On the Subject of Magic

So the theme of the past year for me has been ‘Magic’.  I forgot about it, like most of us do, and realized I needed it desperately. This excerpt from my book in progress, Summoning Magic: Leaping, falling, and landing in Paris (or something to that effect) sums it up…

Definition of Magic (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

  “An extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source.                                             Something that seems to cast a spell.”

I find a sense of irony is trying to define magic, just as I do with attempts to define love or evil or god. These all have very different meanings that are dependent on each person’s beliefs and experiences. But, this is what makes us human, I suppose. Our inherent need to define all that is around us, to place all things firmly and tangibly into reality, it is what I believe to be one of the worst tragedies; most things clearly defined leave little room for the extraordinary.

Of all things intangible, magic might very well be the most elusive. It is a very real force that influences almost every moment of our childhood, allowing us to navigate our world curious, uninhibited, full of wonder, and open to every possibility. But this elusive force will inevitably succumb to its nemesis. We all must grow up, right? We all must face reality. 

So, like most people, Magic eluded me for decades, until reality had sucked all the life out of me, and I realized that the only one who could save me had gone missing.

Magic means different things for different people. It can be the thrill you feel when you throw your hands up and plunge down a roller coaster, when you hold your newborn baby in your arms, when you reunite with an old friend or laugh so hard you cry. And, it can be the spark you feel when you meet the love of your life. Perhaps you don’t think of those things as ‘magic’. Maybe you label them as joy or happiness or fleeting moments of emotion. I guess they can be those things, too. I just see them as magic.

I know that experiencing those things and realizing they are precious moments that should be sought out regularly, well, it just gets harder to do when we are older. We have responsibilities, distractions, stress and anxiety. We are in jobs we hate or relationships that aren’t working. We have been hurt and betrayed, disappointed and rejected. We become cynical. We become jaded. There is just no place for magic there.

But every once in a while, you encounter that person who has found it. This person exudes it and it is contagious. You want to be around this person as much as possible, you want to feel what they feel. You want it to work its way into you.

But this person hasn’t been through what you have, right? They don’t have the same past and stress and pain as you do. You would be ‘happy’ or ‘carefree’ or feel that magic too if you weren’t in the life that yours has become. I can’t tell you how many times I have chalked it all up to that. I judge those people. I resent them, and I envy them.

So, there I was, in my beautiful home, with my amazing husband, my precious dog, and my stable job. And I felt like the life was being sucked out of me. Yes, you can say I just don’t appreciate what I have, the grass is always greener, etc. Maybe. But let me be clear, the grass is not greener where I am sitting right now. In fact, I have never been in more pain and felt more hopeless than I have over the past 6 months.

But, I felt it. I experienced that magic that I had forgotten, that had been missing for decades. It seemingly came out nowhere, but that is not what happened. I turned my world upside down to find it. I knew it was missing, maybe not by name, but I knew if I didn’t find it, I would succumb to the reality that was killing my soul.

So, now what? I feel like I have lost it. I question whether it was magic at all. Maybe it was an illusion or delusion or a way to justify the extreme actions I have taken to find that greener grass. Maybe. But I don’t think so.

I think, what it was, no, I know what it was… it was me. I was searching for what I was missing and what I was missing was me. I was missing that girl who always sought out that magic and worked like hell to bring it to everything I did. I lost her. I conformed. I sought out normalcy and stability instead. These things just are not me. And these are the reasons why I scare the shit out of most people.

So, that is it. Sorry, but no ‘magical’ words of wisdom come to mind to share. I am a bit nervous, to be honest. If there was a time for me to be jaded, this would be it. So, I get up in the morning. I try to do things that used to make my happy. I force a smile. I force a conversation when I just want to avoid all contact and try to reconcile in my mind what the hell happened and how I landed here, heart-broken, with absolutely no idea what to do next. So, I force a smile. I force a conversation. I make myself look up and look for it, even if it is eluding me in the present moment.

That is all I can do.

So, here it one of my favorite quotes from Tom Robbins. I think it applies to all things, not just love. But I know one thing, if I ever find love again, that love that is unquestionably magical, I will fight like hell to make that additional magic…

When two people meet and fall in love, there’s a sudden rush of magic. Magic is just naturally present then. We tend to feed on that gratuitous magic without striving to make any more. One day we wake up and find that the magic is gone. We hustle to get it back, but by then it’s usually too late, we’ve used it up. What we have to do is work like hell at making additional magic right from the start. It’s hard work, but if we can remember to do it, we greatly improve our chances of making love stay.

― Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker


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