want. Often we fix on one specific thing that we think will improve our lives. If only I weighed ten pounds less, I would be more attractive. If only I had finished college, I could find a better job. If only I won the lottery, I could do anything I want.

Losing ten pounds and finishing college are worthwhile goals we can manifest. But is that really what we want? If our goal is to be more attractive, instead of making an affirmation to lose weight, we can create the affirmation to generate the actual results we are working to manifest. “I am attractive. People around me tell me how nice I look.” Then we can think about many ways to improve our appearance: dyeing our hair, buying new clothes, even standing up straighter and walking more confidently.

Lack of focus is why affirmations like “I win the lottery” almost never work. It is actually a method masquerading as a result. We probably don’t want to win the lottery with all our hearts. We want what winning the lottery will get us. It is a means to achieve our goals. We can refocus this affirmation by thinking about the things we would do if we won the lottery, and making affirmations to achieve those results.


I create affirmations to achieve the results I want.

Practice: Creating focused affirmations

Is there an area of your life you would like to make better? Do you want a house, a job, a car, a new friendship? Create an affirmation to manifest that result. To create the affirmation, list the characteristics you want that result to have. For example, if you want a car, here are some questions you might consider:

Can you afford a car payment? How much? If not, do you need to own the car outright?
What do you want the car to do? Are you commuting to work, or driving the kids to their activities, or just taking the occasional trip out of town?
Is it more important for you to drive a safe car, or a fast car, or a roomy one?

Answering these questions helps you craft the affirmation. Different answers to the same question result in different affirmations. Here are some examples:

  • I have a fast sporty car, with payments I can afford, that gets great gas mileage for my commute.
  • I own a roomy car to drive to the beach.
  • My car has the highest safety record to keep my kids safe as I drive them around town.

Secrets of Magic 11: Act as if

Affirmations often make statements about things we want to happen in the future. Even though the events haven’t happened yet, we frame them in the present tense, as if they have already happened. Instead of saying, “I become the weight that is most healthy for me,” we say, “I am the weight that is most healthy for me.” If we frame the affirmation in the future, we put ourselves in the place of going in a direction but never arriving. Saying that the event has already happened creates the energy in the universe that manifests our goal.

This secret works for all the magic we create. Suppose we make the affirmation, “I acquire the money I need to buy a plane ticket to London.” Now we act as if we have the money, by scheduling our vacation, researching plane flights, and buying a London guidebook.

This secret also works for every magical skill we learn. Suppose we make the affirmation, “Writing in my journal is easy and fun.” For some of us that may be immediately true. For others it might feel almost like a lie the first time we say it. We might have unpleasant memories of journal writing assignments from school. Journal writing might feel like a chore at first. To act as if, we make the affirmation, and then pick up our journal and start writing, just as if we were excited and happy to be making journal entries. Over time the emotion we are pretending becomes more and more real. The skill we are practicing becomes easier and easier. Faster than we thought possible, the affirmation becomes a reality.


I can do anything I want to do.

Practice: Planning the steps
Reread the journal entry you made to answer the question, “If I could do anything I want, the thing I would do is…” If you have been answering that question every day as you write in your journal, pick one of the answers to work with in this practice.

Now think about the steps needed to make that thing happen in your life. For example, you made the affirmation, “I take a trip to London.” You have imagined the future and worked through any objections you have to the trip. You acted as if by buying a guidebook and researching the sights you want to see.

What specific steps do you need to take to make the trip happen? You might need to: apply for a passport, request your vacation days, and pick an airline. Each of these steps is an opportunity for an affirmation.

  • “My passport application is processed quickly and my passport arrives on time.”
  • “My employer approves my vacation request.”
  • “I find exactly the right airline with a fare I can afford.”
  • Each small step takes us toward achieving our goal.

Secrets of Magic 10: Affirm the positive

Another way to say this is, don’t use negatives! Affirmations are one of the most powerful magical tools in existence. Every magic spell or ritual has a statement directing the magical energy to a particular end. Although it is helpful to use tools to achieve a magical result, the root of any magical act is the affirmation. If the affirmation is clear, and we want the result of that affirmation with all our hearts, the affirmation itself is all we actually need to accomplish the result.

Affirmations work by creating a clear image, feeling, and statement about what it is that we want. We use all three senses, sight, feeling, and sound. For example, when we say, “I fly to London,” we visualize ourselves getting on a plane, feel the excitement as we know we are heading to a great city, and firmly announce our intentions to the universe.

Negatives don’t work well in affirmations because they actually invoke the thing that we are trying to avoid. First, we have to make the image or have the feeling, then we try to erase that. For example, if we don’t want to walk home, and make an affirmation that says “I do not walk home,” we first make the image of walking down the street. If we say, “I am not afraid,” we first generate the emotion of fear. Then we have to figure out a way to erase the image or the feeling.

To create strong, successful affirmations, we figure out how to put what we want to say in a positive way. We say, “I take the bus home,” or, “I am filled with peace and courage.”

This secret of magic challenges us to think again in terms of what we want. Instead of saying, “I do not get sick,” creating a magical image of ourselves being unwell, we say, “I remain well,” creating a magical image of ongoing health.


My life is filled with positive energy.
Write this affirmation on a sticky note or 3×5 card and put it where you can see it every day. Repeat the affirmation every day for a week.

Practice: Reframing negative affirmations

In your journal, list negative statements that you give yourself. Leave lots of space between the statements so you can write beneath each one.

  • “I’ll never be able to visit London.”
  • “I’m so fat!”
  • “I’m never going to amount to anything.”

Underneath each of these, reframe them in positive terms.

  • “I fly to London.”
  • “I am exactly the weight that is most healthy for me.”
  • “I am worthy and accomplished.”

Secrets of Magic 9: Enlist your subconscious mind

The amazing human mind is the last great frontier. Western science has only been exploring this terrain for a little more than a century. There is much we still don’t understand about how the mind works. We do know that our beliefs powerfully affect what happens in our lives.

Consciousness is a tiny fraction of our total mind. We most commonly use the word “subconscious” to describe the entire territory of our minds outside consciousness. The word has a lot of limitations which mislead us about the true state of the mind. When we say “subconscious” we make a mental image that puts consciousness above and the rest of the mind below:



The image implies that the rest of our mind is younger, stupider, weaker than consciousness, and that consciousness is in control of our minds. In fact we know that the “sub”-conscious mind controls almost all our actions and responses. That’s a good thing too! If we had to consciously remember how to walk, breathe, read, or drive, we would soon be paralyzed.

The word “subconscious” also leads us to believe that there are two parts to the mind–the conscious part, and the subconscious part. That simple model works to point out to us that consciousness isn’t the whole mind, but it isn’t very descriptive of what actually happens with the rest of our minds.

Psychological disciplines have developed many metaphors to describe our total minds. These metaphors may change within a discipline over time. Each of them helps us to understand ourselves in a slightly different way.

One way to think of our total mind is as a machine which can be programmed. We might talk about the rest of our minds as being composed of many parts, like people, who get together in a room to talk. Or we might think about the whole mind as a vast dark library, with consciousness being a flashlight which briefly illuminates one book among all the stacks.

Our mind contains all our memories, all our experiences, all our skills. It is a storehouse of all the messages we learned as children, and the messages we continue to receive every day, about ourselves and our world. Our mind is shaped by the expectations and customs of our families. We absorb the prejudices and beliefs of the culture in which we live. In contrast, consciousness can keep about seven (plus or minus two) things in view at any one time. It is as if our total mind contains the entire phone book, while consciousness holds onto one phone number!

As we learn, we pay conscious attention to what we are learning. When we first started to read, we memorized the letters, then learned to put them together in sounded-out words. Now reading is completely automatic. We no longer recognize individual letters as we read. However, our mind is still processing that information. All our automatic actions are being performed by other parts of our minds.

Consciousness is the manual override of the mind. We use our consciousness to acquire information and skills which become automatic, that is, are accessed by other parts of our minds. We can also use consciousness to screen out false or harmful ideas.

What we mean when we say that we must know what we want and want it with all our hearts is that the conscious mind and the rest of our mind must agree that this is an outcome that will happen. Sometimes consciousness wants something that other parts of us reject as being impossible or bad for us. Sometimes old programming in other parts of our mind that no longer helps us limits us from achieving our dreams.

Magic teaches us to bring consciousness into dialogue with the rest of the mind. We can approach our total minds with conscious respect and gratitude for how well our minds help us function in the world. We enter into a partnership to override negative programming and overcome limitations. We can also tap into the sources of deep wisdom to help consciousness to better understand what to pay attention to in our lives.


I harness the power of my total mind.

Write this affirmation on a sticky note or 3×5 card and put it where you can see it every day. Repeat the affirmation every day for a week.

Practice: Reinforce positive affirmations
Bring out the 3×5 cards which contain your affirmations. If you’ve been reading the cards and saying them to yourself every day you should have them memorized by now!

Here is a simple exercise to reinforce the positive affect of the affirmations.

  1. Sit comfortably in a chair. Take a few deep breaths. Close your eyes. Count backwards from five to one.
  2. Repeat your affirmations silently to yourself.
  3. Count from one to five and open your eyes.

The first time you do this, you might feel a great relaxation and a sense of well being. You might be puzzled and wonder if you have done the exercise correctly. You might fall asleep! All these responses are normal and well within the range of expected results. Just breathe deeply, close your eyes, count, and say the affirmations. Over time you will come to recognize the sense of relaxation and calm that lets you know you have slowed down your mind.

Practice: Rewrite negative programming
Just as before, sit quietly, close your eyes and count from five to one.

Imagine a room filled with books and recordings. These are the old messages you have received that limit you in your life. Take a moment to read or listen to one of these. You might hear the voice of a parent saying “You’ll never amount to anything!” A schoolteacher might tell you, “Boys don’t cry” or “girls don’t play sports.” You may tune into the internal voice saying “I’m lazy, I can’t succeed, nothing will ever work out.” Take these negative messages off the shelves and stack them by the door.

Now see yourself picking them up and toss them. You might throw them out the window. You can drop them into a chute that leads to a basement incinerator. You can toss them into a river, or you can put them in a rocket to shoot out into space! Move the negative messages out of your life.

Secrets of Magic 8: Want it with all your heart

The first step in getting what we want is to figure out what that is. In Secret 7 we thought about dreams to explore: taking a trip, going back to school, starting a business. The next step is to identify the obstacles between us and what we plan to do.

Some obstacles to achieving what we want are obvious and external. To jump on a plane to a distant city, we need to have the money for the fare. To go back to school we need to organize the time and pay for the classes. If we’re going into business, we’ll need to make a business plan and then secure the funding from a bank or people we know or borrow against our own savings. If we have children or other dependents we need to include them in our plans. Will they come on the trip, is there child care at the school, can they be involved in the business?

Some obstacles are less obvious. We might be reluctant to stay away from home overnight. We might be afraid to try to navigate in a place where English is not the first language. Or we may just be unable to decide what city we want to visit! Going back to school means figuring out our major and what we’re going to do with it. What kind of business appeals to us and what would we be good at doing?

We can tackle any of the external obstacles, by taking each problem in turn and solving it, and by using magic to overcome the more difficult problems. First, though, we have to be sure this is the thing we really want. Our own ambivalence will torpedo any magic we do to achieve a specific result. Thinking about steps we need to take to achieve what we want will uncover the reservations we may have about doing that one thing. We might figure out that the internal objection is too strong to overcome. If we don’t like spending the night away from home, we may decide to read about travel rather than traveling ourselves. Maybe we’ll wait to go back to school until the kids are older. We might continue to save money to buy a business later.

We can also figure out ways to do the thing we want to do that addresses our concerns. If we’re worried about traveling to a place where English is a second language, we can pick a destination, like London, where English is the language of the city. A life coach can help us decide what path our schooling will take. We can talk to people who own businesses like the one we are considering to ask them how they got their start.

Once we have thought through the steps we need to take, we have a plan that we can put into action in our lives. Let’s say we have obtained the money and the child care, and we’ve settled on London as our destination. We have arranged for our passports. We can imagine ourselves buying a plane ticket, boarding the plane, and getting off in a new city. We have thought through our concerns, so that imagining going to London fills us with excitement. Going back to school means making a schedule to make sure we get to class on time and everything else in our lives gets done. We can decide on a business name and logo and use these in our affirmations and visualizations.

Now the only thing left to do is take the plunge! Book the tickets, sign up for the class, sign the bill of sale for the business.


I know what I want and I want it with all my heart.

Write this affirmation on a sticky note or 3×5 card and put it where you can see it every day. Repeat the affirmation every day for a week.

Practice: Imagining the future
Write a journal entry to answer the question, “If I could do anything I want, the one thing I would do right now is…” (If you have already made a journal entry to answer that question, re-read your answer).

Imagine yourself doing that thing. See yourself boarding the plane and getting off in the new city, or sitting in the classroom, or opening the door on your first day of busienss.

If you find you have many objections to doing that thing, evaluate where those objections are coming from. Do you see many external obstacles? List them. Do you worry about what people who care about you will think if you get what you want? List those fears. Have you had second thoughts about what you want? Exploring these may help you refine what you want to make it easier to do, or may help you decide that what you actually want is something else altogether.

Once you know what you want, and know that you want it with all your heart, you know what direction to point your magic.

Secrets of Magic 7: Ask for what you want

With magic we can accomplish anything we want. We already know that we always have access to the information we need to do the magic we want to do. The secret of magic is to figure out what it is we want to use the magic to accomplish. Once the goal is clear, almost all the work is already done.

If you could do anything you want you—if you had all the money in the world, all your time was free, and you had no obligations to anyone else—what one thing would you want to do right now?

It may be that the answer to that question is immediately apparent. You might want to pay off debts, get a new job, or recover from an injury or illness. Anything that threatens our basic health or security is an immediate need.

It may be that the question reminds you of a dream you have put aside. You might think about jumping on a plane to a distant city, or going back to school, or starting your own business.

It may be that you don’t have an immediate answer to that question. We all live with the expectations of our families, our employers, our friends. We are used to dealing with necessity rather than dreaming about possibilities. This is the time to dare to dream. Let your mind wander. What adventures would you have if you could do anything you want to do?


I know what I want.

Write this affirmation on a sticky note or 3×5 card and put it where you can see it every day. Repeat the affirmation every day for a week.

Practice: What I want
Write a journal entry to answer the question, “If I could do anything I want, the one thing I would do right now is…”

This is a good question to add to your daily journal entry. You don’t have to spend a lot of time thinking about the question, just record the first answer that pops into your mind.

Secret of Magic 6: Trust yourself

There are many magical paths. Some of them are easy to walk on our own. Others require guidance from more experienced practitioners.

No matter what magical path you choose, and however knowledgeable your advisor is, you are always the person who knows best what you need to do. You know what is working well for you and what isn’t working out.

That doesn’t mean that we have nothing to learn, or that we can’t learn from another person. A particular teacher may ask us to take something on faith for a period of time to try out a new skill or to push beyond our comfort zone. It does mean that if someone asks us to do something that violates our ethical standards, or asks us to give them more than we are willing to pay for our lessons, we can and should say no to them. Magical teaching doesn’t have to be painful or expensive – it should be interesting and fun.

If your magical instructor isn’t providing you with more information than you had when you started, leave! Find another teacher. If the book you are reading doesn’t seem to help you, put it down!

Most importantly, listen to the inner voice pointing you in a particular direction. The best gift we can give ourselves is to cultivate our own intuition and tap into the wellsprings of wisdom in all of us.


I am my own best teacher.

Write this affirmation on a sticky note or 3×5 card and put it where you can see it every day. Repeat the affirmation every day for a week.

Practice: My teachers

For your next journal entry think about your favorite teacher. This can be a teacher from school or college, a private tutor, or someone giving informal classes through a college extension, bookstore, or even in their home. What did you learn from that person? Was that person a good teacher for you? What techniques did they use, and how did they approach their students? Write a list of the actions and characteristics that they used in teaching you.

Now think about your least favorite teacher. What did you learn from that person? Did you learn as much as you did from your favorite teacher? What techniques and approaches did they use? Write a list of the actions and characteristics that person used in teaching you.

We can learn from teachers we don’t like. Was your favorite teacher your best teacher? Most of us learn most comfortably from instructors whose teaching style matches our learning style. A teacher who works well with one student may not be the best teacher for another.

These journal entries can start you thinking about how to evaluate the people who teach you to make sure they are right for you.

Secret of Magic 5: Accept Guidance

Magic is composed of three things:

  • The power of the universe
  • The knowledge of how to access it
  • The skill to use it

The power of the universe is available to everyone all the time. The skill to use it comes with our magical practices. But how do we get the knowledge of how to access it?

There are many forms of information available to us today. There are books, classes, teachers, and groups. How can we tell which of these is right for us?

Each of us learns differently. Some of us prefer to read about a subject and learn on our own. Others of us need to attend a class with a lot of people. Or we might learn best in one-on-one sessions with a coach or mentor.

There are many ways we can assimilate new knowledge and skills. We might prefer to sit and listen to someone talk about the subject. We might want someone to demonstrate a skill to us so that we can watch it. Or we might want to jump right in and practice the skills ourselves. Some or all of these might work for us with different subjects and at different moments in our lives.

Guidance doesn’t have to be formal. The power of synchronicity brings us the information we need at the moment we can accept it. Someone might say something to us that suddenly makes an idea clear to us.

There are more sources of guidance than books or the people around us. We may find ourselves in contact with other beings—spirit guides, angels, deities, our Higher Self, whatever words we use to describe the wisdom of the universe.

Once we accept magic into our lives, we discover that the guidance we need has always been around us, and we can begin to tap into that guidance to learn what we need to know.


I find the guidance I need when I need it.

Write this affirmation on a sticky note or 3×5 card and put it where you can see it every day. Repeat the affirmation every day for a week.

Practice: How I learn

Think about the ways you have learned in the past that have worked for you. Do you prefer to read about a subject, to take a class, or to have a private lesson with a teacher?

When you have taken classes or lessons, what learning style has worked best for you? Do you prefer to listen to a lecture, watch a demonstration, or practice a skill while your teacher is nearby to coach you?

When you have thought about the times you have successfully learned something, write a journal entry describing your learning style. This can help you figure out your best path to learn about magic.

Secrets of Magic 4: Write it down

Keeping a journal is one of the easiest and most enjoyable secrets of magic to learn. Journals help us keep track of the magic we are doing, explore our feelings, mine our experiences for insights, and reach silent and hidden parts of ourselves. Over time journals allow us to trace our magical development and detect patterns in our lives. Journals can help us set magical goals and figure out what we really want.

There are many ways to keep a journal. Some people prefer to write with pen on paper. Some people like beautiful bound books that draw them in to write with their sheer beauty. Others prefer inexpensive steno books and scratchpads that they can use up quickly. Still others prefer to keep their journals electronically, typing them directly into a file. Some people create web blogs to share with the world, while others keep their journals strictly private. The best journal for you is the one that will get you to write in it!

We can use our journal to record the affirmations we make. Writing our affirmations helps us to get clearer on what we want them to say. Seeing the words on the page or screen makes the affirmation more real in our lives.


I write in my journal every day.

Practice: Keeping a journal

Write a journal entry every day this week. It can be as little as one line or fill many pages. It can be about anything at all. If you’re stuck for how to start, try answering some or all of these questions. The answers to these questions will help you make affirmations. Some of the answers will also provide material for your study of the elements in your life.

Journal questions

  • Date: What day and date is it? Include the year.
  • Place: Where are you? At home, at a coffee shop, at school?
  • Weather: What is the weather like today?
  • Body/Earth: How is your body feeling? Are you tired, hungry, cold, under the weather? Or are you well rested, well fed, warm, and healthy?
  • Feeling/Water: Without thinking about it, quickly write the first word that comes to mind to describe your emotional state.
  • Thinking/Air: What did you notice today you hadn’t seen before? Did you learn something new?
  • Passion/Fire: What interested you today? Did you encounter something that was exciting to you?

Secrets of Magic 3: Practice matters more than talent

All we have to do to begin to use magic is to decide to do it. It is also true that we become more skilled in creating magic over time and with practice. For example, to learn to visualize, we close our eyes and make images.

Each of us learns differently. Some things will come easier than others to every one of us. Some people visualize easily on the first try, others of us must do visualization practices over and over until we can hold images in our minds, and some of us insist we can’t visualize at all.

Some people believe that they don’t have to practice at all, because their natural talent will let them do magic without any special effort or thought on their parts. They may be able to achieve some results, but they may also be surprised at how hard it is to try to work with magic without any training or experience. Talent does exist, but it isn’t the most important factor in learning to use magic. The most talented musicians practice many hours of scales every day. In just the same way the most successful magicians practice magical skills every day.

Also, just because we learn one particular skill easily doesn’t mean that we do everything equally well. The person who visualizes on the first try might find it much harder to learn to feel magical energy. Lack of talent in one area is often compensated by talent in other areas.

No matter how much or how little magical talent we have, if we faithfully practice magic every day, we will get better at making magic.


I practice magic every day.

Write this affirmation on a sticky note or 3×5 card and put it where you can see it every day. Repeat the affirmation every day for a week.

Practice: Continue affirmations

So far we’ve learned three affirmations:

  • Magic is my birthright.
  • Magic happens in my life right now.
  • I practice magic every day.

Continue to repeat the affirmations. You can repeat all three each day, or just repeat the affirmations that you particularly liked.