Do I believe in Magic Lists? Yeah, maybe.
I buy her idea that we have layers: the Shallows, the Ring of Fire, and the Core of Peace…That the wishes we make from the Shallows hold no power. And that once you’ve experienced Fire and loss and shed some ego, you can hear your Core. And that when you ask for what you want from your Core, the Universe will find a way to deliver. Maybe not on your timeline, but at least you’re heard.
Do I have proof that this works? Maybe!
Here’s a letter I wrote to myself on my first ever hike-in backcountry camping trip in Yosemite with Balanced Rock. We wrote during some solo time on the last day of our time together. By then, I had walked through some Fire and received some clarity on my Shallows. I knew the letter would be mailed back to me at some unspecified later date.
I hope you let your enthusiasm and gut and happy excitement guide your decision making. You deserve to have things that make you glow and light up with excitement when you think and talk about them.
I hope you love your job.
I hope you’ve nurtured a community of friends and support in the Bay Area.
I hope you’re taking risks.
I hope you’re taking care of yourself.
Let each day take care of itself. And seek out others to share and emote with. Love freely — of yourself and others. Give more than you get. Be happy.
Either the me from August 2013 (who was in a pretty low place) was prescient about my life in May 2014 (who is grooving on some of life’s highs). Or maybe, just maybe, writing each word was like planting a prayer seed. And all those seeds are now blooming.
Want more proof?
I was experiencing a lot of cognitive dissonance in my life earlier this year—about my job, my apartment, my city, my relationship status. On a Women’s Retreat in the San Bernardino Mountains in March, I was fighting the urge to hibernate and winter and turn inward—even though slow, solo time was what I needed most. It was springtime, after all! I missed the extroverted, adventurous, social, go-go-go me, but she was in hiding, and I was trying to force her out.
On a solo hike during the retreat, I was barreling forward seeking a sweeping vista to spend my afternoon with, and then the path just…ended. Trees blocked the way. Branches swept down toward their roots creating a little fairytale nook, a lovely place to sit and stay a spell. Nature telling me to stop, it’s okay to stop, just stop.
On that same retreat, I wrote this:
Home is a standing invitation to Sunday night dinners.
Home is Sunday night dinners as the rule, not the exception.
Home is Sunday night dinners, week after week.
Home is Sunday night dinners, with a rotating cast of core players.
Home is Sunday night dinners, even when you tire of them.
Home is a large dining table and a potluck effort,
cooking together before we eat together
family style dishes meant to be shared
enough to feed an army with leftovers to spare.
I want to create a Table
Source the wood
Sand it down
Cut the planes
Join ’em together
Bevel the edges
Stain it red
Find it a home
and watch it glow
Put it in a sunlit dining room
with an open-plan kitchen and an open-door policy
laughter and tears
and hugs and stories
Fill it with nourishing foods
comfort food and junk food
potluck food and solo food
My Table will be witness to laughter and heartache
new love and old, careful thoughtlessness and thoughtful carelessness. It will hold work and play, reading and meals, coffee breaks and nightlong conversations, heated debate and even steamier footsie. By day sunlight dances across its surface. By night candles melt toward darkness even as all refuse to believe their plates are empty and their eyelids drooping.
I knew I wanted to create a Table in all senses of the word. Didn’t know if it would be literal, metaphorical, or allegorical—but I knew that’s what I wanted to feel in my home and my life and my city. From the Core of my Core, that’s what I wanted.
And then I went home and battled inner demons and hibernated some more and continued grousing about my living situation without doing anything to change it.
But I accepted the fact that I needed to lay low for awhile, and I accepted the fact that I didn’t have the energy to do any hunting of any kind for the moment. I settled in and hunkered down for a continued stretch of grey inner weather.
Of course, right when I accepted it, the fog started to clear. And my life hit a groove, seeds blooming in all aforementioned spheres.
But I was still only half-heartedly looking for a new apartment, until a week ago when my roommate gave me a real deadline. So I fired up good ol’ Craigslist and immediately saw something I really really liked. I sent an email, not expecting a reply (ready for the long game). They wrote back, I went to see the place, I vibed with the space, I vibed with the roommates, I vibed with the neighborhood. And they said yes. And I said yes.
And now I’m moving! Just like that, easy-peasy. Miracles of miracles in the notoriously-gnarly housing market that is San Francisco. I’m convinced it’s because I wasn’t looking at the search from my head, from the Shallows, with a checklist of amenities in mind. It’s because the Universe knew my Core was looking for a Table.
I’ve been practicing listening to my Core more lately—or whatever you want to call it: gut, intuition, higher voice, inner wisdom. Unsurprisingly, it’s much easier to hear when I’m in a groove than when I’m in a rut, so I’ve been trying to memorize the feeling of it. I want to be able to recognize it in the future when it’s happening, when I need it most…The impulses that bubble up which need to be voiced. The truths that have the comforting weight of inevitability. The lightness that comes from giving space for silence rather than miring decisions in the tangled maze my mind can so easily weave. The positive energy vibes that say (to borrow Jack Cheng’s words): “pay attention, there’s something here.”
Do you believe in Magic?