Think Magic, Not Duty
“Think magic. Think delight. Think fun. Do not think duty. Do what intrigues you. Explore what interests you.” ~Julia Cameron
One of the most beautiful moments in life happens when dreams come true. We get what we wish for and it feels wonderful, for a while.
Then things lose their luster and become familiar. Over time they can become tiresome—something we have to do or deal with.
Where did the excitement go? What happened to the ease and flow?
What happened is: reality set it.
Let me illustrate with an example.
One of my biggest dreams was to write and share what I have to say with the world. And this is the reason I started this site. When I started writing I felt energized and motivated. I wrote from the heart without much thought to anything else.
Then things changed. I started learning and trying to apply technical stuff, content layout, how to get subscribers and so on.
The deeper I got into it, the more I felt I lacked. Another thing happened at the same time: Ideas didn’t flow that easily. I needed to sit and think about what I wanted to write about.
The excitement turned into stress, struggle, doubt, and resistance.
My writing dream had this romantic notion that I would type and bring to life a cohesive article that I would publish effortlessly.
The reality is I don’t always have ideas ready that flow so easily and readers are not going to find me without any conscious effort on my part to attract them.
The dream of writing is a fantasy. The reality of becoming a writer brings with it challenges and unforeseen obstacles.
When reality doesn’t measure up to our expectations, we lose the spark.
We feel dread, we fear failure and rejection. We start doing things to get them over and done with. And that is no fun.
How can we still enjoy something in spite of obstacles and cumbersome tasks?
To answer this question we need to go back and see what happens when we experience challenges for the first time. It goes something like this.
Dream »> Work on dream »> Reality & challenges »> Thoughts and impressions »> New perspective »> We find what we’re looking for
When reality doesn’t measure up, a new thought is born, one of avoidance and dread. We interpret challenges as a bad thing.
A thought is not that harmful until we choose to believe it. The belief then shapes our perspective (the way we see the world). We start looking at things differently and we find what we’re looking for. So we find more ways to feed the dread and resistance.
Having a dream and working on it is a wonderful thing. Facing reality is unavoidable. We can’t argue with it or fight it. We will face challenges and doubts and naysayers. They’re all part of the process.
The main thing that we can change is the way we think about reality and challenges.
How do we change the way we think?
The answer is: Think magic. Look for magic instead of duty and obligation.
I loved the quote above. It resonated with me immensely. I’ve been trying to find the right words and attitude to do the things I love to do with minimal struggle and resistance. I want to look forward to doing something, instead of having to coerce myself to work on it.
So I started thinking. What does it mean to think magic?
It’s about suspending fear and limitation and opening up to the possibilities of the unknown. We don’t know what we will get. But we’re willing to be pleasantly surprised.
Trust is about going with what feels right without much thought and deliberation.
Magic is about having fun for its own sake, without expecting a specific outcome or trying to find meaning. It’s about indulging the senses and relishing the flavors. There is no need to understand, explain, or justify.
A thought that is not tainted by expectations and ego is pure and magical. The best thoughts and ideas come to us usually without much pondering and analysis.
To think magic is to look with wonder and intrigue at this mysterious and fascinating world. To see the remarkable in each moment realizing that it’s a brand new beginning and a final ending.
Nothing we do, even if it seems the same on the surface, is exactly the same. Each breath is different, each move, each word, thought or step is different. We’re always saying hello and goodbye. We can meet each brand new moment with curious thoughts—allowing ourselves to explore it for the very first and last time.
When we think of beauty, we see the magnificent within the intricate details of reality. We appreciate the small and grand, the quiet and loud, the boring and exciting. Anything and everything is enough.
Thinking magic is about embracing reality for what it truly is—an evolving elegant and miraculous expression of life that’s taking place right now.
To put these ideas into practice, I tried to think magic doing something I usually dread.
Thinking magic in practice
In the past week I did my income taxes (not a favorite task) using the thinking magic method. Here is what I did.
1. Let resistance and fear be. I felt the resistance and avoidance, smiled and realized that I don’t have to stop because my mind wants to. I trusted my gut feeling and didn’t think too much.
2. Look for the remarkable in the smallest of things. I started thinking about the magical plan and brilliant execution behind creating tax software. I felt grateful for the technology that helps me do taxes with very little effort.
3. Think small and simple. I chose to focus my thoughts on one thing at a time: documents and slips, then software, then entering data one item at a time.
Thinking magic was followed by magical action, one step at a time.
A magical step is:
Really tiny. It gets done with little time and doesn’t take a great deal of effort. Looking at tax software, signing up online, gathering tax slips all took less than 10 minutes each.
Slow and deliberate. Each action gets the attention it deserves without rushing. I entered the information, one slip at a time, and double-checked each one before moving on to the next one.
Focused on this moment. Doing one thing without much thought to what’s coming after or what happened before. No multi-tasking or jumping from one thing to another. One step, one thought, one action, one direction. If I remembered something that I needed to check, I wrote it down and continued with what I was doing. The result was accurate entry, and less errors and interruptions. Magically, I spent less time on the project than prior years.
Our thoughts shape our perspective, which shapes our experiences.
The one thing that we can change is our thinking. We don’t need to think positive and ignore the negative. What we need to do is look for the beauty within both the negative and positive—to look for the magic, the intrigue, and the fun. This is how we change our perspective.
And once we put on our new perspective glasses, we see the magic in everything and everyone.