When I was a little girl, I think I thought I was magic.
Or that perhaps the world was.
I would walk the long walk down to our back paddock and stand by the river. I’d be silent and look up to the sky broken with branches and leaves surrounded in tiny halos as the sun fought to filter through. I’d feel this energy within that would pulse from deep in my belly up into my chest to choke me. I would then focus on pushing it down through my limbs, I’d hold out my hands to the murky waters and open my palms as the energy reached my finger tips. I thought it was my body’s way of ridding itself of negativity. Forcing it out of me and into the waters to be washed away leaving me clean and free of it.
I’d stand there smiling at the sound of careless birds being free and delicate upon the lichen laden branches overhead. I could feel the dewy grass between my toes, the invisible breeze swirling around me like an obstacle in the river. It didn’t move me, just let me be as it rushed on by to some unknown destination.
I’d balance along a log that had fallen over the river like a bridge. I’d stand in the middle looking back into the concerned caramel eyes of my dog saying “It is all ok.” Bare feet gripping to the tree all knarly and knotty, dry and lifeless.
In this silence which was quite noisy with its serenity I could imagine the world as a whimsical mysterious place. A moth would swoop and flutter then swoop again. I wondered where it would go and why.
I’d feel so full and energised like a stone encased in fragile velvet.
There was a whole-ness I couldn’t find anywhere else. I knew where I belonged in those moments and yet it was nowhere I could describe.
I just belonged in me.
I was all that I needed to be. Quiet and lazy, content and at peace.
No matter what was happening at home or in school or who I was with, right then, all I needed was right there inside. I would look at the purple frizzy thistle heads so vibrant but unwanted. I’d pull weak vines from the strong trees that they felt so compelled to drain the life from and weave them into themselves.
I’d catch bumble bees while they collected pollen from fire weed. I’d close my hands around them encircling them to feel their angry buzz in my hands. It was like the energy I felt inside a mad buzzing vibration looking for an escape. I’d let them go and follow it’s flight for a little while.
I’d go home and sit cross legged on our retro olive and cream carpet, beneath the window by the fire. A golden knife of afternoon sunlight would pour in. I’d watch the dust motes glittering. I’d run my fingers through them to create lazy trails, swirling whirlpools of chaos. I’d blow my invisible breath to send them humming crazily. The thing I liked most about dust motes was that they were always there. They could only be seen when the light was just right but the magic was in the fact that they were just always there.
Even when the golden sun wasn’t.
I could imagine them. Unseen and suspended. I could move through space and time and feel them whipped up and twirling about me, everywhere I went, like the way water does when we push through it, only lighter.
I could run my fingers through nothing and yet I knew there was something. Like petrol on water. I could close my eyes and envision rainbows of oily light lazily dancing about me.
A storm would come, but before it could claim the skies the sun would shine harder. The evening would become aglow, everything seeming surreal as if viewed through orange cellophane. You could dance in it alone and feel so surrounded and held. The warmth would send your skin into tingles and then goosebumps would come as the first drops would fall. A battle of wills between the light and darkness.
A sun shower full of everything all at once. Beauty and ugliness, smiles and tears, full of energy and excitement of something uncontrollable.
A beauty that no man-made thing could ever encompass. A sense of fulfillment without accomplishing anything but understanding.
I thought I’d lost it. This sense of harmony with everything right and everything wrong. But now and then I find it.
I drove on with nowhere in mind and ended up at the water like I always do. It draws us to it like some primordial instinct that without it we can not survive. I parked my car and turned my music up, opened my windows and got out. I stood beneath a big fig tree in the fresh morning light on the bare dirt. I could feel that pulse I hadn’t for so long. Water washing the earth as it lapped at its edges. The light sparkling across toward me. If I focused and switched off, it looked like someone had tripped with a pot of silver diamonds, points of light jumping out and shimmering, each vying for my attention. I tried to picture myself from the point of view of the bird who flew over.
Some singular unimportant soul, alone on the shore in the shade of a jungle green tree that was far older and wiser than I. The sights and stories it had seen surpassed anything I’d ever have time to witness, yet it was stationary and silent. It will stand there watching us come and go, see us evolve and change.
Never it can share, unlike us who talk too much and absorb so little.
To the bird I was nothing, just another shell of a person, it couldn’t hear my thoughts, or feel my feelings.
I have a spot a few metres from our house where a large rock lies flat against the ground, surrounded by trees. If things seem too much, I stand there alone and look towards the sun late in the afternoon. I feel the heat the rock has absorbed and wonder how much more rock is beneath me. I know it’s there even if I can’t see it. I wonder who in the past may have stood in the place where I had and I wonder if they’d ever have thought the things I do.
I let the silence hold me and feel the light fill me. It makes me want to raise my arms, close my eyes and dance. But I don’t. Worried that my kids would think I’m weird should they spy from one of the windows to see their mum dancing in the glow of a difficult afternoon.
I wondered why I was worried that my kids should see me free?
I wondered if the world was as magical through their eyes as it had once been through mine?
I wondered when my most important tasks became cleaning windows and washing dishes?
I wondered if we were all like this?
I wondered what had changed in me and why I couldn’t ‘see’ anymore?
I remember when I felt like a little bush nymph climbing trees thinking that if I jumped that surely one day, unexpectedly I would just take off. I remember when swimming in waterholes that I’d always be nervous thinking that some playful mermaid would take my ankle and give it a tug inviting me to play. As I’d finally give up and leave, I’d brush some weeds which I’d convinced myself was them telling me ‘next time….’ I remember having sleepovers with friends where we’d drag my trampoline out into the open, we’d sleep beneath royal purple blankets watching the stars, waiting for UFO’s to take us away. Only to then wake covered in dew on misty mornings to realise that we were merely still here.
When did I lose all of this?
Where did I go?
What happened to this idea of knowing who I was?
Monday I tried to manufacture a magical day for my kids. They enjoyed it and I was glad but I also realised that it was nothing I could create for them. It was something they must create for themselves.
It is something I must find again in myself and live it.
My children are not me but little facets of who I am. They are like little live embers spawn from a flame. A strong raging flame spreads bright, long living embers that flitter and fall leaving sparks in their path.
Captivating, unpredictable fires that spread far and wide.
I don’t want to remember the little girl who believed in magic, I’d like to belive again and anew, opening a world of appreciation and new perspective for my own little ones.
I want them to have a safe place within themselves.
I owe it to them to turn off the tv and take them out to be the little princesses and prince that they envy in the movies they watch. I owe it to them to plant the seeds of adventure and sit back and watch it unfold.
Not to force it but feed it.
I need to stop obsessing over vacuuming and scrubbing toilets and let myself loose to remember that magic is here in us all. There is too much mundane, too much sadness and too much darkness.
A little light shines through and a little escape into a picture perfect fantasy land never hurt anyone.
I don’t want to remember the magic I want to live it.
How to find a little magic.
*I know I sound like an utter nutter sometimes, but trust me I know more of reality than some. Plus we’re all a little nutty, give in to it. Trust me.*
Spend more time in silence in open spaces.
Look at natural things and think about the beauty that is right there.
Close your eyes in the sunlight, block everything out and focus on simply breathing in and out. Thinking about the amazing fact that we can do it without even a thought. After all this simple unappreciated thing we do is what keeps us alive.
Be wise. Realise within that no matter how much we think we know. We will never ever know anything, so be open to knowing more of nothing.
Get dirty. Like dirty nails and toes. Appreciate the heat and the clean feeling a hot shower can bring. Breathe in the steam and don’t think about anything else.
Speaking of a hot shower, when you get out, on your steamy mirror draw a quick face without thinking, just 2 dot eyes and a line for the mouth. Is it happy or sad?
Visualise physically letting go of anger or sadness or stress. Take a breath and let that moment be over.
Feel small. No matter what problems or dramas you ever have there is always far worse. In school I would work myself up to almost the point of tears because of a math test. I remember once sitting there thinking my life was hell and for some reason my thoughts turned to those poor babies whose mother’s cannot provide them with food in third world countries. I still cried, but it wasn’t over my pointless math test.
Care. About everything. About everyone.
Listen to happy music.
Be with people who ‘get you’ people who don’t judge but just let you be as weird as you darn please.
Be observant. Most people say things they aren’t really feeling, it’s the old ‘How are you?” ‘Fine, thanks.” thing. They sometimes aren’t fine, listen a little harder and watch body language. You can make people feel better just by understanding and being softer even if they don’t want to talk to you about anything they’re going through.
Most of all, listen to yourself. If you think ‘Oh, I’d like to skip through the shops.’ Just do it, don’t tell yourself to stop being silly. People won’t even say a word about what you’re doing (not to your face anyway) they may have a giggle or wonder why you’re doing it, but then again…. maybe they’ll stop to wonder why they aren’t too.
Life is short. It really, really is.
There is no time for us to waste.
Let us be loved by the universe and by ourselves if nothing else.