I recently went to Costa Rica for the first time. Twice.

Of course that’s not literally true. There’s only one first time for everything. But something happened in regard to this adventure that I’ve noticed many times, in many areas of my life. Things magically double up.

Here’s how this goes: I feel a strong pull to do something, usually for no apparent reason. After daydreaming about it for a while, I set out to make it happen. Then, circumstances seem to arrange themselves to give me the thing I’ve just created for myself. It ends up coming to me two different ways. 

For example, in this case, I had a long-held hankering to visit Costa Rica. Never really knew why. It was just there, in my mind, for years and years. About a year ago the hankering grew so strong that my family and I sat down and booked a vacation, something I almost never do.

During the time we were waiting for our scheduled vacation to come around, my partner Ro and I remembered meeting Jake Sasseville, an American who runs a retreat center in the jungle of Costa Rica. We got in touch with Jake and decided to run a retreat at his beautiful center, Imiloa. As part of that process, we got a free trip to check out Imiloa’s wonderful scenery, food, activities, and wildlife.

The free trip happened to be scheduled about two weeks before our previously booked vacation. So, after planning and paying for a trip to Costa Rica, I had another one—which I didn’t plan or pay for. The second trip just dropped into my lap, like an adventurous sloth. 

This kind of thing happens to me so often I feel as if I’ve got a strange kind of double vision: 

Part 1 of my life works by invention: I put my head down, work really hard, make arrangements, and see them through. 

Part 2 works purely on intention: I daydream vividly about something that feels as if it’s been planted in my heart, and bang! It manifests. 

I think these two ways of getting things to happen are closely related. I agree with all the New Agers that when we form a strong, clear desire, the energy of creation begins to formulate it and pull it into our lives. That’s intention. The problem is that if we’re nervous or clingy about it, the magic dies.

That’s when it’s time to use invention, which consists of investigating how to make the thing happen with plain old-fashioned work. We roll up our sleeves and invent a way to move toward our desires.

Once we’ve invented something, and we’re confident we can make it happen (the way I was confident my family and I could make a trip to Costa Rica happen), we relax. Our clinginess disappears. We rest in trust. The combination of clear intention and complete trust brings things into the real world in ways that seem magical.

I’m not sure how this works, but I’m pretty sure that it works. And I love playing around with it, seeing how many times I can get it to happen.

If you want to play too, here are the instructions:

    1. Feel inside your heart for a clear, simple desire. You can’t manifest things that aren’t true desires, things you learned to want because other people told you they were desirable. The longing has to come from within.
    2. Visualize your desire being fulfilled. Imagine how it would feel. Make a damn vision board—they’re so trite as to be truly embarrassing, but I actually think they work.
    3. Figure out how to make your dream come true, using ordinary, blood-sweat-and-tears effort. Do the research. Earn the money. Set aside the time. Keep at this until you’re pretty sure you can make this thing happen.
    4. Relax. Trust. Allow. 

Maybe nothing will happen. Maybe you’ll get something I call “the time of the near miss,” where your desire comes close to manifesting on its own, but falls apart at the last minute. But if you keep using intention and invention together, you’ll reach a point of confidence that lets you begin to trust.

At that point, buckle up. You’re about to get what your heart desires. You may even get it twice.