Magic is found in stories, and storytelling is what I love best. Magic is found in abundance out in nature, where I so like to spend time. And magic can be seen in the art, imaginings and creations of children, such as the wonderful miniature drawings Z creates.
I revelled in our Elf on the Shelf days, and adore Christmas time in general, because of all the magic inherent in both. I find ways to bring magic indoors, such as the tiny, ornate fairy door installed in Z’s room or her mystical, ethereal snake companions.
I discover magic on the “buy, sell, trade” boards – like the collection of vintage teacups I joyfully took off a neighbor’s hands. I have no idea if they’re worth a cent, but Z and I treat them like priceless antiques. We take them out reverently for tea parties and photo shoots. We already have plans for the pieces if one ever breaks – magical art and garden projects galore.
I cherish the magic that can be found in photos and memories, which is why I spend so much time creating and then looking back upon the family albums and scrapbooks that contain so many of our stories and photos.
My magic-finding ability made me a really fun mom when Z was very little – and I suspect it makes me a pretty annoying mom now that she’s entering tween town.
Sometimes life has a way of wearing us down so that we stop seeing magic in our every day, but I assure you it’s still there. Often it takes a change of perspective, a concerted effort to focus on gratitude or a chance encounter to allow us to take an extra deep breath, regain our balance and see the magic again.
For me, having Z relatively late in life was like a chance to turn everything upside down and start again with more magic than I ever could have dreamed. Our babies and children are literal, pure magic – and so are we ourselves, but little by little, life dulls our sparkle as we grow older so it’s harder to spot in most of us past childhood.
If you’re having a day, week or year where it has grown hard to find magic, I encourage you to follow these steps in no particular order.
- Take a 24-hour break from screens. That’s right, no TV or movies – and absolutely no phone time. Our devices may bring us many conveniences, but they dull our magic. Give yourself a break from technology and you’ll start seeing magic again.
- Read a book written for children. This can be a literal children’s book, like Where the Wild Things Are or Harold and the Purple Crayon. It could also be a book or series meant for older kids or young adults, such as The Girl Who Drank the Moon or the Chronicles of Narnia.
- Enjoy a day out in nature. This can start out as going for a hike, but then I want you to find a place to just sit quietly. Listen, look around and soak it all in. The Japanese have a wonderful pastime called “forest bathing” which basically is immersing yourself in nature. Try this at your first opportunity.
- Be of service to others. Go do some volunteering or find another way to reach out, connect in a special way and serve others. Ask a loved one, “how can I be of service to you today?” Getting outside of ourselves and our own day to day, especially in a way that helps others, is its own form of magic.
- Hang out with young children or pets. Get down on their level. Do what they do. Roll around on the carpet to scratch your itches. Jump from couch cushion to couch cushion without touching the floor. Go outside for a romp in the fresh air, then find the most comfortable spot in the entire house, preferably with a little patch of sunshine, and take a nap.
- Do something you loved as a child. Fly a kite. Eat a favorite, beloved candy you haven’t had in years. Do a favorite childhood activity like finger painting, water color or sculpting with clay. Get food coloring, dye cooked spaghetti all the colors of the rainbow and then play with it (got this idea from a COSI workshop years ago and I’ve been wanting to do it since!)
- Go on a photo walk. Take a camera or whatever you use to take pictures. Walk slowly. Go places you normally wouldn’t. Find beautiful things to take pictures of. Be artistic about it – fill your device with gorgeous images of nature, architecture or smiling faces. Look for beauty and capture it as best you can.
- Spread kindness like confetti. Pay for the stranger’s order behind you at the drive-through, do random acts of kindness, surprise a friend with a heartfelt card, write a meaningful letter to a family member or fill an entire post-it pad with kind, loving words and then leave them randomly out in the world where people will find them. This is magic.
There you have it – nature, stories, animals and kids are my go-tos. Yours may be different, of course. Charge yourself up with whatever does it for you – could be sunshine, fresh air, a good cry, a nap or a great meal. Then go out and be the magical creature I know you are!
And please let me know how it all went for you. I’d love to hear your magical story in the comments below or over on Facebook. I mean it.