I am five years old. I walk into the kitchen to find my mom,
"Mom? If I told you I was magic, would you believe me?"
With a smile and a soft chuckle, she replies, "Magic? No. I wouldn't believe you were magic." then turns back to what she is doing.
I am heartbroken and quietly walk into the other room.
My sweet mom had no idea how this impacted me then nor, I'm sure, did she give it a second thought after. (Though I imagine she may have kept an eye on me for awhile to make sure my baby brother didn't "disappear.")
What interested me most was how often this memory surfaced over the years and each time it did, I would be transported back to that same feeling of disappointment I felt that day.
—Why had that brief exchange affected me so?
I try to do what I call “free flow writing” on a regular basis. It’s basically just being in the flow and allowing whatever comes out to come out without analyzing it or even really tuning into it until you have finished. It can be very revealing and as such, a good form of self-therapy. It's also just a way to open up and allow ideas to flow through you more freely. In one such "free flow" session during a stay in Italy I wrote:
Magic is just a matter of perspective. I felt this phrase alone had many layers to it. In one sense, the word "magic" within the analogy of the magic show is used to indicate something that seems impossible by our current understanding or standard of measurement. If we think about it, something is only impossible when we don't have an explanation for how it can be accomplished. If we move from the audience to the magician's vantage point, we have the answers—we can explain how something is accomplished. With a simple change of perspective, the impossible becomes the possible.
Many aspects of our everyday lives contain what were once only dreams or fantasy; left in those realms for many years.
What a leap to think that we would not only be able to fly, but we would be able to lift hundreds of human beings off the ground in tons of steel and travel thousands of miles around the world.
Take the airplane, for one grand example. For centuries, the idea of flight for a human being seemed impossible. Early humans dreamed of being able to fly like the birds in the skies, but how far beyond their grasp–what magic–must that have seemed? At some point, some began to have faith that flight would eventually be achieved, but even then, did they imagine it would be as it is today?
Magic is just a matter of perspective.—The "just" in the phrase points to the fact that it is a simple shift. It doesn't take much to come at life from a different angle, to have a completely different experience, all it takes is just a little shift in perspective. Stepping outside of our conditioned way of thinking and often chaotic mode of living for even just a few moments, we experience the limitless potential all around us.
Meditating on a flower or a tree–the whole of nature–offers many avenues to this place of understanding.
Once we are moving through life tuned-in, open and aware, we operate with a deep sense of knowing. From that vantage point, it seems ridiculous to resolutely stand in one place and proclaim, "This is all there is." History itself has proven that wherever we are in our knowledge of what is— will change. Why do we (human beings) so often cling to what we know now rather than allowing for all possibilities?
Imagine what we could accomplish if we all made a conscious effort to lift our preconceived notions about what is and is not possible; if we taught our children less conformity and celebrated individuality more. The great innovators throughout the ages had this ability. They were able to think “outside the box” in order to allow what seemed impossible to become reality for all of us. Doing so was often at the expense of being ridiculed, ostracized...some even lost their lives for daring to think outside of society’s accepted norms. How fortunate for us that they were motivated to look beyond the confining ideas and ideals of their time and the constraints of conformity others tried to impose.
In everyday life, we have the opportunity over and over again to reinvent ourselves and our current reality. We can take any interaction we have with another person; any problem we perceive we have—any mundane, everyday occurrence and create something completely different.
We have this ability to change moment-by-moment because what we are currently experiencing is simply dictated by our chosen (or unconsciously adopted) viewpoint. A shift in perspective is magical, because it opens up worlds of possibility where we had previously seen closed doors.
I've come to realize that little 5 year old girl in the kitchen that day was talking about possibilities and potentiality—in her terms "magic." She was still tuned-in as children are, to her own endless potential. It's not always easy, to be sure, but I try and remind myself every day to think of her—and to keep the doors open.
In a "full circle" moment, the other day a little neighbor friend of mine was visiting and asked me: "Do you believe in magic?" I found myself answering without hesitation: "Yes. Because anything is possible, right?" She looked pleased and repeated, "Yes. Anything is possible."