I’m sitting on the beach, surrounded by rose quartz and citrine crystals, the scent of lavender oil wafting up from my wrists. Seated across from me is Jessie De Lowe, a yoga instructor, art therapist, wellness blogger, and newly minted manifestation guide.
Over the sound of waves crashing, I’m regaling her with my current frustrations—mostly having to do with love and money. She asks me a question so seemingly random that it stops me mid-rant: “What brings you a sense of fulfillment and joy and love for yourself?” As I begin to describe how inspired and confident I feel when it comes to my job, I instantly get the connection De Lowe wants me to make: If I approached my budget and my Bumble app with the same high-vibe energy that I feel when I’m writing and reporting, would those aspects of my life be as successful as my career? Hello, a-ha moment.
That’s the point of this manifestation session—to figure out what’s holding me back from my dream life, and how I can use certain spiritual tools to actually make it a reality. (Yes, it’s kind of like life coaching, but with a heavy emphasis on the law of attraction: The controversial idea that by deeply feeling into what you want and raising your energetic vibration, you can magnetically draw good people and situations toward you.)
It’s kind of like life coaching, but with a heavy emphasis on the law of attraction.
De Lowe isn’t the only one helping a fresh generation of seekers navigate these classic new-age ideas, popularized decades ago by the likes of Marianne Williamson, Esther and Jerry Hicks, and The Secret author Rhonda Byrne. Type “manifestation coach” into Google and page after page of practitioners comes up, all of whom promise to help clients call in whatever they want from the universe.
Based on testimonials alone, there are plenty of manifestation coaches who do seem to get some pretty impressive results—cushy job offers, soulmates, apartments with a view. And with the self-care movement in full swing, it’s no surprise that this kind of assisted self-inquiry is so in demand right now. Yet it’s a totally unregulated field, which begs a few questions: How do you know that the “coach” you’re seeing is legit? Can’t you get the same results from reading a book? And really, how many woo-woo wellness pros do we actually need on speed dial?
Keep reading for more on the new world of manifestation coaches.
What does a manifestation coach do, exactly?
Unlike health coaching or life coaching, there’s no school or certification board for manifestation coaches. That means every practitioner approaches their work a little bit differently, based on their own past experiences and training.
The one thing they do have in common? Among the guides I spoke with, each one has been extremely good at creating amazing things in her own life. (And eventually, when enough people start asking how you did it, you know you’ve got a business idea.)
De Lowe’s process focuses on the energetics of manifesting. When she meets with clients one-on-one (for $275 a session, mainly over Skype), she asks them to conjure up what their ideal day would feel like, and then shows them how to cultivate those feelings in their everyday lives. “My sessions involve meditation, visualization, and energy work,” says DeLowe, who you may recognize as one of the co-founders of How You Glow. “It’s like a more holistic version of life coaching. I’m getting people to take a deep, deep look at where their patterns and thought processes come from, and how that affects [the vibe] they’re putting out into the world.”
Lacy Phillips, a former holistic chef and founder of digital wellness platform Free & Native, started billing herself as a manifestation advisor three years ago. (Clearly, she was on to something—her calendar for $450 private sessions is now fully booked through September.) More recently, she launched a series of on-demand video courses, ranging from $68 to $295, focusing on different aspects of manifesting. “My process is super different; it’s a beautiful combination of neuroscience meets psychology,” she says.
Through a series of journaling prompts and hypnotic channeled meditations, which Phillips calls “deep imaginings,” clients work through their limiting beliefs on a subconscious level. (I’ve been making my way through her “Unblocked: Reparent” course, and I’ve found it to be incredibly powerful.) “A big mission of mine is to debunk so many of these woo-woo superstitions, like if you think negatively, you’ll attract negative things,” she adds. “Negativity is our road map, and we have to welcome it—it means we picked up rejection or shame somewhere that we have to go unlock.”
And for those who prefer a super-structured approach with lots of interaction, former filmmaker Eve Shpak created The Manifest University, which currently offers six-month, $15,000 private coaching packages and 12-hour live forums for a fraction of that cost. Soon, she’ll be launching corporate workshops, half-day group sessions over Skype, and downloadable manifesting road-maps for under $10. “We identify every one of your patterns, and then we dive hard-core into the laws of manifestation and whether you’re using them correctly,” says Shpak of her signature process, which she says she picked up from her “master manifestor” parents. “I give people a system.”
Is a manifestation coach right for you?
Of course, if you’re working through serious trauma or mental illness, you should always seek help from a licensed therapist or other health professional. But if you simply have something specific you want to bring into your life—like a perfect partner, a new business, or a bump in your bank account—manifestation coaches say they can help get you there faster than you could alone.
So why not just read a book on manifesting? Part of it has to do with the power of dialogue, says De Lowe. “Having [a guide] who can reflect and validate and explore your thoughts can be a catalyst for a lot of change,” she points out, noting that her therapist background does come in handy during her sessions. “Just saying something out loud can reveal so much to you.”
Shpak adds she’s been so successful precisely because the usual tools aren’t always effective or results-driven. “When people come to me, they’re at their wits’ end,” she proclaims. “They’ve had 20 years of therapy and read every single self-help book, but they don’t know how to apply all of that information.” A coach, on the other hand, can distill it all down in a way that’s specific to you, checking in along the way to help you get through any roadblocks.
How do I know that my manifestation guide is the real deal?
As for the question of whether to choose a manifestation guide over a life coach, an energy healer, a shaman, or any other wellness practitioner, it’s a totally personal decision. Of course, testimonials are one thing that should influence your choice. “I always tell people, whatever you’re doing, look for results,” says Phillips.
Yet it’s also important to follow one of the golden rules of manifesting: listen to your gut. “Like attracts like, and I think energetically you’re drawn to what you want,” says De Lowe. “It doesn’t hurt to follow that instinct. If you’re intrigued by someone and you want to talk to them, go for it.”
And don’t automatically think that just because many manifestation coaches seem to fit a certain mold—usually white, female, and relatively well-off—that these practices only work for people like them, stresses Phillips. “The biggest message I have is that anyone can manifest, from any walk of life,” she says. “I come from nothing. I had a young alcoholic mother who raised me, I had no money, I grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. Your dreams are valid and you can absolutely have them if you’re able to get out of the story you’ve been told your whole life.” (That said, manifestation coaching doesn’t come cheap— at $68, even Phillips’ most affordable video courses would still be considered out of reach for many.)
As someone who enjoys a fair amount of privilege myself, I realize that I do have a built-in advantage when it comes to creating my own destiny. But I still wasn’t prepared for what happened after my session with DeLowe. I told her that I wanted to travel more this year, and less than 24 hours later, an opportunity dropped into my inbox to do just that.
Would I have received that opportunity anyway? Probably. Would I have noticed it among 900+ other unread emails if I hadn’t just been envisioning myself on a white sand beach? Maybe not.
So perhaps the magic of this kind of work is that it isn’t magic at all. It simply teaches you to dream bigger, opens your eyes to possibilities you wouldn’t normally recognize, and empowers you to take action. Like Phillips says: “You don’t need a crystal, a vision board, or a new moon to manifest. You just need you.” And maybe a trusted advisor to help you along the way.
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