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Dear Universe: Thank You for the Lesson

Last spring, I received a master lesson in manifestation. The concept of “manifestation” – turning an idea into reality – had always been something that I understood more in theory, rather than in my own body. But last year it crystallized in an experience I will never forget.

I was working as a forest surveyor, a job that I had a love-hate relationship with. I loved being out deep in the forest, often in places that nobody else would ever go, cross-country bushwhacking to a random GPS point to measure trees, vegetation, and count sticks. Old growth groves, secret creeks, and gorgeous views were an everyday thing.

But there were also a lot of things I hated about it, and the gear management was one of them. Much of the gear I used was expensive, borrowed from my boss, and easily lost in the woods if it somehow came off my vest or out of my work belt as I was fighting through tangled mats of vine maple, salmonberry, rhododendron, salal, evergreen huckleberry… (I could go on, but I won’t). And if you accidentally left something important at a survey plot, you pretty much had to go back for it, no matter how remote.

One day, as I was preparing to go out for my next work run, I realized that this had happened to me.

Checking my belt, I was horrified to see that my tree drill was not there. I hadn’t touched my equipment since I left my last plot, so the only place it could be was…deep in the woods somewhere along the Trask River.

Tree drills are made of two long, thin metal tubes that interlock into a T-shaped borer for taking core samples of trees from the trunk. You can see the tree rings in the core and count them to know the age of the tree. The drill I was using belonged to my boss, and he often waxed eloquent about these particular drills. They were a certain brand that was no longer in production, and he could only find them rarely on eBay. All other drills on the market were, according to him, complete crap.

Thinking I could maybe find one on eBay and easily replace it for less trouble than going back to the plot (which was several hours drive, many miles on a bad dirt road, and a long trek down a steep ridge), I did a quick search. Only one of those drills was posted. So I bid on it. And was immediately outbid. Over and over and over again. Until it was too rich for my blood. I laughed in my head, thinking I was probably bidding against my boss.

So that was it. I had to go back.

I roped my partner into going with me, just so I would have company, and on a very rainy day in May, we drove up the rutted and muddy road, donned our rain gear, and hiked down the ridge to where I had (hopefully) left the drill.

The handle of the drill is painted bright orange, so I thought it would be pretty easy to see, but in the Coast Range of Oregon, the underbrush is so jungly, that that didn’t really matter. I couldn’t remember exactly where I would have left the drill (assuming I had left it somewhere, and it hadn’t fallen out somewhere along the way, never to be found), but I did remember which trees I had drilled, so I started there. I looked around the bases and beyond of every tree I measured, and some I hadn’t. We picked through the underbrush with a fine-toothed comb for about an hour and turned up…nothing.

We moved on to the next area and repeated the process. I didn’t even notice how soaked I was getting in the rain because I was so anxious thinking about having to tell my boss I had lost one of his irreplaceable drills. We finally exhausted all possibilities of places to look, and I sat down in defeat. It was probably time to throw in the towel and go home.

But then I remembered a story from my friend Grace. She had once lost her car keys somewhere in muddy ankle-deep water while harvesting willow for baskets. She had stopped, relaxed, and just allowed the keys to come to her. She reached down and…there they were.

I had nothing left to lose. I had to try it.

The only problem was, I just wasn’t sure how to do it – how to make this drill appear in the middle of this forest. I’d heard many stories of people finding things they’d lost through this method of imagining the object, or “just letting it come to them,” but when it came time for me to do it…I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t think I could do it.

Then suddenly and inexplicably, I knew exactly what to do.

The last several years, I had been working on developing my senses. I spent hours and hours and hours sitting at a spot in my backyard, and just noticing what I could see, hear, smell, feel, and even taste. I would pick up leaves and sticks and flowers and memorize everything about them – the color, shape, texture, smell. Then, closing my eyes, I would try to conjure up an image of it, and open my eyes to check what I missed. It’s crazy how much we don’t remember once we close our eyes!

But with more and more practice I became so good, that imagining with my senses became something I didn’t even have to try to do. If I looked at a tree, I would imagine the feeling of its bark under my hand. If I felt a breeze, I sensed what direction it was coming from. If I watched a bird, I would notice the way it turned its head.

Somehow the pieces suddenly fit together. If I was going to imagine it, I had to imagine it with ALL my senses. And I had practiced so much that I definitely knew I could do THAT.

So I sat down and closed my eyes. I imagined the drill in my hands. I saw the bright orange, painted handle. I imagined the texture of the metal on my skin. I imagined the sound of the tubes sliding against each other as I pulled them apart, and the feeling of the little hinge on my thumb when I interlocked them. And I imagined just how relieved I would feel if I found it.

I spent a couple minutes sitting in this visualization, then opened my eyes.

Almost immediately, I heard my partner call out, “Hey, I found the spoon!”

No way! The spoon is the thin metal piece that extracts the core sample from the drill itself.

“And here’s the drill!”

What?! I couldn’t believe it. Did I really just manifest that?

And I knew without a doubt that, yes. Yes, I did.

As I walked over to where he was standing, there was one more thing I couldn’t believe…It was still drilled into the tree. I had left it in the tree. I never would have thought to look at the tree trunks! I was sure I had left it on the ground around the base of a tree.

And all of a sudden, after all that, there was the drill in my hands, the orange metal tube exactly as I had pictured in my mind. And I felt so relieved, exactly as I had imagined in my soul.

This experience taught me a lesson I will never forget. Whatever I’m trying to get, whether it’s finding my lost drill, or creating something in my life that I want, this is the game plan:



Imagine it with all your senses.

Feel how you want to feel when you get it.

Then look around…

…and be open to it appearing in a place you would NEVER think to look.

44 views6 comments


Aug 09, 2023

Awesome story :)


Jul 12, 2023



Jul 11, 2023

This brought a huge smile to my face, I love it!! Also a reminder that I need to get into the habit of a sit spot again :) -Jill


Jul 11, 2023

This was so much fun to read! thank you for sharing this powerful message.


Jul 11, 2023

Love it!


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