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Big Books Feature

Good Vibrations

Margaret McCraw Focuses Her Psychotherapeutic Lessons on Relationship Woes

Brian Taylor

Big Books Issue 2005

Requiem for a Theme You know school is back in session when you see more required reading than escapist distractions in ...

Dire Education Jonathan Kozol’s The Shame of the Nation Fires Off a Crucial Wake-Up Call For Rapidly Resegregating Public School Systems—Such as Baltimore’s | By Michael Corbin

Navy Views Academy English Professor Bruce Fleming Takes Civilian Snapshots of Military Culture | By John Dicker

Cash Woes A New Spate of Books Show How the Love of the Green Infects Our Lives | By Joab Jackson

Urban Legends Paul Coates and Rudy Lewis Offer Alternatives to the Current Crop of Contemporary Black Literature | By R. Darryl Foxworth

Career High In Candace Bushnell’s Latest Book, It’s All Work and Not So Much Play | By Wendy Ward

Good Vibrations Margaret McCraw Focuses Her Psychotherapeutic Lessons on Relationship Woes | By Christina Royster-Hemby

By Christina Royster-Hemby | Posted 9/14/2005

Last year, psychotherapist Margaret McCraw was listening to a radio talk show while driving from Baltimore to Virginia for business. The on-air guest author gave the show’s young female host advice on finding romance, which included wearing sensual clothing all the time—just in case Mr. Right should appear—going to bars and social events four times a week, lowering standards to increase the dating pool, and putting career-related goals on hold.

McCraw believed that this advice was based on a fear that promotes the idea that all the good men and women are in committed relationships. “It’s the scarcity concept that creates a lifetime of unfulfilled dreams,” she says. Translation: If you believe that there aren’t enough good men or women to go around, this will become your reality.

“The self-fulfilling prophecy really does exist,” the Baltimore native says. “So it is important to be thoughtful about what we tell ourselves, as well as the statistics we buy into, which become our reality.”

In the preface of her recently released Tune Into Love: Attract Romance Through the Power of Vibrational Matching (Hampton Roads Publishing Co.), McCraw offers three simple ideas about romance that have nothing to do with underwear, bar-hopping, or expecting less: 1) You can have it all. 2) There is an abundance of desirable relationships, easily available to each of us. 3) Love is a state of mind that is fostered and re-created when you truly love yourself.

Surrounded by red cannas and yellow roses in her garden at her home in Northeast Baltimore, McCraw is trying to teach a reporter about vibrations, personal power, and mandalas—sacred iconography that symbolizes wholeness used in meditation for the purpose of realizing inner experience. She offers sound advice for attracting desirable relationships, and keeping existing relationships desirable.

“We are always a vibrational match for the energetic signals we send out into the universe,” McCraw says.

Before you dismiss McCraw as yet another touchy-feely woman peddling false hopes to the lonely and desperate, know this: She did not come to relationship advice through some pyramid scheme of motivational outreach. She holds advanced degrees in business and psychology and is a faculty member at American Holistic University in Goshen, Va. Her romantic advice is based on techniques she calls vibrational matching, strategies that have worked in her career as a consultant for businesses and in private practice. And while “vibrational matching” may sound like New Age malarkey, it’s hard to dismiss her successful track record.

McCraw points to a mandala she commissioned an artist to create, a design readers of her book could meditate on and use to tune into their specific desires. McCraw believes each individual attunes to the mandala differently. It is an integral step of vibrational matching, which McCraw defines as “the deliberate intention to attract our desires by aligning and focusing our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs with what we want.”

To McCraw, vibrational matching is more than mere positive thinking, and in Tune Into Love, she outlines how to do it and use it to achieve goals. She discourages venting about what isn’t wanted and emphasizes staying focused on what is. Case in point: If you want to attract an emotionally available partner, but instead focus your attention on the fear of being alone, guess who you’ll attract? Somebody emotionally unavailable. With vibrational matching you can find someone who fulfills your desire, she says. The key is to stay focused on desire rather than fear.

“Whatever we give attention to, consciously or unconsciously, becomes a magnet for the circumstances of our lives,” she says. “You have to feel and really believe that you deserve it. I believe there are an abundance of men and women for everyone who desires to attract an ideal partner. Whatever we attract, whether it is wanted or unwanted, is always a vibrational match for the energetic signals we send into the collective consciousness of the universe.”

Though Tune Into Love was published this year, Margaret McCraw says its pages had been writing themselves in her head for the last decade. She has spent most of her career in health care—in hospitals, at community mental-health facilities, and as a licensed therapist in private practice. After earning a master’s degree in business administration in the early 1990s from Loyola College, she migrated to management positions, where she found a practical application of some of the ideas that have always informed her health-care work.

As in psychiatric therapy, “if you focus and energize the problem, you’re not really helping somebody,” McCraw says. “You need to shift it very quickly on into the solution. Just like an argument: If I get into an argument with somebody and I stay focused on the conflict, we’re not going anywhere.”

In 1994, McCraw opened her own behavioral-health consulting business in Baltimore, and she turned to vibrational matching to attract clients. “I learned these principles by applying them in my own life,” she says. “My desire was to open a consulting business. And I was able to attract a successful business using the techniques I outlined in my book.”

While that reads like self-serving proof, McCraw says vibrational matching has always been a part of her life, even before she called it that. McCraw says her mother taught her about abundance and that she grew up approaching life from the standpoint of having an “abundance consciousness,” from which she created life strategies that she later dubbed vibrational matching.

For Tune Into Love, McCraw applies these ideas to the elusive laws of attraction, with each chapter explaining the process in clearly defined, easy-to-read steps. She offers several exercises designed to give readers a clearer idea of what is sincerely desired—mental images more specifically detailed than a “mate.” She also gives numerous examples of vibrational matching success stories.

“You can’t activate your intentions before you know what your desires are,” McCraw says. “Instead of saying ‘I can’t find a mate,’ change to ‘I intend to strengthen my belief that I can attract an ideal mate.’ You have to ask yourself, Where in my experience or somebody else’s experience has this ever been true? And then you have to focus on the fact that this person did it, knowing that you can do it, too.”

And to McCraw, vibrational matching is an ongoing lifestyle choice that doesn’t end once the initial desire is achieved, be it a business success or romantic partner. In fact, she is working on a book to be released in 2006 that teaches couples how to apply her principles to build upon current relationships. McCraw feels that vibrational matching can be used to create the relationship you desire and, ultimately, the life that you desire.

“These principles can help you attract whatever you desire in your life,” she says. “Be it a romantic relationship, good health, a desirable career, a better relationship with a boss or a friend.”

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