My magic castle

My magic castle

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Put a Dusting of Magic on Your "Shoulds"

Magic is doing things to bring goodness and joy into your life.  Sometimes these things are not so much fun.  We often hear that you mustn't "should" on yourself, as a way of saying that it is not good to stress yourself.  This seems to catch us between a rock and a hard place. It seems to me that the only solution is magic.  First you must shake your magic wand at the "shoulds" and decide which one of the pressing tasks will actually bring goodness into your life.  The ones that are on your list because you are trying to please some demon, like keeping up with the neighbors, put to one side.  Then sprinkle a dusting of magic on the tasks that are good for you to do.  This can be done in many ways.  Use as much playful imagination as you can.  Do a royal gesture as you dub the task with a royal name.  Raise your eyebrow and arch your back as you begin.  Or label the task as your mission of the the day.  Put a flag by the mountain of dishes you must do, like the flag explorers raise when they claim a new land for their queen.  Imagine that you have finished the task and a victorious fanfare is being played.  Whatever you do, do not let stress conquer you.  In the past you may have avoided certain tasks because it stressed you to deal with them.  Then that procrastination caused other problems which led to more stress.  Now that you are a wise magician you can find a way to go forth in glory.  Do as you will, even when you should.  May the spark be with you.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Amazing Magic of the Self

Sometimes the most amazing insights about magic come from the most mundane sources.  I was reading an article about being resilient but I wasn't finding it very well-written so I was about to put it down.  It mentioned a person's inner resources and I started to ponder on that term.  I decided to make a list of inner resources a person might have.  I started with listing things like 'the ability to know when things are right', 'the ability to know when things are wrong', 'the ability to persuade others to help you' and so on.  When I considered how hard it actually is to learn to walk and talk and how people learn that willingly, I knew I was on to something.
People naturally have and develop a myriad of resources.  I stopped my list after I had covered two pages.  I sat back in amazement.  People are probably a lot more capable than we  let ourselves realize.  We learn from our mistakes.  We learn from our successes.  We learn from others.  We learn from imagining things and trying them out.  I suggest to all wise magicians that the next time you are feeling less than capable you break off that chain of thought.  Remember all the capabilities that you do have.  Maybe you just need to approach things from a different angle or get another teacher.  Another resource you have is the ability to comfort yourself and to hope.  Let the energy of the magic that surrounds you give you courage to believe in and appreciate yourself.  May the spark be with you.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Magic of Creating Recipes

Once you know a few basics about cooking, such as that yeast is not the only leavening agent for bread, it is a natural thing to start putting your own spin on your cooking. By customizing your cooking you can save money, meet the nutritional needs of your family in a better way, and feel the joy of doing things your own way.  Each time you are successful at doing things your own way you are enhancing your magical abilities, becoming a stronger person and making your life less stressful.  There is a new buzzword going around, 'locovore '.  That refers to eating food from your own area as much as possible.  It will be fresher and therefore more nutritious and often less expensive.  I want to share a recipe that my daughter created last year that we quite like.  It is a wonderful spin on mashed potatoes.    Boil separately (as they cook at different rates) white potatoes and sweet potatoes or yams. Yams have a brighter color so I recommend them for this.  Mash them together and add  onion pieces, corn kernels, and diced red peppers. You can substitute sour cream or cream cheese for the butter in the mashing.  Cover with cheese and put in the oven until the cheese melts. Serve and enjoy.  For a family of four; 1 onion, 1 package of frozen corn or a couple of cobs from your garden, 1 red pepper and 3 yams and 3 white potatoes (Idaho, Russet, or Yukon Gold).  It is your choice of cheese; cheddar, Colby, Swiss or what ever you like.  You will want leftovers because it is wonderful the second day as well. I recommend to all wise magicians that you do all you can to take charge of eating tasty, low sodium, nutritious meals.  If you live in a food desert, in which you don't have good stores near you nor access to home grown food, join with your neighbors to correct that.  Sometimes stores will move into a neighborhood if petitioned. Doing magic is taking action to bring good to your life.  Bring the joy of good eating to your table.  May the spark be with you.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Always Remember: Magic is Well-formed

That magic is well-formed is one of the basic principals of magic.  I recently became aware of the importance of this when I was working on something and it just wouldn't fall into place.  I was feeling anxious about it and considered dropping the whole attempt to work it out.  But I kept at it, tweaking here and there and then trying different things to get the result I wanted. However,  the attached anxiety made it very hard to hang in there.  Then suddenly everything fell into place.  I not only felt satisfied with what I had done but I also felt strong in my sense of purpose.  As I looked back over the hard time I had endured I realized that the nerves had been a signal to me to keep on keeping on, that I had not yet reached the well-formed point. When I did reach well-formedness I was at peace.  Wise Magicians, professionals and craftsmen all all have this in common: they know when something is right, when they can take pride in it and  they are willing to continue to work until they have the result they want.  After this experience I feel more confident that I can weather the storm in trying to work on creative projects, that I can endure the feeling of chaos and doubt, and that I will eventually prevail in creating a well-formed work of magic.  Magic is what you do when you want to bring something better to your life.  Sometimes 'good-enough' is acceptable.  But if you set out to work magic, to create something fine in which you can take pride, you must follow that inner drive until you feel that sense of peace in doing what you set out to do.  If you remember that the energy of magic that surrounds us wants to work with us, then you can hang in there during the tough time.  They say it is always darkest before the dawn.  Reach out to bring good into your life and do not fear that it may be difficult.  Good wants to come to you.  May the spark be with you.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Magic of Lighting a Candle

When you light a candle you are making a strong action.  You are also making a magical action.  Remember that magic is the act of bringing more goodness into your life.  A candle invokes the energy of fire, with the warmth and light of fire, but without the destructive aspect.  However, you can also light a candle to remind yourself of the way fire cleanses and brings forth new beginnings.  Many times we get caught up in a life of habitual actions, of just passively going through motions.  We must combat the ennui that can result with a decisive act.  A symbolic way to declare that we are going to be more active in shaping our own destiny is to light a candle.  A candle can shine in dark places.  A candle can be a beacon of hope in dark times.  A candle can remind us to draw on the energy of the magic that surrounds us.  A candle can be lit to dispel fear.  A candle's light can be shared with other people. I suggest to all wise magicians that you look at your life and see if it would be good to boldly light a candle for yourself and the world.  You can stand up for your own truth.  You can be warmed by the gentle warmth of a candle's flame.  If you have been living in the shadows you can bring yourself into a better place by this simple action.  Light a candle and you will find it easier to do other things to bring goodness into your life.  May the spark be with you.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Magic Cloak

A magic cloak is part of the tool kit for the hero in many stories.  The cloak protects, nurtures, comforts, and gives extra powers to the hero.  Happiness does the same thing for a person.  I have recently read that being happy will make your brain work 30% better.  Here is where a Wise Magician will consider how to develop a magic cloak for them self.  But first let us explore a little more this idea of mind set as a magic cloak.  Famous people like Albert Einstein and Abraham Lincoln have said that people have the choice of their thoughts and can choose to be happy.  Now researchers in Positive Psychology are saying the same thing.  When you have a choice between judging a fact as positive or negative it is beneficial to see the blessings involved.  For example, I read an item in a newsletter this morning noting that you could groan about the size of your credit card bill or you could be thankful for all the abundance in the grocery store.  You could moan about the price of gas or be thankful that you had a car and that gas stations were easy to find.  If you have now accepted that it is possible to develop an aura of the feeling of home and happiness, let us move on to ways to do this for yourself.  You can do this through combining memories of the feeling of secure happiness and visualizing your cloak.  Wrap yourself in soft velvet, or red suede, or anything of your choice.  Then feel safe, protected, able to be creative.  Anchor this feeling in various ways.  Touch your wrist.  Stroke your sleeve.  Create an anchor to link this memory of that feeling to your body.  Now leave this feeling.  Then try the anchor to see if it helps you achieve it again.  Sometimes an anchor can be a word instead of a touch.  It is just something that helps you wrap yourself in your wonderful magic cloak.  It is good to be able to go to a haven, a shelter, a feeling of loving arms at times.  Sometimes you just want a better mood for your creativity. Perhaps you want to make sure you are starting your day off right. Other times you may be fighting anxiety.  When you are in a storm of anxiety the first thing to do is get out of the storm.  That is a good time to figuratively wrap up in your magic cloak.  Then you can deal with the changes in thoughts or actions you need to make to get free of the anxiety.  Even if you are strictly a jeans and tee shirt kind of person it will not hurt to have a wonderful magic cloak in your idea or resource closet.  Reach out and create one then throw it around your shoulders with magical flair when it is needed.  May the spark be with you.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Magic of Watching Over

I've been waiting for the subject of this post to become clear to me for a couple of days.  On Tuesday I was driving along a residential street near my home and made a sloppy stop at a stop sign.  I was careful to look in all directions and I did put my foot on the brake before I proceeded.  But the policeman who pulled me over said it wasn't a full stop.    I only got a verbal warning and went on my way.  But I was aware that I hadn't been in tune that well.  This morning, on the same street but not yet to the stop sign, someone cut over to enter that apartment complex and I had to slam on my brakes.  I was alert, possibly because of the incident the day before, and I was able to avoid a collision. My thoughts became focused on how we have to look in all directions to watch over ourselves.  During the day I had to watch over myself in different ways.  I had to manage my moods. One example: I've been learning how to make videos from my brother and I tried to e-mail one I had done to him.  I was like a kid showing off to the kindergarten teacher.  But I didn't have it in the right format so he couldn't read it.  He e-mailed me back and told me what to do. After I had taken a big sigh I followed his instructions and was able to send it. A video I do plan on developing is to help students who have to deal with test anxiety.  I hope to be able to help them help themselves, or watch over themselves, so they can take certain tests that determine being able to get into careers of their choice.  Thinking of how nervous I got just having to face things I had to improve ( and learn how to do that several times today) made me feel sympathy for the students I work with.  They have to learn bigger chunks of subject matter and their tests are bigger.  So I hope to help them really pull up the self-nurturing ability they have in themselves.
Another thing that drew me to this subject at this time is that tomorrow (March 8th) is Women's Day. Many women find themselves in the different roles of watching over others.  This can be joyous.  I remember how wonderful it was to look in on my babies as they slept.  Watching over others can also be a burden.  When it becomes a burden we must develop our ability to administer self-care.  We can burn ourselves out if we don't.
I now want to bring up the idea of the field of magic that surrounds us that I like to talk about from time to time.
We don't have to go it all alone.  When you watch over another person or situation there will be others who are on your side.  If you allow it, there will be opportunities for this watching over to become joyous.  When you watch over yourself the same thing will happen.  Let your aura of awareness move away from a narrow focus on your goals.  That driver who nearly hit me was too narrowly focused on their goal of getting into that apartment complex.  But they were blessed in being saved from harm by my awareness.  Perhaps my stop the day before was meant to prevent the accident that could have happened today.  All I know is that it is good to be aware of your environment in many different ways.  Work you magic by watching over you world and your life.  May the spark be with you.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Magic of Reflection

In many fairy tales a mirror or a still pond are important to the story.  The reflection seen gives a magical truth.  Since metaphors about magic have a lot of wisdom for all wise magicians I would like to explore the ideas of reflection.  First of all, when we reflect on something we gain a deeper understanding of it.  That certainly will bring better things into our life.  If a loved one snaps at us we may be able to understand what is stressing them if we reflect on the incident.  Then we can strengthen the relationship by helping to relieve their stress.  There are myriad times when it is wise to reflect on news stories, comments in the media, even advertisements.  When we process the information we gain from that reflection we can make a more logical decision about what we have heard or read.  Another aspect of reflection as mentioned in fairy tales is that when a mirror reflects something it turns it around.  We can get some powerful insights when we think about things from different perspectives.  Look at something from the other side, backwards, upside down.  Critical thinking is an important skill that too few people develop in themselves. Clear, problem solving thinking is an important habit of mind to develop.  Creative thinking is not the opposite of critical thinking.  The creative thinker wants to solve a problem.  But intuition may well come into play in creative thinking. It is a good idea to take the time to process our ideas and what we take in regarding the ideas of others.  Lies and superstition can't take hold of the mind of a person who bothers to reflect.  Reflection is also used in another way.  A shiny object reflects back the light that hits it.  As wise magicians we can reflect the light of wisdom, integrity, courage, kindness and happiness.  Or any other virtue we want to send back into the world.  Take the time to reflect.  It will bring magic into your life.  May the spark be with you.