magic

Lesson of the Mirror

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People were complex bits of total awesomesauce and hotmess. We all had baggage no one would ever see because people could also be very judgemental. So we rarely opened up to them, preferring to live a somewhat detached version of ourselves to remain safe. While I understood the desire to be safe, I’d found opening up could be an amazing experience, even if I risked momentary damage to the softer parts of my soul.

A good friend of mine had someone in his life I’d grown very fond of. She was a bit on the extreme spiritual side, but her perspective often caused me to look at situations from a completely different angle. I cherished her wisdom, even though I didn’t connect the dots the same way she did because my experiences were unique to me.

When she and I first met, my friend warned me that she could be a meddling busybody and ultimately only cares about herself. He said she was superficial and judgemental. While this may have been his experience knowing her, I’d found her to be honest, direct, and insightful.

Over the years, I’d run into this time and again. One or several people denounced someone else, which led to some invisible, unspoken line of separation. But we often forget…

“The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to

every man the reflection of his own face.

Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly upon

you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind

companion; and so let all young persons take

their choice.” ― William Makepeace Thackeray

 

 

When you found that elusive inner peace, you saw the world through a different eyes. No enemies, no judgement, no invisible foes intent on causing you pain. Instead, you’d see the goodness of all men. And let me tell you, there’s a hell of a lot more good in people than anything else.

When people constantly saw an enemy in the face of what otherwise might be a friend, it was a reflection of something within them. A part of themselves that usually was their own worst enemy. Lets face it, no one could put us down the way we could, right?

Have you looked in the mirror lately? Can you do it without turning away? Is the reflection the one you hoped to see? Can you look in your own eyes and see love looking back? Or do you glance away quickly so as not to be forced to face all the things you can’t stand about yourself?

Many years ago a dear friend had me do an exercise I’ve started again, and one I’d like you to try.

For the next thirty days, stand in front of the mirror close enough to look in your eyes directly without distraction. It’ll be difficult at first, you’ll want to look away, but resist the urge, and say…

“I love you.”

“You are precious, and I’m here to keep you safe.”

“You are an incredible person, and I’m so thankful to know you.”

“You…” get the idea.

Say all the things you’d wished a friend, parent, lover, or spouse might say.

At first, you won’t believe it. Your mind will contend this is the dumbest thing you’ve ever done, and that idiot who wrote this post is completely insane. Why? Because we’re not used to loving ourselves, we’re not used to saying good things about the person we’ve become. We listen to all the people, who were just seeing a reflection of themselves in you, as a repetitive stream in our heads of why we aren’t worthy.

“The beginning of love is to let those we love

be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them

to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only

the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”

~ Thomas Merton

 

How many times a day do you twist to fit someone else’s image of who you should be or what you should do? How often have you tried to reflect back what you think someone wants to see, then find they no longer want to be your friend?

I’m far from being a saint, but I do cherish the teachers who come into my life. And recently I met one who reminded me of the lessons of the mirror, and that when I’m at peace and my intentions are focused on love, don’t twist anything about myself to make someone more comfortable. Because ultimately, people only see in others a reflection of what is inside themselves.

During that brief span of weeks, I couldn’t face myself in the mirror. Now I looked without turning away and saw exactly what I’d hoped to see once again.

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Categories: allowing the positive, angels on earth, choosing faith, conscious choices, magic, peace, relationships, the universes we create, unconditional love | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Magic of Writing

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Children amaze me. Not just their eternal sense of wonder, but their keen insight into worlds we adults no longer see.

Bug is planning her first series. She’s twelve-years-old. That’s right, not even a teenager and she’s begun to plan out something many adults struggle with daily.

She said to me tonight, “All writers are magicians. We all just have different magic tricks.”

The conversation came about as most do — the two of us planning out mom and Bug activities. She began by suggesting brainstorming session where we help each other through ‘stuck’ parts of our plots. (Yeah, I love this kid.)

I told her, “If you make the world real for your characters, then it will be real for your readers. ”

“Like magic,” she said. “I love writing because we can build entire worlds and make people think they’re real. Like my Warrior Cat books. I believe in Warrior Cat clans because the writers did such a good job with the details. They explained everything like it was real. So it is.”

Out of the mouth of munchkins.

We often forget the power we have as writers. Think about it, we create universes. And done well, people can live in them for a brief time. Done exceptionally well, people find hope and wisdom in the lives of fictional characters and worlds.

But we didn’t come by this knowledge through chance. These are hopes and dreams we carry with us. Wisdom we’ve learned by beating our heads against enough walls until we finally broke through to some sort of truth. Our personal truth.

We only hedge to write what we’ve learned because of fear. Fear of judgement, fear we can’t say it like we’ve learned it, fear someone will stand up and say, “You’re full of crap.”

Kids don’t have this fear because it’s a learned behavior. They don’t yet recognize the voices saying it can’t really happen, something like that can’t possibly exist. Nope, they still wait by the windowsill, looking for Peter Pan to whisk them away. They still believe in a tribe of cats, healing the sick with ancient natural recipes.

They still believe.

Somewhere along the line we adults stop believing in magic. Not all, but most. We got caught up in bills and responsibilities and reality. Yuckers. The magic inside us, the one still seeing fairies dance on toadstools, dissipates or disappears, leaving us neck-deep in what must be real. Because fairy tales are childish things, not fit for grown-ups like us.

This is the death sentence of grown-up reality.

We as writers must step back into childhood, into the magic of other worlds we create in our heads. Though responsibilities linger, we must remember stories are crafted for play, crafted by the magic within us. It’s the only way to make them real for our readers. If we can’t believe that these universes exist, how can we then possibly expect our readers to live in them?

We can’t. More accurately, we don’t have the right to ask anyone to buy into worlds we ourselves don’t completely and totally play in. Otherwise, we run the risk of being hypocrites. Really, think about it, asking someone to accept something we don’t. Just doesn’t sit right, does it?

Pen and paper, keyboard and screen, we are magicians. If only for moment, we conjure through words — our slight of hand the plot twists and stories secrets of characters and worlds. We must be able to step away from our inner perfectionist and all the industry jargon that chokes away the play in our writing.

We must believe fairy tales are real. It’s the only way to absolutely convince our readers that our pens are wands and our universes are playgrounds for their minds.

 

Categories: belief, children, innocence, magic, the universes we create, writing, writing is play | Tags: | 3 Comments

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