When the book The Secret came out in 2006, it was a huge buzz and everyone around me seemed to try asking the universe for what they wanted. It all seemed like such a simple and easy solution to getting what you really want and directing the focus of your life and actions.

Egotistically, all I seemed to want at that time was a fast-paced exciting career, to continue being in love with my husband, to be a good mother and have a great relationship with my child and live a life of adventure. But I wasn’t a very spiritual person and didn’t see the point in asking the universe for what I wanted (maybe I should have read the book.) I thought this was a gimmick for lazy people who wanted to wish rather than work.

It never crossed my mind to ask the universe for things on behalf of other people. Or to use that moment of silence to be grateful for all that I had. I thought energy work, reiki, and even meditation were a bunch of baloney, a pastime for those who had too much time on their hands.

Fast forward, ten years later when things in my career were taking a different route as I worked as an independent entrepreneur.

I had launched a self-help app that had personality quizzes that could help you learn more about the deepest parts of yourself, could help you process complex emotions or would suggest alternative ways to work through a problem., We had a couples app to help couples communicate and a trading post app where family members or friends could trade services (like one would do the dishes if the other did the grocery shopping). We had customers and got press but I think that we were a little ahead of the game in how people were interacting with apps. Everyone wanted it to be free and we wanted to do it without advertisements and couldn’t come up with a model that would satisfy both.. I was devastated and sank to an all time low. I felt like money was wasted, my self esteem was floundering, and I could not see any good out of this failure.

I was looking for anything to help me out of my depression; and that was the first time I met an energy healer. They put me on a table and swept out all my bad energy. Did it work? I still felt like shit after, but she did give me a few exercises to do each day and one was as simple as closing my eyes and looking into the sun and setting a wish for the day. I think I did it for max a week. I preferred to wallow in self deprecation then do the work needed  on myself.

Fast forward another five years and I am in a hospital after my cancer diagnosis, not able to relax or sleep, even with medications.

My mom meets a lady in the coffee room who is an energy healer. So my mom asked if she could do something for me and this woman came into my room and just stood at the end of my bed. Within ten minutes I was asleep.

She came everyday after that and would do her healing on me and put me to sleep and helped me with my grief and acceptance. She did this all in silence, just by closing her eyes and moving her hands over my body. Even though I had always been a skeptic, maybe this was the first time when I let my guard down and was open to this sort of work and transfer of energy. Maybe it was just what my mind and body needed to survive in that moment and it allowed for my body to release all that it had been holding onto. Either way, it continued to work and I felt many great benefits of working with her and doing this work.

Fast forward again, three years later.

Now, not only am I a believer in all of this work and just in how our energies and what we put into the world and allow in for ourselves can shape us, our relationships and our effect on the world. I feel strongly about the power of prayer. This does not need to be tied to a religious practice, but putting out into the world, talking about or just consciously thinking about your thoughts and feelings about your day, your wishes for yourself and others, what you are grateful for and what you hope is to come or worry about can be extremely powerful.

I also am a proud meditater who does it throughout the day. Zach and I do it together five days a week, where he does a guided visualization with me and asks the universe to bring me health and also for our business to help more and more people. When we make this request, ninety percent of the time we get a new customer that day. Or we get some media attention or a sweet email of thanks from a loyal customer.

Just this week, we wished for our giving to multiply from last week and we got 2 business orders. They did not miraculously arrive. Zach sought one of them out but they did say yes to working with us. The other was a brand new business order who had just stumbled onto our site.

For the new year, I would like to manifest that we are able to continue growing this community and that we are not only able to grow in sales so that we can give more back to women’s assault recovery centres and other charities and helper organizations, but that we also are able to improve the lives in a small way for the people who choose to shop with us. In the past year, we have pivoted our products greatly in the hopes that we are able to encourage not only community giving, but also personal healing and self care and love. I hope we continue to see the importance of taking care of ourselves and others.

I hope that you all have a safe and joyous holiday season. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want this year, whether that is from the universe, from those in your life or from yourself!

~ Karla xoxo

What is Manifesting?

For those of you who, like me, didn’t read The Secret, manifesting is about more than just asking for or imagining yourself having the things that you want out of life.

In an article for OprahMag.com, the author of A Spiritual Entrepreneur, Angelina Lombardo, described it as “making everything you want to feel and experience a reality… via your thoughts, actions, beliefs, and emotions.”

This is not something that is meant to be said, thought or written down and then forgotten, as if the universe will step in and do all of the heavy lifting. Instead, manifesting is a way of creating focus within ourselves and gives us permission to open ourselves up to possibilities and ask for what we want or for help achieving our goals from others. When we manifest something, we are still the one in the driver’s seat and are responsible for whether or not we get that thing.

Some tips for manifesting
  • Be as clear as possible about your goals and wants. Instead of saying that you want “a better job”, have a specific position that you want to start going out for, for example.
  • Write it down. Not only will this further encourage you to be clear about what you want, it will also provide a reference that you can look back on through working towards your goals.
  • Create a roadmap. Think of all of the ways that you could possibly reach your goal and what steps you can personally take to get closer. 
  • Pay attention to progress and potential opportunities to move forward. Stay open to twists that you might not have expected and don’t be afraid to take a chance or two.
  • Lead with “yeses” in mind. Assuming people are going to say “no” or that you will fail is a quick road to not getting what you want. Believe that you deserve and will achieve your goals and the path there will be a lot easier.

While there might not have been much science behind the concepts introduced in The Secret, scientists and researchers have since found that there are elements to manifesting that actually can be supported as effective in helping to lead a happier, more fulfilling or more productive life. In the book Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation, author and NYU psychology professor Gabriele Oettingen adds to this theory that in order for something like manifesting to be effective, we need to look at the obstacles in the way of reaching our goals as well as articulate what our goals actually are.

Sometimes it can feel dangerous to believe in things like manifesting.

It can feel like toxic positivity that won’t get us anywhere and will just leave us disappointed. For me, I know that I can’t wish away something as serious as my illness. I can’t even really set goals to work towards getting rid of it. But thinking and working in this way does allow me to find goals that I can achieve and do feel like they were meant for me.

Karla Stephens-Tolstoy has stage 4 chronic cancer, diagnosed in 2018. She is Her2 negative, IDC.  She takes 50 pills daily, including Ibrance and letrozole, her cancer fighting pills.  Karla is the co-owner of the online store StandUpSpeakUp.ca with her son, Zach.  Through this venture, they are proud donors to various charities. All proceeds of their limited edition Healing and Empowerment Scarves are donated to Wellspring Cancer Support Centre. 

Check out her blog,  and her podcast Stand Up Speak Up which ranks in the top 10% for most listened to podcast.

You can find her at @standupspeakup, LinkedInKarla’s Korner Facebook group.

The Empowerment Scarf
You are most powerful when you believe in yourself, let this scarf give you an extra boost of confidence and comfort.

The Healing Scarf  this talisman was inspired by our founder, Karla’s own path to healing. Let it be a shield to protect you and an emblem to empower you.

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