The lights. The glad tidings. The company of friends and family. It all seems so magical and yet slightly discouraging once the holidays come to a close. But magic doesn’t have to be tied to a special event or holiday. It can be had each and every day of the year with a simple recipe.
Recipe for Magic: one part planning, one part spontaneity, and an over abundance of love, to taste.
Seems easy enough! Now which grocery aisle can I find those ingredients? Ha! Unfortunately, too often than not, we associate having a magical life as something that’s a facade, or even more, something that’s obtainable for some, but certainly doesn’t apply to all. That simply, just isn’t the case. The art of making magic doesn’t come from money, or having this or that, or constrained to being in a certain stage of life. It’s welcome to all, available in the tiniest of forms, and is ripe for the picking at everyones fingertips! All it takes is some effort, training, and good intent. The art of making magic is to live deliberately.
It’s about making everyday occurrences beautiful by asking yourself, “How can this ordinary event become extraordinary? How can it be made more beautiful?” And by beautiful, I don’t mean only in physical appearance; but also in the tenderness of the moment.
Take breakfast, for example. Which for purpose’s sake, happens to be a plain bowl of hearty oatmeal. Top it with chopped nuts, sliced granny apples, a drizzle of maple syrup (okay and a dash of cinnamon, or two) takes that hearty bowl of oatmeal from filling to beautifully satisfying to the senses. But it doesn’t stop there. Instead of shoveling it down while you simultaneously put on your makeup, just stop. Pause. Sit down at the table, rotate your chair to face the window, and observe nature’s beauty: listen for the birds’ good-morning songs, see what colors are painting the sky, breathe in a breath of gratitude for being present in that moment. Now you’re taking a bowl of satisfying oatmeal and transforming it into a gratifying experience. See? Old fashioned rolled oats can, and are, completely magical!
Making dinner together; but not just making it… try eating it picnic style (for a change of pace) or even better yet, bringing it to the rooftop or outdoors to watch the sunset. Mail a card to a missed friend, but don’t just write… reminisce about why you’re missing them and put down in words what your heart is truly feeling. Returning to your car in the parking lot; but not just walking… holding hands with your little one while you skip and count how long it takes to get there! Watching the rain fall; but not just merely taking note of it… rather listening intently to the pings on the window pane and the rainbows trapped inside each droplet. Admiring a stranger’s jewelry; but not keeping it to yourself… complimenting her on her sterling bangles that bring back memories of a departed loved one. It’s simple. Conscious. Honest. And magical none the less.
The art of making magic takes time. And a concerted effort to train yourself to view life in a new way. It’s taken me years; but I can promise that with continued effort, it becomes a 6th sense, almost second nature and with it comes a very rewarding and grateful perspective on life.
One thing that helps expedite the learning curve, is to plan — to dive into the sensory experience of both routine and random moments in your day. As a couple, we make a conscious effort to talk nightly about our daily plans. Our children also take part in planning so that all are involved in how life is lived. It’s as simple as jotting down what needs to get done coupled with what magic you want to make together, like: serving friends and neighbors, meals for the week, looking at the stars at night with a cup of hot cocoa, a country drive listening to a new playlist, a dance party in pj’s… It’s pulling all levels of creativity together and then putting it down on paper, assigned to a specific day so that everyone ensures it happens!
The second fundamental for making magic comes from spontaneity — when you stumble upon an opportunity, or when putting into action the little special ideas that come to mind, on the spot! Think on the fly. Act on the fly. You’ll be amazed at the moments that follow, glittering with magic. Case and point, the little toy trains. We were finished with dinner, had time to sit and play, and the boys chose trains. We could have played with the wooden track and a few cars and been completely happy. But thinking in a magical kind of way: “How can we make this experience more beautiful…” brought about the suggestion to add some Christmas lights (that were lying on the floor waiting to be put back in a storage bin).
And then this magical (for lack of a better word) thing happens! When you act upon a beautiful idea more beautiful ideas follow, thereafter. Like, what about that shiny tinsel that never found a home? Let’s add that! We can borrow some pinecones from the table centerpiece to create a forest! And yes, yes, yes… someone go get the Christmas village pieces!! Oh, YOU GUYS! How about CANDY?!!! Marshmallows? Chocolate chips? Candy canes!!! Voila! A simple train turned into a spontaneous and utterly magical, Candyland Express. We played for hours. Smiled until our mouths hurt. And ate the collected candy until our bellies ached. But it was magic. Pure, unforgettable magic.
The finishing stroke of artful magic comes from its ultimate sense of wonder — love. Without it, a moment is just a moment. With it, it’s a magical lasting memory. Be present. Focus on each other. You’ll soon find yourself listening and hearing intently, watching emotions with sincerity, and appreciating the ones you’re already consciously grateful for with a greater intensity.
So here’s to 2016 — you’re ours for the making!