My magic castle

My magic castle

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Give Things A Chance To Work

When a magician works a spell he is considered inept if he has no idea what the spell is for. He is also inept if he changes his spell before the first has had a chance to work. "Of course," you agree. But have you ever reacted before you even knew if you had put in the right coins for the vending machine? Or started to ask for something better but not stated your request clearly to a friend or the universe, then felt as if your request was unfairly denied? The skillful magician makes sure requests(spells) are well made and then gives the request a chance to be heard. It is the same in healing. Many, many different things can interfere with healing. The right treatment or treatments must be found. Then, that which is causing the illness must be alleviated. The cause of illness may be one things but other things may be helping it hang on. All hindrances to healing must be pushed away. Sometimes in the search for success the final goal can not be stated. At that time the goal must be clarity or understanding. So, if your life is currently lacking in magical quality, reach out for that which is better for you. Craft your reach. Give each step a chance to work. Let magic work for you. May the spark be with you.

The Magic Of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the refusal to dwell on something, to bless it and let it go so that it no longer pulls you down. I forgive all the old do-gooders that used to preach against the seven deadly sins; greed, gluttony, sloth, wrath, pride, lust and envy. Society focused on avoiding them so much that things got twisted and we didn't know how to go towards the better behaviors connected with natural tendencies. For instance, sloth (laziness) is not a good thing. But Eric Fromm 1900-1980 the great psychoanalyst and humanistic philosopher pointed out that 'laziness is pathology'. In other words, people are not naturally lazy. If they are not putting out effort to get what they want there is some reason for that. It is the same with gluttony. Children without safe places to play and encouraged to comfort themselves with food are now considered to be a problem for the health of our nation. But calling them sinners will not change things. Self-awareness leads us to make choices about things that are good for us. Wanting things just to have things can go too far. But surrounding ourselves with beauty can also encourage a sense of spirituality. So I forgive those who tried to scare us away from considering our behaviors with the freedom to choose what is good for us. Use the energy of the magic that surrounds you to avoid sin (by whatever way you define it) and celebrate life. May the spark be with you.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Practicing Your Magical Skills

Once I defined magic as 'the ability to change perception at will'. I think magic is one of those ideas that have to be defined over and over again. Also it is one of those ideas that has no meaning until two people agree on the meaning between themselves. I ask you, therefore, to consider this definition:'Magic is that which we use to give ourselves the most fulfilling life possible.' We develop skills to give ourselves this good life. One skill is how to deal with the way negative thoughts take away our life energy. Some people resist them, others choose something else, a positive thought or finding a way of changing the channels. Since you can't 'not' think about something it is a good idea to have purposeful focus. Let me explain. I am fat. No matter what I did mentally about slimming down I was plagued by fear and negativity. Then I changed my purpose. What I am now is a health seeker, a person interested in nutrition, a person seeking to add more movement to my life. That helped me make changes more easily and also helped my self esteem. I also got results and am becoming more healthy. Another skill I have is that I know how to watch out for the spice, the zing of things. This helps me share laughter with my friends as well as having other benefits. Think about the skills you have in the way you deal with life. Make a conscious effort to make sure you have many good skills for doing this. Life is what you make of it. Make something good. Use the energy of that magic that is around you to do so. May the spark be with you.

The Wild Things

Before I had driven a block this morning I saw a pair of red foxes. This is a city but there is room for wildlife evidently. They were just walking, perhaps hunting, but didn't act as if they were out of place. Later my daughter told me she sees foxes in this residential area often. Animals are like we are, they adapt to their environment, they make a home where they find it. I have known for years that I am happier when I am around growing things. Concrete jungles devoid of greenery are not for me. I've also discovered that I take delight in watching birds and squirrels in the city. In the wild I've always looked for more of course. But now my city has more than I knew. There is more to see, more to experience, more to enjoy. There are more possibilities for adventure than I realized. When we layer dimensions on our life of experience, understanding, comprehension we become more than we were. Those foxes gave a lot to my life. Later I saw the way a mother played with her child and that also enriched my life. Whatever, or whoever you let delight you enriches your life. That is part of the magic that surround you. Use it to bring yourself joy. May the spark be with you.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Magic of Synchronicity

We are constantly urged to use our mind to develop habits and strategies to bring us success. But we cannot control everything. It is also well to use our minds to perceive the coincidences that come our way. Synchronicity is a term for meaningful coincidences. Depak Chopra says that coincidences are signs of new probabilities. The world may have magical events waiting to happen in your life. Be open to those possibilities. It was a small thing years ago to befriend a guest lecturer at my school. His pink cheeks and blue eyes reminded me of my grandfather anyway, so it was no trouble. But that chance meeting led to a bond being formed between myself and Dr. Nicholas Zernov that broadened my life a great deal in the realm of travel, greater self-esteem, intellectually and emotionally. I was the graduate teaching assistant who had to take over the class because the professor was gone for the day and another professor needed a larger audience for his guest. I had nothing prepared so I was happy to join my class to the other. Coincidences abound. They are a sign of the magic that surrounds us. Embrace those that call to you. That is what gives them their meaningfulness. Embrace the fullness of life. May the spark be with you.

Friday, June 25, 2010

How Are You Smart? How Is Your SQ?

In 1995 Daniel Goleman wrote a book called 'Emotional Intelligence' in which he pointed out the importance of well balanced emotional health for life success. A person's EQ was looked upon as important as one's IQ. Character education became part of the curriculum in many school districts and parents and educators began to look at a more wholistic view in raising and educating children. Since this is a life-long process we can all look at ourselves in a more broad and nurturing way. We can appreciate that we are multi-faceted gems. It is not just the "positive" emotions that can help us, however. Every emotion has its purpose. I suggest that the ability to recognize our silliness is a very good thing. We worry and pressure ourselves because we do want to succeed. That is good. Unless the worry pulls us down too much.
The pressure keeps us focused so we do see signs of change or progress. However, the silly thing is that we may perceive an absence of pain or angst and fail to celebrate it as the milestone it is on the road to our goal. I suggest you cultivate the ability to laugh at yourself. Not to put yourself down. But as a way to notice when you get an aha moment and almost missed it. Develop a Silliness Quotient. Make games. Look for every sign you can find of progress. Notice your stupidity and silliness. Love yourself for noticing it and changing it. Life is one big long learning process. Since so much is brand new it's a wonder we ever get anything right. But we do. That is a magical thing. Use the energy of the magic around you to walk forward courageously, noticing all the different ways you are smart. Let your silliness teach you. May the spark be with you.

The Magic Of Memories As Resources

There are memories that are just pleasant pictures, memories that haunt us and memories that act as resources for us. These are reminders of our inner strength. Those memories can be very helpful to us. For instance, one distant very cold winter in Denver it was hard to walk from the bus stop to my cozy warm home. I had to tell myself that if I could get a few sections of sidewalk farther I could make it even farther. Too much ice to run and the snow was deep as well. Chanting that if I could make it to one spot I could make it to the next helped me ignore the cold enough to keep from suffering, made it kind of a game, and soon enough I would be in out of the cold. That's a mild example of times I have called on my inner resources but it's one of the many I can call up to remind myself that I can "hang in there, baby." I have overcome shyness, fear, despair, confusion and more. If I don't have a memory that is strong enough I can imagine how it would have been if I had been able to do something a little better than I did. If I learned to count to ten I can imagine learning to count to one hundred and I will know I have the resources to do more. The wave of "I can't" that hits us when we contemplate something hard doesn't need to stop us. It is just a reminder that it is well to be prepared. Prepare for the difficult. Then we can marshal our resources and take on the challenge. If you learned to walk, talk, feed yourself or any of the other things you have already done in your life you have abilities to do wondrous things. Go for more. May the spark be with you.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Hidden Blossoms

Our life is a process of discovery. We discover our fears, our loves, our talents, our sins against our self, our resources. Sometimes we wish we had made those discoveries earlier in our life. Other times it is well that the discovery waited until we were ready for it. What needs to flower in your life? How can you tell? There are many ways to nurture the flowering of our hidden blossoms if we will but look for them. Look at the news stories you pay attention to, at the T.V shows you watch, at the things you urge others to do, at the books you read from cover to cover versus the ones you skim through quickly. What is hard for you to do yet you still work to do it? I have learned for myself that I have beliefs that I share with others but dislike the stridency with which they try to sell those beliefs. That is why I think humor is such a wonderful gift. I revel in color and craftsmanship. I like complexity that is not so complex it can't be perceived. I like to talk with other people. I like to learn and see others learn. There are certain parts of the world I would like to see if subversion is possible, such as enclaves of power where human rights are ignored. As the magician of your own life I call you to look for your own secrets that are waiting to open up and enrich your life. Use the energy of the magic around you to let some of this awareness come
to you. You will live better having a deeper dimension to your goals. May the spark be with you.

The Magic Of Free Association

Free association, or as it's sometimes called, day dreaming, is fun and very useful. Even though little boys in the classroom get scolded for it, letting your mind wander has many benefits. In business, when an idea for a new product or process is needed the people involved in solving the problem are encouraged to sit around a table and brain storm. In therapy free association in encouraged for healing purposes. But the ordinary magician can also benefit from letting the mind take trips. For one thing, you will be reminded that we live in a big glorious world, one in which problems may not be as important as you are trying to make them. Or you may realize that there are many solutions available for your problems. Ideas will come to you when you loosen up your mind to allow those ideas to come in. Sometimes I like to rest myself by looking at different objects around me and wondering about their origin. I may see a certain color of blue, perhaps the blue of the Greek flag, and I will imagine myself on a trip to that country. To make daydreaming easy just lean back, let your eyes go into a soft focus or close, and let the images and ideas come. Sometimes you may want to pick a theme before you start your trip. But don't be too rigid. The ideas and awareness you need will come to you. Take time to benefit from a bit of free association. May the spark be with you.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Things that don't move can be balanced. But our lives need to flow forward in balance. We have different forces in play, some of which are opposed to each other, and so we have to work for that balance. One of the most common ways of getting out of balance is when our drive for achievement is in opposition to our need for self appreciation. It is easy to get upset with ourselves if we are not achieving at the rate or in the way we wish for. That dissatisfaction can be helpful at times, giving us an incentive to try hard enough to gain the goals we want. But it can also be destructive. We have to remember not to 'beat up on ourselves'. One way we can balance the drive to achieve with the need to be proud of ourselves is to more fully appreciate what we have done. There are many steps to accomplish in each task. Give yourself credit for each one of those. If you drove across the city safely, that is a major accomplishment. Many car crashes are reported on each traffic report. Give yourself credit for a good thing. If you took the trouble to face the idea of taking on a hard task, that too is good. In time you will take it on. If you continue to nurture yourself you will have the energy to finish that task. Balance is best achieved through awareness. When you go back over your day in the evening, you can look for ways that balance may have needed to be helped out, or you can appreciate the times you day was in a good balance. In the morning when you are contemplating your day you can plan on ways to ways to avoid getting out of balance. There is a business planning tool called CPM or critical path management. In any project there will be a part that will require more time, or energy or resources than other parts. It is critical that that part of the project be allocated the needed resources. Maybe you have a critical time when you will be worn out but need to face something tough. Plan ahead for ways to deal with that time of day. Hook into the energy of the magic around you to keep your life in balance. May the spark be with you.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Magical Patterns

From birth our brain is wired to look for patterns of a visual nature. The mother's face that peers over us is a mandala, which is a pattern that promotes brain development. Later we can perceive patterns in sound, in events, and in movement. The process for rehabilitation from a brain injury often involves relearning the regular movements of crawling, as the rhythm of moving our appendages back and forth in rhythm also helps the brain grow. Sometimes random events take place which we perceive as a pattern because of the way it triggers ideas and insight. We then take these events as signs or omens. This is where your power as your own maker of magic can come into play. You can take anything for a sign and use it to trigger positive behaviors or insights. That is a way to hook into the energy of the magic that surrounds us. If you see an eagle you can use that for a motivation to soar above petty squabbles, to be loyal to your mate, to be playful, all of which are attributes of the eagle. Verdant green lawns can trigger you to nurture the earth or your money.
We choose what we perceive and what we think about. Look for, listen for, be aware of patterns that will help your life flow, help your life have meaning, help you live the life you want. May the spark be with you.

The Magic Of Taking Stock

There are many ways to take stock. When we count our blessings we are taking stock in an enjoyable way. When we fill out our 'do list' we are taking stock in another way. I would like to suggest another way of focusing on our life to see if it is on the right track. Take time to stop and look for the magic. There are spots of fun and joy. There are little special touches you can add, like the way a chef will slice and fan a strawberry, or put a dash of nutmeg on a custard. Or perhaps you can note the word play you caught. Like a memory I have of handing my daughter, maybe 35 years ago, a mint at a restaurant. She asked how I knew she wanted it and I told her I was her Fairy Godmother. She replied that yes, she knew I was her Very Good Mother. Morning bird song. Roses that are pretty and have a good smell as well. It is important to stop and take stock, to see where you are. Check our where you need to place effort, what you have to be thankful for, and what abounds around you to make life a little more special, a little more livable, a little more magical. It is the joy and zing that will help you hold on to the gratitude as well as put out the effort to nurture relationships and accomplish tasks. Use that energy to keep yourself going. May the spark be with you.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Magic Of Effort

A lot of coaches have put up slogans in the gym like this: When the going gets tough,the tough get going. I'm sure many have seen it or had it quoted to them. It is worth thinking about. The extra bit of effort that you have to put out to keep your attention on your driving, to keep from giving up when you are learning something, to stay calm when you are trying to communicate and can't find the right words, to keep going when you are afraid it isn't going to pay off; all these various times you have to put out the extra push are more important than you know. To do the extra you have to reach down inside of yourself and gather up the strength you may not have known you had. If you practice acting on the principle "The little extra is far better than good enough" your life will greatly improve. Sometimes you may have to get a burst of energy to do the extra, other times it may be a matter of endurance. Whether you have to get a run on something or just hang in there, I urge you to put out the effort it takes to make things right, to put your signature on them. If you plan to lift a weight ten times, it won't hurt to go one or two more. If you meant to say hello to a neighbor, it won't hurt to truly smile and ask about their life. If you are doing something creative, it won't hurt to hunt for a way to add a bit of zing. The magic that surround you can help you with the energy to put out a good effort at what you do. You will enjoy the benefits. May the spark be with you.

The Magic Of Attention

"What you pay attention to grows" (Deepak Chopra, M.D. in Creating Health) This is similar to the ideas I discussed about practice: practice strengthens things whether in a negative or positive way. The things you focus on are important. If you give attention to negative thoughts they will grow. You will become more aware of them. You become more spiritual and healthy as you become more self aware. As you become more aware you are better able to make good choices. There are different kinds of and different levels of attention. A tight hovering kind of attention is less apt to be beneficial than a broad, relaxed attention. Our inner self will tell us when something is positive or negative, especially if we practice awareness to the inner voice. When you feel tight (or uptight, as is often the case) you can try to acknowledge that, then broaden your field of awareness. You can say to yourself, "I am able to take in a broader awareness, I am aware that I can choose to focus on something other than this. I can look for other colors, hear other sounds, be aware of other movements. I am my own magician and I can resist evil spells." Goals on which you focus are more apt to be reached. Health becomes more part of your life as you pay attention to it. Let the energy of magic help you guide your attention in wonderful ways. May the spark be with you.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Magic Of Choice

Let us savor and explore the idea of choice. When it is stressful to constantly be making decisions we can choose habits that will free us up to focus on what we want to focus on. When we feel smothered by those habits we can choose to change them. We can choose our thoughts. That is a miracle in and of itself. No matter how much it seems that thoughts bombard us and bring us down, each thought that we let in is one we chose. We can choose to think happy thoughts. Sometimes it has to be a game as to how we can see something to be happy about. Perhaps we can feel happy that in the midst of a depressing day we chose to look for something good. That choice is a good thing itself. Sometimes we can pat our self on the back because we have chosen to hang in there a little longer without feeling panic or getting angry. There is always choice. Research has shown now that those who choose happy thoughts have healthier bodies. It may be hard to choose positive thoughts but it can be approached as if it is a game. You can ask, "What can I think about that is happy at this moment?" Perhaps it is a memory of a past achievement, of the softness of a baby's cheek, an invention the world needs but it is just too silly to develop. Those are really the most needed, I would suspect. Silly can be very good. You have the freedom to choose your choices, to imagine them, to savor them, to bring them to fruition. Let the energy of magic help you in this. May the spark be with you.

The Magic Of Hope

I had a family member visit for a few days who is a health professional. She has a way of believing in health that gave me renewed life energy. I have hope that I can become healthier. The tips I got helped of course. It was that sense of 'why not?' that she exuded that was so great. I believe that this mind set is what great healers, great teachers and great leaders have naturally. I also believe that we can develop it in ourselves. Why not believe in miracles? They are all around us if we will but look. Why not believe in magic? It too abounds. To develop the habit of hope start out small. To hope for things that you fear are really impossible will set you up for anxiety. Hope for sunshine, for smiles, for good ideas, for common sense, for awareness. You will soon see that you are receiving and appreciating those things in abundance. Then move on to flexibility and tolerance. I hope that I can create laughable and memorable characters for my books from some of the terribly irritating people I run into too often. I hope I can have some more enjoyable experiences like I have already had. (I know I will.) I hope I remember to enjoy the roses that are blooming in my yard. I hope I appreciate the blessings that will come to me. To use hope to improve your life use it like a small paint brush in the hands of a great artist, lovingly paint small areas of the big picture. Let the energy of magic help you decide where to paint your hope. Small and loving is the best way. You will soon see bigger results. May the spark be with you.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Practice of Wellness

In my experience the people who most cry out for the need for change are those who practice resisting change. They practice looking down. They practice reciting their troubles. They practice feeling hopeless. An exercise that would help them, I believe, would be to take a page from the ballet dancers at practice. They have a big mirror and can watch themselves if they wish. But I would suggest that there be multiple mirrors so the watchers can watch themselves watching themselves watching themselves...and so on. When the mirrors stretch far enough it it harder to focus on the little scab that some like to pick at until it becomes a big wound. The practice of wellness calls for us to distance from trauma, to bless it and let it go, and to practice giving ourselves nurturing thoughts and experiences. Traumas happen. They take time, sometimes longer than realized, to heal. But there is an interlacing of goodness that starts to come right away as well. Let friendships happen. Enjoy the goodness they bring. Let joy come your way. If all you can get is five good minutes at a time, that is cause for celebration. Five good minutes is better than none. The seeds of wellness are small. But they take root easily and grow well if given a chance. Experiment with practicing small bits of wellness. Try breathing deeply. Drink plenty of water. Pay attention to your nutrition. Move. Smile. Get sleep. The magic that surrounds you will help you move towards higher and higher levels of wellness, physically and mentally, if you will just dare to reach out a bit. May the spark be with you.

Two More Flowers

The change garden has so many things that cause change it's a wonder that things ever get blocked or stand still. Our job as 'those meant to live the good life' is to choose change agents that fit us and our goals. One of the most healing things we can do for ourselves, when healing is the needed change, is to focus on a good fact, then let a good feeling arise from that good fact. Let that good feeling swell until it can be used to sooth and heal. Another catalyst is listening--listening to yourself or listening to others. It is amazing how healing it can be to have a willing ear. Listening is more that just hearing. Listening involves thinking about what is heard. When you tell an anecdote, you may find yourself discovering the reason you chose to tell that particular story. Just being aware of the message that comes through opens the door to change. So open your heart, open your ears and the spark will find a way to help you bring about desired change. Listen to your inner self to decide what the needed changes will be. Then reach out for ways to bring them about. The energy of magic that is everywhere will help. May the spark be with you.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

More Magic Flowers

There are many magic flowers in the garden of catalyst. All change agents are flowers that you can pick and appreciate. I have mentioned before about ways to change your perceptions or mood. If you can change your mood you can often move on to change your life. If any of these sound familiar they may still be useful to you. Change of position is a common change flower. If you are down you may be hanging your head down or looking down towards the ground. Look up towards the sky, towards blessings from heaven, towards life and it is hard to continue the negative chattering you have going on in your ear. Another change of position that can be helpful is to throw back your shoulders and free up your breathing. It is hard to take in the breath of life if you are all hunched over. You can also lift your palms to the sky and release all manner of things you no longer need to hold on to. The way you hold your body has a great deal to do with the energy you use. Experiment with position to find good energy for yourself. Your moods and movements affect the people around you. If you stand tall you will help others to stand tall. If you hold on to defeatist positions it will cause those around you to have less energy for joy and goodness in their life. So reach out for the energy of magic that is around you and find ways to position yourself to receive all the goodness you deserve. May the spark be with you.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kindness Is Another Flower

Another flower, an important one, in the garden of catalyst is kindness. Kindness can change much. Sometimes it is as simple as putting a lilt into your voice when you report a good fact. If I score well on a test and I hear the score in a flat voice I don't feel as well about myself as I do when I hear it with a sense of 'well done' in the voice of the one reporting it. The person receiving kindness finds it almost impossible not to respond with a positive change in their mood or even their behavior. Help is sometimes thought of as kindness. Sometimes it is kind to help but consideration is the important component that must be in help actions. Many times people have tried to help individuals or even nations but been surprised when their actions were not well received. Kindness should not be done for the purpose of change. Just out of consideration. But change is ofter the result. So I suggest for the purposes of working magic for yourself in your own life you look for ways to be kind to yourself. Perhaps you have to resist the urgings of others by asserting your own needs. Perhaps you need to rearrange your schedule or purchase something. Let the spark of magic that surrounds you give you the energy to act. Be kind to yourself in a purposeful way. May the spark be with you.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Flowers In The Garden Of Catalyst

A catalyst is anything that brings about change. Magic is a catalyst. There are many kinds of catalysts. One of the biggest is 'acceptance'. The first law of Buddha says that life is hard. The second law says that when you accept the first law, and are no longer in conflict about that, life becomes easier. So, if you have interest, today, in being your own magician, I suggest you look around your world and see what you can accept. I have to accept a few things that need maintenance around my home. I have to accept a few things I can do to improve my health. I have to accept that there are some writing tasks I am behind on. Now those acceptances are out there I can get busy and take care of each of those things. I can change my life for the better. I can also look deeper and see other acceptances I need to make. One of my writing projects may need a little more depth and interest, maybe some humor, in the chapter I am working on. I can do that. I can enjoy not rushing with my idea about catalyst being magic onto other types, or flowers in the garden. That can come later. Right now I can enjoy the color and fragrance of this one flower, in this one spot in my garden. Magic will still have its energy. It will still abound. May you find wonderful acceptances in your magic garden today. May the spark be with you.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Paint The Whole Wall

We are often urged to be spontaneous, to paint in big strokes, to take care of the big things and the little things will take care of themselves. I am now going to point out the advantage of being thorough, inclusive and complete. Suppose you had some magic words to say to bring about a very important result. Could you afford to leave out even one word? Why do you think doctors tell us to take every one of the anti-biotic capsules they prescribe? A poorly painted wall is ugly and the blotches show up worse over time. Being careful and doing everything necessary is an important tool in magic, and in the achieving life. The planning, the preparation, the careful procedure, the attention to detail, looking for feed-back, going over the task to see if it is finished or can be done better are important and priceless parts of a well crafted whole. Then the wonderful extra presents itself--the chance for a spin-off or variations. Being careful does not lead to being slow or inefficient. Well done the first time means no need for do-overs. Focused performance does not waste time either.
Reach out now to do what you love and do it well. Action has a power to it. So does love. If you have to learn as you go, that is fine. Actually that is inevitable. Let the energy of the spark get you started on better health, better activities, a better life. May the spark be with you.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Closed Loop

Sometimes it might hit you that you are caught in a closed loop, that no matter what you do you are not getting where you want to go, or deserve to be. That "hit of awareness" is the spark of magic energy you need to start to get out of your negative situation. Like the beak of a dragon that some fantasy writers describe...(it has a sharp bit on the end to break out of the hard shell) is needed in order for you to experiment and persist until you break free. Magic, as small bursts of energy that you can draw upon, will help you do just that. Life does not have to be an endless upward progression. Cycles are good and let you visit beauty and goodness in new ways. But boxes, smothering situations, closed loops, are anti-life. So be thankful for that zing of dissatisfaction and use it. If you have ever built a fire you know to breathe on the spark of flame until it gets bigger. Use that idea to build your own flame to light your way out of hopelessness or helplessness. Magic tools you can use are: your ability to learn, your sense of dissatisfaction, information that abounds, other people are often willing to help, your ability to persist, your ability to judge what works and what doesn't. If life isn't working for you in some way or another, do not lose faith, but know that the very fact that you are dissatisfied is a step up from being unaware. It is a start. Reach out now in many, many small ways to make a change. May the spark be with you.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Magic Of Brain Plasticity

It is a mistake to think that the way your brain works is the best it can do. Research has shown that the brain can learn to learn. I was going through old teacher materials recently and came across a lot of materials for the teaching of reading. At the top of one of the pages was this list of what were the the components of intelligence. Intelligence: The ability to recognize relationships, to think sequentially, to memorize with ease, to sustain attention and the ability to make good judgments. Every one of these can be learned. Some might be learned more quickly if engaged in with a teacher. But anyone can find materials and design a plan to help them to practice and develop each of these skills. If you start to use your brain in better ways it will respond and work better for you. For many people sustaining attention and thinking sequentially are the most difficult. That is because they let themselves get distracted easily because they are self-centered. This can be overcome with practice. To motivate yourself to develop your brain power let the energy of the spark of magic help you out. May the spark be with you.

Magic Of Dialogue

Words are meant to be heard, or read. They are meant for a dialogue. Even as we think them or speak them we are engaging in an inner dialogue with ourselves. Neither people or words are meant to exist in a vacuum. But it is a miracle when communication is clear and exchange of ideas really does take place between two people. I had an acquaintance once who would be clearly in the throes of anger but would be saying fairly calm words. If the listener mentioned that he seemed to be angry and could that be resolved, the answer would be, "Listen to my words, not my face." He was able to be controlled enough that he could choose words he hoped would steer the conversation where he thought it should go. Other times I have known people who seemed unable to enter into any give and take either, were extremely emotional about it as well, but would go on for multiple sentences trying to find some point, somehow, somewhere. In none of those cases was it likely that an actual conversation was going to take place. The key point here is that THE FIRST EXCHANGE IS NOT THE FULL EXCHANGE. It takes listening, exchange of message, more listening, clarification as to what was heard, reshaping of message and ideas in order to have dialogue. It is a great life skill. One that can always be improved upon. Reach out for the energy of the spark of magic that abounds around you and try to engage in dialogue with others. It will enrich your life. May the spark be with you.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Magic Of Carrying It Over Into Zen

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth starting as many times as it takes, it is worth pushing yourself about it over and over and over, it is worth putting it down and taking it back up day after day after day, it is worth doing as small a bit or as big a bit as you can. If it is worth doing, do it. Whether you are writing a novel or organizing your office, you have to get into the zen of it until it is done. When you are truly participating in a process or activity there is a sense of satisfaction, a lack of pressure at the doing of it that will carry you on until you reach a sense of satisfaction at a job well done. The achievement of the goal will be satisfying of course, but the doing of the work to reach that goal will have its own pull. In creative work the work seems to take on a life of its own, characters in a story seem to come to life and give you a sense of delight at their richness. But the same can happen in mundane activities like housework if you are truly involved in the task. A better place to hang a picture, a more appropriate way to store something, an easier way to clean something will make itself known. Let the spark of magic that abounds in life pull you into your work. There is a lot of joy there. May the spark be with you.

The Magic Of Counting

I am not referring to the use of numbers as some do in simplistic ways of referring to magic. The act of learning to count, of being aware of what you are doing with information, and what you have just done with information, is the beginning of higher levels of learning to use the mind. Calming yourself down so you can be clear minded, putting anxiety to one side in order to function more fully, listening for the essence of what is said, organizing ideas as to sequence or importance, are all thinking skills that some people do not learn to use. The wonderful thing about the brain is that it can be self aware and likes to learn. The rest of the body gets in on the act to help that process out. There are myriad physical sensations that you can learn to notice that are signals as to what is going on in the thinking process. The muscles, the organs, the eyes, the skin may all be giving you clues as to what ideas are whirling around in your head. Let all these messages help you form the finished thought. Suppose you want to develop your skills in organizing a project. A key word or picture can be the hook. Then try using the skill you want to develop, paying attention to what goes on with your mind as you try this out. Maybe you will feel a great tiredness, or find other distractions cropping up. Review how you did at this skill when you take a break. Try some more. Brain use is like any other skill. You keep at it, refine your attempts at it, plan ways to do it better, and remember what you have done to develop this skill. Also you must get a feel for using this skill. The feeling of listening to someone and understanding what they are saying is different from listening to them and feeling confused. Your brain is a magic tool. Learn to use it well. The spark of magic can help you take on this wonderful challenge. May the spark be with you.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Ready, Set, Go

Sometimes there is a lot of getting ready before go can be achieved. Look how long the runway for an airplane takeoff is. Pay attention to the small things as well as the big. Eat breakfast, gas up the car, look at the calendar, take a breath, tie your shoe. I've known a lot of people who just couldn't get things done because they couldn't prepare to get things done. Loans weren't repaid because the small amounts of money that went to make up the bigger payment couldn't be dedicated to that end. Getting ready takes time. That time has to have been planned for. Once all the steps in getting ready are worked out it doesn't take that long. A lot of people are well groomed and well dressed every day without taking that much time at it. But the steps have to be gone through. All this may sound too simple. It is, but it is basic, and often overlooked. If you don't pay attention to it there will be a lot of unreached goals in your life. Use the energy from the sparks of magic around you and examine your life for the dreams you want to have come true for you. Determine the steps to have that happen. Get ready and go for it. May the spark be with you.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Magic Of Love

Love is the oil that helps the gears of life mesh and turn. When all the black and whites, all the "shoulds" are said and done, it is up to love to have the final say. If you are being in too much proximity with certain people you are going to notice their foibles. If you can also notice something to love about them it is much less likely they will drive you off the deep end. Here is where the gift of magic must be acknowledged. If a person feels threatened it is hard to love. Remember the definition of magic as "the ability to change perception at will."? A centered person, a person who has made the "I AM" decision, is not at the mercy of judgment, not burdened by a fragile ego. Do not worry about whether you are loved or not. Be aware instead of who you love. Take an adventurous risk and find something to love in or about a few other people. Let your perceptions change. Love a little, live a lot. Love doesn't have to mean being stupid, just be appreciative of what you can appreciate. Let the energy of magic give you the ability to look with new eyes on those around you. Love is magic. Let it warm your heart. May the spark be with you.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Magic Of " What If?"

You can work magic in your life by taking a "What If?" trip every once in a while. What if you stood up to a bully? What if you stood up to a bully that didn't even wear the label, but had been getting away with a lot of stuff? What if you ripped away your own excuses and pushed yourself a little harder? What if you started noticing when politicians tried to walk both sides of the line? What if you insisted on having something just right, even if it took time and trouble to get it that way? What if you found a great way to display something you have collected? What if you expressed appreciation when it was due? Daring to ask yourself the "What If?" question is the first step to grabbing onto that spark of magic and working to make the changes you need. Just asking the question can be safe and a lot of fun. Then when you are comfortable with the ideas of what you want to have happen you will find you have more strength and courage than you thought. Look around. You can find ways to ask "What if I made that right or better?" many times a day. Make the sky the limit. No barriers. That will bring magic as your ally. May the spark be with you.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Magic Of Keystones

As I was thinking the word 'keystone' I was picturing the unplugging of a bottle-neck. Those are supposedly opposite concepts but sometimes a concept has two sides to be fully developed. The bottle-neck is the narrow place that impedes the flow of liquid, traffic or ideas. The keystone is the last stone to go into place in an arch. The pressure of the other stones holds it in place and make the arch stand. It then can be used as a passageway. Both things seemed to happen for me yesterday. I had built on previous understandings enough that my edifice could take shape and blockages I had been fighting were finally out of the way. Some of what freed me up to be so productive was a total shift in perception about something. Sometimes it is a good thing to see something in a totally different way. For example, if a neighbor has a bad habit of character you can resent it or see that she would make a marvelous character in a story. So reach out for that energy spark to help you focus on things in a new way. You will not be blocked or bullied by life. You are the magician and once your mind is clear magic will be there to help you create. May the spark be with you.