“If you want to be given everything, give everything up.”
– Tao Te Ching

I’m seventeen weeks pregnant today. Pregnancy is often used as a metaphor for the creative process, and living inside the experience now I think it is not only the likeness, it is the blueprint of how manifestation itself works.

This is because the art of making children is run entirely by nature, as people we participate but our role is subservient to a bigger process that has been perfected by time. By observing the process we can see how creation manifests on Earth, and better understand how it operates in all creative endeavors.

1. Sacrifice is required. Pregnancy is when your physical body prioritizes the life of another over you, and will give it nutrients at the expense of your own long-term health or life if necessary. Knowing this pregnant women will eat healthy and take vitamins, accounting for the risk with minimal life changes. By being aware of the sacrifice required, we make small ones and avoid big ones.

In pursuing a vision one of the best practices I know is to go through every step involved and imagine it unfolding with ease for optimal outcome. This process can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, and it feels like weeding a garden. Potential pitfalls are revealed and accounted for before any action is taken, so when action comes it can be minimal and the feeling of peace maximal.

This is in contrast to worrying about something and rushing into or avoiding action, and experiencing intense effort and pain in the process. Such an experience is also a sacrifice, akin to a mother losing bone density because she didn’t take her calcium supplements.

Dreams take energy. Knowing this you can decide what kind of energy you feed them and how it feels. There is a resistance to slowing down and thinking things through, that’s part of the sacrifice. I don’t like taking vitamins and sometimes they make me throw up, but it’s worth the gain.

2. SACRIFICE IS REQUIRED. A few weeks ago I started wishing I could have my old, pre-pregnant body back and I realized not only will it never be the same again, it’s going to change a lot more and then there will be a baby to take care of. My brain is also changing in equal measures. This is unavoidable and a necessary part of having a baby. Children don’t come without sacrificing every part of yourself.

When the full potency of manifestation is clicked into, there is similarly a major and continuous sacrifice involved. Last year I wrote an article that described how well my life was going. I had my ideal wedding and honeymoon, bought my dream house, and experienced job changes and growth with perfect timing, all in a few months. No amount of action or planning could account for how miraculously well things unfolded, and my own brain is far too undisciplined for mental practices alone to work at this level.

What I didn’t know how to say was underneath the ease I had sacrificed something major. Exactly what becomes too personal and involved to say in this format, but stated generally I sacrificed core concepts of my identity, and I wasn’t always happy about it. This sacrifice serves the role of an undercurrent, an energy underneath the surface that returns continuously to source while physical events move in the desired upward and outward direction.

Think of life force as the ocean, it has an undertow. If you want to swim and get somewhere you have to account for it. In Tai Chi, no action is complete without it’s opposite, and tension/pain/stagnation arises when we try to focus only on where we want to go and ignore what we have to give up.

Making children is the oldest and deepest art on Earth. It’s so perfected by generations upon generations the necessary sacrifices are built into the process. A personal dream operates by the same rules, but you have to figure out the necessary sacrifices for yourself. A hint: if it’s a real dream, born of purpose, it will involve sacrificing part or all of your identity.

3. No, really, sacrifice is required. Women’s bodies drop a major hint about the nature of worthy endeavors when they prioritize the future baby’s life over their own. To put it simply, it’s not about you.

It becomes very easy to sacrifice your identity when it doesn’t matter as much as what you are trying to create. This can look like a writer drastically changing a book they’ve invested themselves heavily in because it doesn’t work, or an artist taking marketing classes so they can sell better their works.

Remember you are doing something for a greater purpose. Keep this focus and the dream will direct you through the necessary steps, much as a woman’s body and brain will change according to the needs of making a baby. If you listen attentively and at no point stop because the steps don’t fit with who you imagine yourself to be, you will experience magic.