Thursday, November 5, 2015

Ways to Be / Experience the Magic

So, what is the magic?  I will let you in on a secret:  it has nothing to do with the grandeur of pulling rabbits from hats.  Nor does it mean that you'll mysteriously find you've inherited a fortune with a house on a hill from some distant relative you've never met.  Magic like that is more properly deemed fiction.  Real magic has to do with the little things which (you'll find soon enough) add up to be the really great things in life.

The true magic of our universe is entirely free, you need only reach out and take it!  This is easily done once you  realize what it is and where to find it

Below you'll find thirty-two ways to experience the magic life has to offer, right now:

1.  Take inventory of your values and virtues.
Are they noble, honest, true?  If you adhere to them, will they allow for a greater sense of happiness and fulfillment in your life?  Writing them down and figuring out what you believe in and stand for (and making sure you do so for the right reasons) may be one of the most important things you ever do for yourself.

2.  Be spontaneous.
So what if you didn't plan that afternoon trip to the coffee shop or the random walk around the block with an old friend you ran into.  Go have fun doing it anyway!  There's nothing wrong with the unplanned pleasures of life.

3.  Do 'fun' things.
Play with your kids.  Trying being a kid again, yourself.  Childhood is magical, it's okay to keep re-experiencing it.  Stop working so much.  Take time for your favorite movie. Blow bubbles.  Do silly, relaxing, gratifying things (even if the end result is just to feel gratified!).  We don't always have to be working at something.

4.  Be calm.
Take a deep breath.  Quit worrying.  Be peaceful.  Remaining in a relaxed state is good for your heart and your mind.  It relieves tension, and gives you a moment just to breathe.  A sense of loving calmness is contagious.  People sense your energy and it puts them at ease as well.

5.  Notice the beauty.
Don't just sit there...look up!  Look around!   At the colors of the sky, the birds that soar with ease, the magnificence of nature.  The  very miracle that you're sitting there, a living and breathing thing in this world full of amazing things to look upon.  Feed your senses with your surroundings.

6.  Cherish the simple things.
This has a lot to do with gratitude and thankfulness.  Love the skin you live in.  Appreciate your family, friends, and the small things we often take for granted (food, clothing, shelter, health).  These simple things are the essence of life.

7.  Take chances.
Have you ever heard the saying, 'Nothing ventured, nothing gained?'  Or how about this one, 'If you never try you'll never know.'  It's important to take risks sometimes, like opening that small business you've been dreaming about or going on the blind date your friend set up for you.  Nothing extraordinary will ever happen if you sit behind the exact same walls all day, everyday.

8.  Practice mindfulness and awareness:  be awake, conscious, and present.
Pay attention to things.  Make it a habit to be in the moment.  Take inventory of your surroundings.  See things, hear things.  Consciously inhabit your life.

9.  Increase self-awareness.
Turn your attention inward.  Listen to your thoughts and emotions (and why you  think and feel the way you do).  Analyze what makes you tick, what makes you angry.  It's liberating to learn about yourself.  With that knowledge comes the freedom to control your reactions, rather than allowing the outside world to manipulate you.

10.  Believe:  Expect to find magic and miracles.
Those who do not look for the magic will never find it!  Though that quote may have come from a story, it's the truth.  Believe in the good of the world.  Believe that great things can, and will, happen.  Believe that life, and the ability to live, is a magical experience.  And look for ways to make your life even more amazing (as well as the lives of others).

11. Share your enthusiasm.
When you are in a good mood, use that emotion to cheer someone else up.  If some good fortune befalls you, double that joy by sharing it with another.  If you hear good news, spread it.  If you've received good news, share it.  If something great happened to you, try to pay it forward by making something great happen for someone else.

12.  Disconnect from technology and experience the 'real world.'
Yes, put your cell phone away.  Your tablet, your ipod, your ipad.  Even your laptop and the TV.  Spend an afternoon entertaining yourself with a real book with touchable pages.  Or a board game with your family.  Take your kids to the park and play with them.  Take a walk outside.  Whip up something good in the kitchen or just sit on the porch/patio and take in the beauty of your surroundings.  There's a whole world going on out there....with people to meet, things to do and see.  But you're going to miss it all because you are constantly busy looking down at your electronics!

13.  Find a cause to fight for.
What social or societal problems do you feel really passionate about?  Is it illiteracy, school bullying, or breast cancer awareness?  Maybe one of these things (or something similar) has touched your life in some way.  Pick a cause you deem worthy of fighting for and do what you can to inform, spread the message, speak out for this cause.  Do what you can to improve the lives of those effected by whatever issue you choose.

14.  Volunteer wherever/however you can.
Ring the Salvation Army bell on a busy street corner.  Walk door-to-door asking donations for a cause like Toys for Tots or March of Dimes.  Walk for a fundraising marathon.  Even something as simple as donating goods, clothing, and items to a local homeless shelter.  It doesn't take a lot of time, energy, money, or effort to volunteer things you no longer need/use.

15.  Believe in synchronicity.
Believe in the little life-changing coincidences.  Perhaps that lady who just sat beside you in a recent workshop is the exact person to inspire your writing.  And yes, the random guy who just asked for your number may, indeed, turn out to be the love of your life.  Or the huge letters that just jumped to you from an advertising ad may, indeed, be saying something important to you.  Believe in little signs from the universe, look for them, and trust your instinct when you find them!

16.  Feed your mind, body, and soul.
Read great literature, watch thought-provoking films and documentaries.  Exercise often and try to eat healthily.  Feed your spirit with inspirational ideas, TV shows, books.

17.  Adopt a pet that needs a home.
There's nothing more rewarding than knowing you have saved the life of a pet!  The world is full of unwanted animals (sad as it is).  Lay claim to the feral cat you feed, or visit your local animal shelter if you're more selective.  You will quickly find that animals are just as grateful and capable of unconditional love as humans are.

18.  Say you're sorry when you're wrong.
The world is already too full of people who'd rather end relationships, abandon friendships, and disown each other than to admit when they are wrong and attempt to make amends.  If you have wronged someone, admit it and try to set your wrongs right.  Try to remember that no one is perfect and good friends are hard to come by.  Don't throw them away over petty disagreements!

19.  Give yourself and others a break.
This goes hand-in-hand with admitting when you are wrong.  We are all wrong sometimes; no one is always perfect, every second of every day.  We all make mistakes.  The important thing is not to cling to them.  Do not continuously ruminate on mistakes and disagreements.  It's okay if you didn't land that job you interviewed for.  And it's perfectly fine that you flubbed that speech you practiced for forever and a day.  It happens to the best of us.

20.  Practice self love.
You are truly the only thing you will ever own.  Irregardless of your belief system, the body you inhabit right now may well be the only one you ever get the chance to live inside.  Love yourself and take care of yourself.  Stop picking out flaws.  Stop comparing yourself to the anorexic, air-brushed models on the covers of magazines.  Those are merely photos, your body is real life.  Appreciate and accept yourself, as is.  Loving yourself is the best thing you can do for yourself right now.  Once you love yourself, you make better decisions because you want the best for you.

21.  Live out loud.
Voice your opinions.  Don't be afraid to say what's on your mind.  Make some noise.  Let the world ring of your laughter.  Find a venue for your voice:  music, art, poetry, writing, blogging.  If you never speak out loud, no one will ever hear your voice.

22.  Do the things you love.
Don't allow the world (or anyone else in it) to tell you that it's not okay to color in a coloring book, or to practice your scrap-booking skills.  It's perfectly okay that you, as a grown woman, wish to take a tap-dancing class or love to read YA literature.  If an activity/vocation/hobby brings you joy and enriches your life, do it!  And do so without caring what anyone else thinks about your doing it.

23.  Find 'new' things to love.
The world is huge, so explore it!  Try new hobbies.  Take on new identities, new fashions, new interests.  Some may flourish into mainstays in your life while others may remain  fancy passings.  The idea is to try out new things.  To branch out.  To reach farther.  To learn more.  You are sure to find other people who share your interests as well.

24.  Perform random acts of kindness.
They really are gratifying.  When you do something nice for someone else with completely no expectation of having that person do anything in return, you'll experience a rewarding sense of selflessness.  After all, we are all inter-connected, rather we like it or not.  We all share this same earth, inhabit the same world.  So pay for the order of the person behind you in line, leave an uplifting note in a library book for the next random person to find.  Leave an inspiring letter on the counter of a public bathroom.  I promise you, these things will touch whoever receives them.  You never know in what positive ways you may inspire someone else.

25.  Be more understanding.
Stop judging and stop blaming.  Practice compassion and empathy.  Put yourself in another person's shoes.

26.  Practice patience.
Stop rushing so much.  I have found that impatience often leads to hostility.  For example, anger toward the slow grocery-store clerk or the person who is holding up the line at Starbucks.  Who knows what kind of day each individual has had, nor why they are being slow or difficult.  Be the bigger person and give some other person a break.  You'll both feel better.

27.  Always choose love.
Everyday I'm faced with things that I could allow to make me angry, hateful, or judgmental.  I'm not perfect, sometimes the outside forces win and I do allow them to upset me (something I'm working on as a practicing yogi).  Try to choose love instead of anger and indifference.  Love the world, love others, love yourself.  Don't allow the world to make you hateful.

28.  Dance.
Allow your feet to beat against the earth as you walk.  Turn the music up when you get home from work.  Love how your body can move.  Appreciate the stability of standing.  Embrace movement.  Celebrate the ability to move with agility.  It's also great exercise.  The body was meant for moving, and dancing is such a celebratory, gleeful act.

29.  Go slow.
Everyday you see people rushing:  to and from jobs, to and from appointments, through traffic lights and restaurant lines.  They walk past each other (and the natural beauty of the world) with little more than passing glances....and they miss everything!  Stop.  Whatever it is you are moving toward can wait.  Slow down, pay attention.  Enjoy the act of going rather than making it into an inconvenience.  You'll see more beautiful things, have more meaningful interactions, and you'll feel more satisfied when you do arrive.

30.  Focus on the 'now.'
This ties in well with awareness.  The idea is in the mind:  focus your thoughts on the here and now.  Pay attention to what's happening right now.   Stop thinking about the past.  Quit worrying about your plans for tomorrow.  Be present right now.  Experience the moment.

31.  Show up.
Be present in your own life.  Get things done that need to be doing.  No matter what you choose to do with your life, you have to begin somewhere.  So get out there and do it.

32.  Begin a meditation practice.
Because meditation is a great grounding tool.  It's excellent for improvement of memory, has been proven to lower blood pressure and improve overall brain function.  Yes, you can (and should) meditate yourself healthy!  You will be delighted with the overall mental/emotional improvement that just five or ten minutes of daily meditation can do.

Imagine how much more beautiful our world we be if we all reach into the void and found just a little bit of our own magic!