To set an intention, you need to keep a few things in mind:

You must phrase and imagine your intention in the present tense. It has already happened.

You must embody your intention. Truly feel the outcome – be excited, happy, relieved, etc.

Finally, don’t be attached to a particular vision of the outcome. Be open and flexible enough to allow the universe to manifest your intention in the best way possible, even if it’s not what you imagined.

So here is how I really learned this life lesson:

In order to understand this story, you need to know that I love Bruce Springsteen. Obsessed. Like, for real, he is one of the most important people in my life and one of the great loves of my life. Fellow fans understand. The rest of you…whatever.

In the spring of 2016, I heard about a contest to win a trip to Rome later that summer and see Bruce perform and meet him backstage. I didn’t know the details, but I fantasized about it being a writing contest. If I could get myself into a contest where you had to write an essay about your love for Bruce, for instance, I would win for sure. I’m a published author! That would be easy.

I later discovered that it was…a writing contest. I wrote my paragraph and submitted it. Then I cast a spell to win (my definition of a “spell” is charging physical objects with your intention, others may define it differently).

I really took to heart the “rules” about intention setting: I imagined it in the present tense. I really, truly felt the outcome. I was so excited not only to see the show and to meet him, but to go to Rome! When my partner talked about summer plans, I worried about how to maneuver him around the dates of the show without telling him why (many practitioners say you should not tell anyone about your spells, lest that person’s energy – such as doubt – diminish the power of your intention).

The winner was supposed to be called on a particular Friday in May. I saw that day in my mind. I imagined that my sister and her twins would be visiting. I wondered how they would react when I got a phone call and started screaming and crying in elation. As the day of the planned announcement grew near, my heart stopped every time the phone rang from an unfamiliar number. I anxiously waited for the call I knew would come.

On that Friday, I had butterflies in my stomach. My sister unexpectedly came over with her kids. It was happening exactly as I had envisioned! This is how spells work.

Only they didn’t call. I didn’t win.

I was devastated. When I finally told my partner about the contest, I cried. I was so disappointed about not meeting Bruce. But I was also disappointed that my spell didn’t work. It made me doubt all of it. A few weeks later, I confided my failed spell to a like-minded friend. She said matter-of-factly, “Well, you weren’t meant to meet him now. You’ll meet him another time.”



But then…

A few months later, he published his phenomenal autobiography and announced a book tour. I jumped at the opportunity to fly to L.A. and wait in line on a sidewalk for seventeen hours (yes, 1-7) to meet him. I had about fifteen seconds with Bruce Springsteen. I got to throw my arms around him, thank him, snap a picture, and show him the tattoo I got in his honor. Not only that, but I made some absolutely lovely friends in those many hours, who I still keep in touch with on a regular basis. It was one of the best experiences of my life. For days – weeks – afterward, I just kept thinking, “life is good.”

Alas, my friend was right. I was meant to meet Bruce Springsteen at another time (and a time after that!). It wasn’t in Rome. There was no show. And I had a very short amount of time with him. But it was so much more than I ever would have dared to wish for only months earlier. Showing him my tattoo, I said, “I did this for you when I never imagined you would see it.” But he did see it. And I made wonderful friends who continue to bless my life.

So that last intention setting rule, the one about staying open and flexible to receive what the universe wants to offer you – even if it’s not exactly what you envision? Yeah, that. Don’t forget that part.

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