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Apr 23, 2024 | Podcast

Dreaming and Manifesting for Sensitive Empaths Living in a Loud World

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About the episode:

Today I’m kicking off a series of episodes on the Prosperous Empath® Podcast where I will dig into some commonalities that empaths and HSPs experience in entrepreneurship and leadership. In my years of working with empaths from all walks of life, I’ve noticed that we often share similar struggles and obstacles that we need to overcome to thrive and prosper. In this solo episode, I’m talking about the power of manifestation and the process of reconnecting with your dreams, desires, and creativity. To tell the truth, I have a love/hate relationship with the word “manifestation” – even though I have manifested many things in my life and business. If there’s a logical part of you that resists the concept of manifestation, you’ll resonate with this episode! I’m sharing nuggets of wisdom on how to become intentional with your thoughts and beliefs as well as my favorite manifestation practices to try.


Topics discussed:

  • What manifestation is (and isn’t) and the idea that every result is the consequence of a previous thought and belief
  • Identifying self-abandonment and the vulnerable practice of reconnecting with your dreams and creativity
  • 8 manifestation practices that helped Catherine open her heart, trust her intuition, and start dreaming big again
  • Reconnecting with your inner capacity for joy, finding your embodiment practice, and co-conspiring with the universe to create an aligned life
  • The power of “acting as if” and embracing your skepticism to get out of your comfort zone and connect with the longings of your heart


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Click here for a raw, unedited transcript of this episode


Catherine A. Wood 00:00
Hello, hello, welcome back to the prosperous Empath cat here, some context on this upcoming series of solo episodes that I’m going to be releasing over the next coming weeks. First of all, I’m so excited to share these conversations with you. I have been wanting for a long time to record some episodes on some of the commonalities that I see we as empaths and sensitives experience in entrepreneurship and in leadership, some really common themes and obstacles that I noticed, both I and my clients have struggled with over the past decade, because I noticed that as empaths, we have some really similar struggles and obstacles that we need to overcome in order to truly thrive and prosper as empaths. So in this next series of conversations, I’m just gonna dig into some of these topics. Some of the common Coaching Questions and stories that I noticed just across the board are really familiar, as well as some of the real practices and resources that I noticed have made a huge difference both for myself, and for coaching. So some of the themes that I’m going to be exploring and digging into are the power of manifestation and reconnecting with our dreams so that we can really answer that clash, that lifelong question, what do you want? How we’re going to explore? How do we enroll ourselves in our dreams? And how do we enroll the people around us in our dreams? And then I think this is a particularly sticky one for us. Empaths. But how do we not get sidetracked by our emotions? How do we feel our feelings, process through them, and then reconnect with our commitments and our dreams that often expand a way beyond the comfort of our comfort zones. So with that, we’re going to dig into today’s topic, which is all about manifestation. And I have a disclaimer here. So I have a love hate relationship with the word manifestation because there’s something from my logical, economist trained background that has me really resist the concept of manifestation, which is a little odd, because I’ve actually manifested quite a few things in my professional and entrepreneurial journey. And if you’ve been here for a while and been tuning in for a while, you’ve likely heard me share about several of those manifestation experiences and topics before ranging from falling in love with my now husband, to Gosh, manifesting my ideal work schedule and lifestyle to manifesting programs to even manifesting this more recent move to Massachusetts after, gosh, a decade plus of living in Washington, DC, which was totally a dream come true for me. So, that being said, if manifestation feels a little off for you, if there’s some aspects of it that you resist, then stay tuned, because this episode is probably for you, as it has been for me. So with that, let’s start with a definition. This is a definition of manifestation that I can really get behind as a coach, and I hope it will connect for you too. So one of the basic tenants of manifestation is that our current results what we currently experience have produced have created are the consequences of a previous thought. Oh, isn’t that is that deep? I mean, think about that for a moment like this really speaks to both the power and the ultimate responsibility that we each have to be super intentional with our thoughts and beliefs, and then consequently with our actions because our thoughts and beliefs precede our actions, whether they are conscious, subconscious or completely unconscious. Our actions our willingness to take action, are dictated by the thoughts and beliefs that we have. 
This speaks to both the power and ultimately the responsibility that we have to be intentional with our thoughts and with our beliefs, because ultimately, our thoughts and our beliefs, whether consciously or subconsciously, or perhaps even unconsciously, at this point in time, they dictate our willingness to take action, they dictate our capacity to dream beyond the confines of our comfort zones. And here’s the thing as sensitives and empaths, we are gifted dreamers work because we’re highly creative. Think back to when you were a child like just remember the the fictitious worlds that we used to dream up the make believe costumes and stories that we used to act out with our friends. I know for me, my version of this was Laura Ingalls Wilder, I loved the Little House series. And I would just imagine myself being Laura Ingalls Wilder, in the, in the West, being the horse woman and the school teacher and the fierce feminist. And I used to make up all these fictitious stories about what it would have been like to be Laura Ingalls Wilder and my girlfriends and I would we would create these real extravagant costumes and we lived in these make believe orals. And I know that that was likely the case for you too, because we’re just gifted dreamers, we have such a large capacity to be creative. But the thing is that our dreams are also hugely vulnerable, and our creativity is a real tender.
You and here’s the thing, if you’ve been here a while you two are likely a natural dreamer at heart. But being willing to dream is a super vulnerable practice at best. It also takes a whole lot of courage and be bravery, to be willing to then share your most ardently held dreams, let alone open your heart big enough to allow yourself to have that full range of having those dreams come to life in the first place. And for many of us, while we were natural dreamers and creators in childhood, we also had extremely big hearts and high sensitivity. And that high sensitivity often resulted in us being extra receptive to other people’s opinions, to our caregivers, opinions, judgments, critiques, or what they thought about those dreams, and oftentimes what they thought about our theory, ethereal and sensitive responses to the world around us. And this resulted for many of us, certainly for me, in a process called self abandonment, where our tendencies to care for and please those around us often resulted in disconnecting from those creative parts of ourselves, those parts of ourselves that know what we want, that know what’s important to us that know how to honor our boundaries and prioritize ourselves. And we were prone to abandoning ourselves and our dreams, in lieu of caretaking and people pleasing, let alone the default orientation towards achievement and success and seeking external validation doing what we were told to do what we thought we were supposed to do or what we should do, like all those voices, resulted in this experience of abandoning ourselves and our own internal voices, desires, and dreams. And naturally, those voices were often louder, more assertive and more commanding than our own. So this experience of self abandonment is something that I experience across the board with clients. It was certainly my own experience growing up. I’ve shared on the podcast before that. I grew up in a bed and breakfast. My parents are innkeepers and so for my whole childhood, I was work During, in the home where I was raised, constantly wanting to please guests and prioritize and be helpful, and there were a lot of places for me to hide, and to get away. And as a sensitive introvert who really needed space, and quiet to really reconnect with myself, and my own wants and needs, I oftentimes escaped into the world of books, which I have such a deep appreciation for. And now as we enter this season of parenthood, I’m certainly keen on filling my child’s bookshelves, with all these creative books that just filled me with a sense of wonder, and awe and magic.
think it’s really important to just normalize this journey that so many of us go through as sensitives, and empaths. Because, as we normalize it, it makes space to reconnect with ourselves with our own authentic voice, with our own authentic desires and dreams. And the wondrous and awe inspiring parts of ourselves that we disconnected from a long time ago in order to maintain that sense of safety and self protection.
One of the overarching themes that I’ve noticed for both myself and the clients I’ve worked with over the past decade is that so much of our growth, and the work that there is for us to do as sensitives and intuitive empaths is to do that courageous work of reopening our heart, trusting ourselves and other people, trusting our intuition, reconnecting with our creative selves, and allowing ourselves to dream again. So how do we get started, you might ask. So next, I want to share with you several, I think, I think there’s eight, in fact, eight of the most important and helpful manifestation practices that have supported me and made a huge difference with the clients that I’ve worked with, in really generating the conditions to manifest. So the first one is this idea of reconnecting with your inner capacity for joy and being joyful. Now, I really believe that joy is an essential ingredient ingredient. Now, I really believe that joy is an essential ingredient for manifesting and visualization.
Now, I really believe that joy is an essential ingredient for manifesting and visualization because research suggests that when we’re in a joyful state, we’re more connected with our bodies, and our heart centers and less in our heads. So we’re more embodied when we’re in a joyful state. I mean, imagine the last time you were on vacation. I don’t know about you. But as an entrepreneur, I so often come home from vacation, or replenished with new ideas, new inspirations, oftentimes, I’ve generated income while away without working. I think that’s really what is available to us when we are in, in that embodied at ease flow state where our nervous systems are at rest. Now, one of the most helpful structures that helped me early on was an exercise that I adapted from Julia Cameron’s book, the artists way. And she talks about the importance of taking yourself out on a weekly artists date, to reconnect with your creative self. And I find this such a helpful way to reconnect with and generate your own joy by spending quality time with yourself and doing things that you love for love’s sake. Now, I really do mean for love’s sake because we’re not taking these artists states to be productive, to be efficient to be practical. We’re really doing them to expand our own capacity. To enjoy and generate joy being with ourselves
now the next one is in a similar vein, because when I first started this work, I was coming out of a series of super unhealthy romantic relationships where I was trying to find myself and my identity and my, my worth in so many of these relationships and one after the other, failed, of course.
Now, the second one is really similar to this first one of generating a joyful state, this second one sorry, helium, good start this on over a third time.
Now, the second manifestation practice, it builds upon the first one, and it’s the idea of taking yourself out on a weekly date. So when I first came to this work in 2014, I was coming out of a series of unhealthy romantic relationships, which I’ve certainly noticed a theme working with empaths that we often have kind of a storied past of unhealthy, unbalanced and boundaried romantic partnerships. And one of the things that really supported me, in reconnecting with myself and ultimately finding a open hearted and balanced romantic partnership, was taking myself out on a weekly date, really learning how to treat myself the way I wanted to be treated by another in a relationship. It’s also just been a really helpful practice for me over the years and reconnecting with what I most love and cherish doing with my free time. I have found that the more you treat yourself the way you want to be treated by others, the more naturally you will attract, and make space for those individuals into your life. Now, the third theme is actually something we’ve been talking about a lot more recently on the podcast, which I’ve been so grateful for, and it is the practice to find an embodiment practice. So manifestation is not an analytical, logical practice, it might start there by being intentional with our thoughts and beliefs, but then it actually has to find our way into our heart and our soul. So whenever we are bringing an idea to life, it truly requires us to get out of our heads and into action. Whether it’s manifesting a business idea or concept, a goal without taking inspired action. It’s magical thinking, also a setup for disappointment, and a self fulfilling prophecy. But when we find a practice, to move our physical energy or release trapped emotions, it allows us to activate our parasympathetic nervous system, or that state of calm and peace, and connect us with more of our own intuitive knowing and inspired action. Now, I’ve talked about on the podcast before about how my, I am a devout practitioner of Kundalini yogi. And truly, it’s for this very reason, because what I’ve noticed is that Kundalini and yoga, much like our prior guest, Isabel Griffith was talking about on the podcast, yoga is for me, the way I get out of my head and into my body, it is the way I reconnect with that parasympathetic nervous system and, and expand my capacity to dream. And also to to connect with that idea, that future vision of what it would be like to have my dream come to life, which I think is a really key aspect of manifestation. So I totally invite you to try out several embodiment practices and see what settles for you what what feels aligned for you. I know in the past, running has been that practice for me it’s really I needed that more like physically rigorous activity to quiet my mind and get into my body. I think with practice, it’s required less sweat, to be honest, less sweat and less hard efforting of my muscles to be able to become embodied. But I do think running was really important for me in the beginning. I have clients that for them, it’s a daily walking practice. It’s just getting out into nature. And specifically in nature, like I think the experience is different for them when they’re taking a walk in a suburban neighborhood versus in a nearby woods. The next practice is a more of a mindset one that I first heard about this manifestation concept from Jack Canfield book, the success principles how to get from where you are to want to be a totally stuck. So the distinction is to act as if. And I think it’s important because I think many of us have heard over the years, fake it until you make it. But what I notice about fake it until you make it is that it’s often a really analytical and logical practice. Whereas act as if requires us to legitimately act as if you already are where you want to be. Now, let’s be clear, this doesn’t necessarily mean spending as if you’re already a millionaire, but acting as if you already live a seven figure lifestyle in our household. One of our absolutely favorite ways to practice this is by intentionally investing in credit cards, maximizing those bonus signup offers to oftentimes fly for free in business class. And we love arriving at the airport lounge to linger in the Delta lounge and board the flight first and like truly fully enjoy the experience like truly acting as if now if you haven’t already listened to my interview with Zach could from travel freely. We’re gonna drop the link to that in the show notes because it’s an awesome it’s an office awesome episode on supporting you and acting as if, if traveling for free is something you’d like to do. Now, this is a quote from success principles that I love. Canfield says that acting as if means thinking like tasting like dressing like acting like and feeling like the person who has already achieved your goal. Acting as if sends powerful commands to your subconscious mind to find creative ways to achieve your goals. It programs, the reticular nervous system, the RAs in your brain to start noticing anything that will help you succeed. And it stands in it sends strong signals to the universe, that this end goal is something you really want. Now, I love that, right? Like he’s essentially talking about the process of how not only do we become intentional with our thoughts and beliefs, but we also reprogram them so that they are in alignment with our ultimate dream or whatever the thing is that we’re manifesting. Now, this next one builds upon it. And it’s this principle of CO conspiring with the universe. So several years ago, in our unbounded mastermind, we were reading e squared, nine Do It Yourself energy experiments that prove your thoughts create your reality by Pam grout. Now, I was certainly a little skeptical suggesting this book. And something I’ve really come to appreciate over the years is that my skepticism is typically a clever way that my own resistance shows up. And so now rather than getting stopped by my skepticism, it’s oftentimes a place where I get curious and inquisitive and lean in. And I’m so glad I did that with this book because this book includes nine manifestation experiments that we spent the entire month doing. And it was a really awesome experience. Hearing the success stories of my mastermind ders one after the other, share these really similar and unique experiences of choosing to see a really kind of rare uncommon car color. And then seeing those tan colored cars everywhere or deciding that they were going to manifest a blessing which is another one of the experiments in the book and then literally generating an a brand new client out of thin air the very next day. So and growth goes on to expand on this reticular nervous system that Canfield was talking about and she describes it as a control center. She says that this center has the job of sending what It thinks is urgent to the active part of the brain, and to steer the non urgent stuff to the back. But as it’s organizing, it’s also busy interpreting, drawing inferences and filtering out anything that doesn’t jibe with what we believe. In other words, we rehearse ahead of time, the world that we want to see. So I really invite you to try it out, begin looking for what you want to see just pick something, whether it’s a specific type of butterfly, or maybe a hummingbird. And just notice how it’s how it can become possible to find anything you look for. And that Moreover, by changing what you look for, you can radically transform what shows up. All right, the six practice is one that I talk about a lot. It’s one of my favorite manifesting practices, it’s one of my favorite visualization practices, it’s one of my favorite ways to help me clarify a vision that I can’t yet see. And that’s creating a visual display.
Now, the thing is, is that if we don’t have a clear vision of what we want our life to look like, or potentially what we want to create, how will we ever get there, or how will we appreciate being there? Once we arrive, I am such an advocate that what we focus on expands, which is why I’m such a deep believer of creating a vision board. And it’s, it’s truly like, for me, a vision board is something that I can keep handy, I can keep it in my physical environment, so that it’s always there, subconsciously creating more of the felt sense of what I want to have. And I oftentimes do this like little hack of moving my visual board around to different parts of the room, because I don’t know about you. But I noticed whenever I have art, in the same part of my home or a room, I stopped appreciating it at some point. So whenever I stopped seeing my vision board, I often move it. And that’s become really helpful for me over the years. Now, I also want to just normalize a visual display, it can be a vision board, but it doesn’t have to be it could also be a mind map, it could be a powerful image that reflects your vision. It could also be any other number of structures that support supports your vision, and coming to life for you in a sensory way. And I really do mean that in a sensory way that helps you connect with the thoughts, the feelings, the smell the touch, like that real sensory experience of your vision actualized.
I wrote a helpful blog about creating a vision board a couple years ago. So we will drop the link to that in the show notes as well. Now, the next one is one that’s really near and dear to my heart. And it’s also it’s also a really vulnerable one. And it’s pretty simple. It’s the practice of writing a desires list. Now, this exercise is adapted from the book worthy booster self worth to grow your net worth by Nancy Levin. She has an exercise in the book called A 50 desires list, which I think is a really compelling exercise. It’s one we’ve done in our unbounded mastermind several times. Essentially, she includes guidelines in the exercise to allow you to only write a limited number of the desires that can be altruistic. And she also normalizes the idea that likely writing the first 25 desires will be easier than the second 25. But it can be an incredibly powerful practice and challenging yourself to not stop until you reach 50 is super helpful. And getting outside of your comfort zone, your analytical mind and really connecting with the yearnings of your heart. This exercise is one that I love doing with clients. It’s one I’ve often done with clients on client calls over the years because it’s really vulnerable. And we often resist what’s vulnerable. So having that partnership and that accountability to do it on the call can oftentimes be a permission slip for clients to really tune in to really connect with the longings of their heart, and to allow themselves to dream again. Now, in my first year of launching the mastermind back in 2019, we did this exercise together on one of our calls, and I participated. And recently, when I was preparing for a mastermind call my list, it slipped out. And I was looking at the list. And I really had this like, gosh, like really powerful. It emotional experience, because I decided to count how many of these desires I had brought to life over the past several years since initially writing list and I pulled out a highlighter and I started highlighting one desire after the next that had been manifest that had been fulfilled and manifested from manifesting a fireplace in my next home, to getting a dog we got to, to being hired by specific people who hired me to the one that truly took my breath away, which was the idea that I really wanted to move home to Massachusetts, and after living in DC for well over a decade, my husband and I did move back to Massachusetts, gosh, a year ago, June, and I never thought that dream would come true. I was way too scared to fully let myself imagine it because of how important it was. My husband’s career had been based in DC. And I just never thought it was possible to move home and live by the sea. And typically, it’s those dreams, it’s those ones that we hold so close to our heart that are so meaningful to us, that we have to give ourselves the space and the grace to claim. And this practice of writing a desires list can be just a really supportive exercise in giving yourself permission to really reconnecting with the love dreams that you most longed for. Now, after totaling up my list of my 50 desires. The last time I counted, I have fulfilled on 33 of those. And if I’m not mistaken, one of those desires was getting pregnant. And the last time I counted was before that, so I’m at least at 34. So I want to challenge you write down your desires list, allow yourself to dream, it is not your job to determine how you’ll get there, or to be attached to the timeline or what it will look like. But if you don’t allow yourself to desire and to dream, you truly deny yourself the possibility of your dreams coming true. And last but not least, the last manifestation practice that I want to leave you with is the power of community. The power of being in a community with like minded and values aligned creators who are committed to dreaming, who are committed to creating their life and their businesses by their own design. There is something so powerful to be surrounded by people who are stepping into their dreams, who are living purposefully and intentionally. This is the principal reason that I decided to open my previously private and closed, unbounded community to the public. Because I didn’t, I didn’t want to deny any longer the opportunity for more people to come and join us and I didn’t want cost to be a factor. Now. This is clearly an example. It’s, it’s it’s a great way to like test out our community to test out our vibe and see if our mastermind or either of our masterminds may be a good fit for you. But it’s absolutely not required. There’s zero strings attached. But if you’re looking for a community and place to practice manifesting and dreaming again, you are more than welcome to join us and we will drop the link to do so in the show notes. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I would love to hear which of these manifestation practices speak to you. And if you have others that have been really meaningful for you. I would love to hear from you DM me on Instagram and share with me which one has been the most supportive. Thank you so much, and we will see you next week.


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Trigger warning:
This episode may contain triggering content for some listeners affected by child loss; please review the show notes to know if this episode is proper for you now.

As an empath, it can often feel like we’re living in a world that’s grieving hardship and heartbreak. This is why I’m grateful to sit down with Jenn Andreou, an Executive Coach and Grief Recovery Method Specialist. In her work, Jenn helps grievers who feel stuck in the pain of their losses to move through grief and take action to regain their wellbeing. Throughout the episode, we talk about living with grief and allowing yourself to feel pain, sadness, and sorrow instead of fixing or bypassing them. After living through two tragic losses, it took Jenn seventeen years to truly begin to heal and find her way back to joy. Why? Because while grief is emotional, we as a society often intellectualize it and don’t allow ourselves to truly embrace and process our feelings. Jenn joins me for a heartfelt discussion on taking action (not the kind you may think), becoming more honest with yourself, and embracing the idea that it’s okay for things to not always be good so you can heal and move forward.

Visit this episode’s show notes page here.

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