Image for The Gathering Pod A Martha Beck Podcast Episode #102 What You Want Wants You
About this episode

This week, Martha previews an upcoming book by Suzanne Eder called “What You Want Wants You.” Listen to today’s episode to bring what you truly desire into your life. (Originally aired: October 30, 2022)


Martha Beck:

First thing I want to tell you is that the title of this week’s Gathering Room, What You Want Wants You, is something I have stolen, but I’m going to unsteal it right now.

It’s actually the title of a book by a Suzanne Eder, E-D-E-R. It’s called What You Want Wants You. I got an advanced copy of the book, so go ahead and pre-order it, because this is a good one. I love this one. I wanted to talk about it today because the author makes a very… she’s a former accountant, very logical, very practical, but she’s also had experience with what you might call the law of attraction, which I have too. We do stuff, you think of stuff, and there’s no way it can happen, and then it happens. This goes on day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade. I am convinced it works. I’m not sure how, but it does.

I love the way Suzanne Eder talks about this, because she’s super pragmatic and really logical and rational and at the same time, totally woo-woo, which is just where I eat, right? So, I’m going to tell you the premise of her book, because it’s made me very, very happy since I read it. The premise is that everything you’re meant to have, all your destiny is sort of hovering around, waiting for you in a place that has no linear time. Yeah? Which would be the universe, because as Einstein said, linear time is only a stubbornly persistent illusion that humans have.

So, when something is meant to be yours, Suzanne Eder says, “You feel an urge toward it, and it at the same time feels an urge toward you.” This rang really true to me, and I love the way she conceptualizes it, because the thing you want, of course, is not necessarily a human entity or even an animal. It’s a thing. It’s a concept. It could be a situation. So, to say that it has a personality and a mind and wants you was ticklish to me. We literally have been downstairs in my living room reading another book that isn’t out yet, which is Liz Gilbert’s next book, The Snow Forest, which is unbelievably compelling. We are just in love with this.

I remember when Liz called me one day, we were talking, and she said something about this family, a real family that had fled Bolshevik, Russia, into Siberia. This one family lived in Siberia and never saw another human soul for like 45 years. A lot of them died. Then there’s one survivor of this family still living in Siberia. She was talking about them, and I had the funniest feeling. I felt like I was reading the book already, and I said, “You should really write a novel about this.” She was like, “You think so? Because I’m tossing it around and thinking of it.” And I was like, “Oh, you’ve got to write this.”

It reminded me, if you’ve read Liz’s book, Big Magic, she talks about, and I think I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating. In Big Magic, she talks about how she worked for years doing research about a book which concerned a woman who worked in a small factory in Minnesota and was in love with her married boss, but would never make any advances. Then the boss went to… no, no, no, somebody went to the Brazilian rainforest to do some kind of a deal for… it was a bulldozer company. The deal fell through and the man disappeared and the woman was sent to look for him. It was a love story.

She was working and working on this, and then she got distracted and said… I think that it was when Eat, Pray, Love wasn’t out yet, but it was sort of floating, and she was like, “Oh, I’ve got to go.” She had to live in Southeast Asia with her new husband because she didn’t have rent money in America, and then Eat, Pray, Love came out and she did have the rent money. Anyway, my point is she stopped writing that book, and then much later, maybe a few years later, she went to lunch with Annie Dillard, who’s another brilliant novelist. Ann Patchett, sorry, not Annie Dillard, Ann Patchett. Thank you, Roey, the gracious badger.

So, she and Ann Patchett were having lunch and she said, “What are you working on?” And Ann Patchett said, “I’m working on this novel. It’s about a woman who works in a business in Minnesota, and she’s in love with her married boss, but she’s much to decorous say so. Then somebody gets sent to the Brazilian rainforest and he disappears and she is sent to look for him, and it’s also a love story.” So, Liz just said, “Okay, that…” she said a word that I can’t say. I could, but this is a family Gathering Room. Okay. Anyway, my point is, and Liz’s point is, that the story was looking to be told, and if it wouldn’t go to Liz, it went to Ann Patchett.

In the same way, Suzanne Eder says, “Whatever you’re meant to have or create, it’s a conscious entity out there, and it’s asking you to make it real.” If you don’t make it real, it’s going to be like a little dog, a puppy that you left out in the snow. So, I was really taken with this idea and the way Suzanne Eder talks about it. So, Ro and I were driving to New York City and I said, “For two hours, let’s just align ourselves with what wants to happen for us. Let’s do this.” This was my own invention, not Suzanne’s. “Let’s go through everything in our lives that we knew needed to happen or wanted to happen.” We thought it was impossible, but then it happened and it came into our reality, because Suzanne Eder’s way of conceptualizing it is this.

The amount of time it takes to make something real is a function of how clearly and consistently you can believe that it is already yours, basically, that it’s meant to be yours. So, she gave the example in the book of Anita Moorjani, another friend of mine that I’ve talked to you about, who was absolutely riddled with cancer and went into a terminal coma, had a near death experience, and was sent back. She said, “Back into that body?” And she was told, “Yes, into that body. You’ll be fine.” So, she woke up in her cancer riddled body that she’d been fighting with cancer for so many years, and nine days later she was cancer free. Suzanne Eder says this is because after her near death experience, she was able to hold the clarity of knowing that this could happen in complete defiance of everything we believe about survival and illness and what is possible.

So, I thought, “That’s true. I’ve met Anita and the documentation is this high, and she is very, very vibrant and alive. So, okay, I’m going to try to hold a really consistent belief.” Then Suzanne Eder says something can happen very, very quickly. If you don’t believe it, if you’re kind of, “Maybe not,” whatever, “Now I’m depressed. Now I’m worried,” it takes longer. It’s like there’s a certain amount of consistent energy that needs to come in. So, I said to Roe, “We’ve got to do some time travel, go back to our past selves and tell them that this thing you think will happen in your future, but you don’t know how, it’s really going to happen for you.”

It’s important that you distinguish between the things you wanted because you’d been taught to want them, like the nice clothes that are in fashion right now, versus the things that you want with your soul. You can feel the things that you want with your soul. They will not go away. You can try and try and try to be in love with the person you’re not in love with and to stop wanting for another love, and it will not go away. It doesn’t matter how many sections of marital therapy you get, if it’s a real desire that’s meant to not be in that relationship, you can’t make that relationship be what you want. Sorry. I hope I didn’t just break up anybody’s relationship. My point is that you can want something very intensely and think that you really desire it, but the yearning for it is not there and it will go away. It’ll change over time. But the things we’re meant to be, the things we’re meant to have, the things we’re meant to do, they keep bothering us. They keep poking around and saying, “No, you want me. You really, really want me.”

Ro and I both experienced this about writing, wanting to create books and tell stories and help people. We also thought that Ro, actually, I don’t know if she minds me telling you this, but she passed her American citizenship exam this week. By the way, I went to buy some champagne to celebrate, and I thought, “I’ll just go to the Australian wines and get a champagne so that we can combine her nationalities.” As I was standing there, there was a soft rock station playing soft rock, classic rock of the nineties, and for some reason, they played the national anthem of the United States. So, I was standing there, I got my phone out and recorded, I’m standing by the Australian wines and it’s playing the national anthem. Then it went on to some, I don’t know, The Bee gees or something, never explaining why they played The Star-Spangled Banner.

Anyway, Roe used to drive around Australia, loving Australia, loving it deeply and thinking of the lyric of a song, “My love is in America. My love is in America,” and it just happened. I remember longing and longing to live on a ranch in California. There was no way it could happen. I didn’t have the money. That ranch came into my life. It cost exactly all the money I had. Then I had a longing to live in the ancient eastern forest. Well, I couldn’t do that. I just bought a ranch in California, for god’s sake. That ranch sold, we came here to Pennsylvania, and let me tell you a little detail. This is the thing, they always give you little details.

Before I left California, I had this bird feeding station, hummingbird, seed, all kinds of things, suet, and I wrote a long list of instructions to the new owner about how to take care of my birds. Change the bird feeders this often, make sure you put in new hummingbird nectar, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. A whole page of instructions. I taped it to the window by the bird feeders so the next owner could see it. We came here to our house in Pennsylvania and walked in, and I swear to God, taped to the window in front of a bird feeder was almost exactly the same list of instructions I’d left in my ranch in California, because the former owners here, the man of the family was a biologist, a biology teacher, and he loves birds, and this forest is full of birds.

It was just like the story of your life if you let it is this beautiful thread that just keeps unfolding and unfolding, and it’s very delicate. If you pull too hard, you’ll break it, but if you just allow it to come forward and come forward, you slowly pull it in inch by inch, all the things you long for slowly come together. I am old enough now that I know that this happens regularly. I have a fairly large N in terms of experiences. We talked about this for two hours. We just said, “We’re going to stay in this mood, in this zone. We’re going to talk about the things that happened and the little God winks that said, “Yes, this is meant to happen,” and we’re going to talk about everything that either of us has managed to create in our lives, and that’s what we’re going to talk about for two hours.”

By the time we got to our destination, we were like, “We can do anything. It got a little out hand. I ended up painting a wall with a roller about this big and having to lie down for a day. But the wall wanted to be the color I made it. It wanted to. What you want wants you. Suzanne Eder, go get the book. I just thought it would be fun for everyone who’s listening to this Gathering Room to take an hour, a full hour. Let’s not mess around with, “Just do it for a minute. It’ll be fine.” My watch says, “Meditate for a minute. It’ll be fine.” It will be. You can meditate for a minute, it’ll be good for you, I promise. But if you meditate, meditate for an hour, it will be better for you, I promise. I’m sorry if that’s discriminatory toward people who don’t want to meditate for an hour.

So, take an hour and don’t meditate. Make lists, have conversations, enjoy rolling in the memories, the sensory memories of the things you yearn for that actually happened. I don’t care if it was you wanted a bowl of soup, so you made yourself a bowl of damn soup, and it was fulfilling. That soup wanted you, even if you made it yourself. I remember thinking one day in Phoenix, I looked out into our backyard and I was like, “This is exactly how I envisioned this backyard.” It was just a desert, patch of desert when we moved here, and then it has this beautiful sparkling big swimming pool, but a little pond like pool that was blue and sparkly and had all these plants and flowers around it, and I was like, “It’s exactly what I pictured.”

I felt so blessed that this had manifested. Then I remembered that I actually bought all the plants, I paid for the pool to get dug. I had a wheelbarrow full of gravel. I ordered like eight tons of gravel or something, and they put it in a pile and I shoveled it into a wheel barrel and then crated it to different parts of the hillside. I’d pretty much done it all with blood, sweat, and tears. Who cares? It manifested. You can manifest it any damn way you want. So, let’s talk. That’s my challenge. Just get into a place for where an hour you just talk about how what you wanted wanted you and then it found you and you found it, and it’s like a match made in heaven. All right, here are the questions.

One of them is actually a meme that was sent out that I thought was a question that says, “We give morning people way too much power,” and I was like, “Point taken. Yes.” Karen says, “Hi. Wayfinder coach here. How do you hold onto and build the clarity of belief and see it clearly when you’re tired, exhausted, and financially stressed?” Such a good question. I have felt those three things probably the majority of my life. I’ve been very fortunate. But for the majority of my life, I was tired, exhausted, and financially stressed. Here’s what you do. You lie down. Lie down, okay? This is very important. People never do it. Much of the magic of my life consists of lying down. There’s a whole social movement in China now called [foreign language 00:17:31], which literally means lie flat, and lie flat is what I have done mostly to manifest my dreams.

So, lie down. You need rest. What you’re longing for is rest, and the rest longs for you too. If you don’t get together with it, you can’t follow the thread of the magic. So, stop and say, “I’m so tired.” Okay, lie down. That’s the first thing that wants to find you. All right. Now, “I’m worried about money,” this is very important. You think you’ll stop worrying about money when you get money. That doesn’t happen. I’ve worked with billionaires who are still worried about money, and I’ve worked for people who have virtually nothing, and I’ve been a person with virtually nothing who did not be feel financial stress, because financial stress is separate from the amount of money you actually have.

So, you lie down and you say, “I’m going to rest, and I’m going to imagine what it would feel like if I never had to worry about money.” I’m just going to hold that for an hour, because I’m too tired to do anything else. I’m going to pretend I don’t have to worry about money. That’s how I did it. I pretended I wasn’t worried about money. From that moment, I stopped mostly worrying about money. It was a long time before the money came, I just didn’t worry anymore. So, that’s what I would do if I were you. Lie down, people. Lie flat. Okay. Pabs just says, “Don’t we always have what we want, you just have to see it from a different perspective?” Oh, I used to think that. I was like, “I’ve been given so much. I would never say I wanted more.” But sometimes what we want wants us, and sometimes it’s huge.

I mean, Oprah tells a story about being four years old and her grandmother is doing the laundry in a pot over a fire with lye soap that’s poisonous and everything, and she’s stirring it with a stick and saying, “You watch me, Oprah. You’re going to have to do this when you grow up.” Oprah looked at her and at the age of four thought, “I am never going to have to do that. When I grow up, people will do that for me.” She said she knew better than to say it. But think how the world would’ve been different and worse if Oprah had not decided to go ahead and want this incredible future that looked completely impossible from where she was when she was four. At least it would’ve to most people.

So, she didn’t just say, “Okay, I’m going to settle for a pot of lye over a fire.” She was like, “I think what wants me is a really huge life.” Okay, there’s lots of questions, so I have to get onto them. Damaris says, “I’m wondering about the role of clarity. Do we need to have crystal clear clarity before we should try to call something in or move toward it? Do the things that want to come through us come to us also as somewhat muddy thoughts?” Suzanne Eder has a good point about this in her book. She says, “If you get too specific, you strangle it, because it’s harder to believe.” So, if I had said I want this precise house to live in on the East coast, I would’ve been too anxious. Instead she says, “Think about the feeling of what you want, and if you are worried about the way it is going to come to you,” like love or money or whatever it is, “Move back to the feeling of it being enough, the feeling of being fulfilled. That will bring it toward you, because you can believe it more clearly.”

So, yeah, if it feels vague, go vague. Just find the feeling. You can always find the feeling of what it is you long for and just sit with the feeling. If you look in your history, you’ll find that things that you held the feeling of were some of the ones that came to you. Yeah. Okay. People are asking about the name of the book and the author. It is not yet published. It is called What You Want Wants You, and the author is Suzanne Eder, E-D-E-R. It’s wonderful. Pre-order it. It’s awesome. All right. Nicole says, “What if the thing you want brings you joy, but no money? Not to get hung up on money, but our society requires it. How do you push through that?” You sit with the feeling of what brings you joy also bringing you money. I was trying to figure this out today for a friend who she’s changing careers and wants some advice, and I’m like, “Gosh, I never really joined the dots. I just believed that I would do this thing that was joyful almost always.”

When I started coaching, I would give it away for free all the time, and I still do. If I want to coach somebody and they’re awesome, but they have no money, I just do it. If I don’t want to coach someone, I tell them I’m so expensive that they run away, which is fine. But I wish I could answer this more clearly, Nicole. But the thing is, I just think it’s more likely to happen if you stop worrying about money while you also put out there that you’re going to do whatever it takes to earn the money. But there’s a feeling, there was just a feeling in my gut all the time. “Yeah, it will be fine.” I remember once where the hunt was on after I published leaving The Saints, and a lot of people were trying to hurt me, and I had to have detectives and lawyers and stuff, and I thought I was going to go bankrupt.

My financial advisor said, “You’re going to go bankrupt,” and I was like, “Eh, I think I’m up here, but it’s just not going to happen. It just isn’t.” There was that same feeling of, “I can’t give up on the thought that this is the way I feel it,” and it never happened. I was always saved at the very end by this or that coincidence, and then I thought, “Well, that worked, so I might as well manifest much more,” right? So, I was able to build back up. But it was all psychological at first, and in the meantime, I did whatever I could. I went out and looked for teaching jobs that I couldn’t get. I took jobs when I could get them. But the main work I was doing was orienting my energy toward always having enough.

Suzanne Eder may be able to talk you into it, but I will say that in our culture, we get more hung up on, “But it has to earn money,” than any other idea. I’m here to tell you, I have done very little in my life that was directly connected to making more money. I just can’t care that much about it. But I do care about not worrying about money, and that has come to pass. Sorry, it’s kind of woo-woo. That’s my life. Okay. D. E. Harto says, “I love these conversations.” Me too. “This is what I yearn for: a community that has these conversations to inspire my writing. Any advice how to find that community outside of this Gathering Room and Bewildered?” Our other podcast Ro and I do. You know what? There are all kinds of book clubs and writing clubs online, and there are probably people in your area doing the same thing.

Start looking. I did that in Phoenix when we didn’t even have the internet. I’ll never forget going to this poetry group, and somebody told me that there was someone there who was another refugee from Mormonism. I went there and I was looking for this woman, and the poetry group was just awful. It was so bad. It was really bad. I don’t have time to go on and tell you how bad it was, but I was like, “This is not me.” But I was looking for this one woman, and I needed to go to the bathroom and I couldn’t because it was in a library and the restrooms were broken. So, I finally thought, “I really need to get home,” and I went out to the parking lot and it was like a huge hand was trying to push me back into the building. I thought, “This is so strange.” I got in my car and I drove home to my working toilet, And the whole way I was crying because I hadn’t gone back to meet this one woman.

Eventually, I did meet her because we just crossed paths when we had a mutual acquaintance there to introduce us, and she became my writing buddy before there was an internet. Now I would go out and look for writing buddies on the internet. I really would put it out there. Social media, Facebook, whatever. You’ll find your folks. There are people looking. The wayfinder community of the people that go through my coach training are just all like this. We’re out there. Jessica says, “Will you share how you let negative, distracting thoughts dissolve during this beautiful remembering and pre-membering?” What a great question, Jessica. It’s nice to have a buddy.

Ro and I made a commitment that we were going to hold this energy for two hours, and if we started to slide like, “Oh, but then remember that?” Nope. Nope. For these two hours, we’re staying in exact alignment with being able to manifest whatever we want, so we’re just not going to go there. This is an experiment. We’re not pretending that the world works magically this way. We’re experimenting with holding the energy to see what happens. So, we’re not going to lose our minds or become true believers in some weird religion. We’re just going to play with focusing on what we’ve manifested and seeing what happens next. Yeah. Christina wrote the characters for tang ping long before this movement emerged in China called tang ping, which it literally means lie flat. I wouldn’t use that phrase. People would say, “How do you manifest things?” And I would say, “I’m going to lie flat.”

Very specifically that phrase, I was asking my daughter about it yesterday, and she said, “You used to say that when I was a young child 30 years ago.” Yeah, now it’s a big thing in China, and I’m like, “I’m in harmony with the soul of the Chinese people I would get along with, those who are lying flat.” Thanks, Christina. Steph says, “How do you increase your faith and trust that what you want does want you and that it will all work out? Sometimes I feel blinded by doubt.” I agree. I mean, this is what we’re trained to do, be materialistic and negative. Our brains have a negativity bias that looks for danger to protect us. So, we’re going against the grain a little bit when we hold the trust that what we want wants us.

That’s why I would prescribe that you do it in demarcated blocks of time. If you can’t do an hour, start with 10 minutes or 15 or whatever, but build up, because the longer you hold it, the more quickly things manifest, and the more quickly things manifest, the easier it is to believe that the next thing is going to manifest. I remember when I was writing Expecting Adam and nobody knew who I was and I had no friends in the publishing industry, and I would regularly quit in disbelief and deadly depression, and then I would hike myself up and I would write down the times when I got A’s on papers in high school.

One time a guy in college, one of my teaching fellows said I could write, and I would just start focusing on these little things, and then I could push forward and believe. But actually, it was that feeling of my heart longing to believe it that really got me going. And yes, that book, I remember getting it in the mail and taking that out of its box and thinking, “This book wanted me as much as I wanted it.” Okay, couple more questions. We’re running out of time. [Gazichian 00:29:16], I don’t know how to pronounce that name, but they say, “I feel like a quiet life as I take care of my kiddo is a dream enough for me Sometimes I feel pressured to do something big and impressive.” By all means, the little things are what it’s all about, you guys, you people.

The times that I have been like on the Oprah stage with millions of people watching or whatever, they are wonderful and they are nothing compared to playing with Lila, our two year old yesterday, and being with my family and talking to my grown kids. It’s all just about being with the people we love. Awesome. That’s what everything else is in service of, right? Unless, like Oprah, you’re meant to have the big adventures, cool, but I think even Oprah would say it’s the love and the everyday joy that really, really is the payoff. Jane Taylor says, “Are there some things too big to create?” No. Okay, going on. There really aren’t. There’s nothing too big to create. All right.

Jodi Jet says, “Do you find the money where he pops back up from time to time, and what do you do at those times?” It pops back up for me in regard to other people. I get scared that they can’t do it. The biggest problem I’ve had in my life is with trying to live other people’s solutions. I was just a genetic life coach, I think. What I’ve learned to do is to hold my image of their happiness as my manifestation and not try to do it for them. But if it came back up for me, I would just relax. I would tang ping, I would lie flat, and I would look at all the times that it’s worked out and I didn’t go into bankruptcy and it did slowly get back to a healthy number, and then I’d manifest some more.I just know I will. I just know I will. Maybe wrong. Don’t think so. All right. Aho, Ro just wrote in saying, “Just after D. E. Harto said she wanted a community, another Gathering Room person said she runs an online group for creatives to realize their dreams.” A bunch of people are now going to join that group because that group wants you as much as you want it. What you want wants you. Get Suzanne Eder’s book, and thank you so much for being here because the Gathering Room wanted me and it wanted you. It wanted us to be here right now, and that’s why we are. I love you all and I’ll see you very soon again here on the Gathering Room. Bye.

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