BY ANNA CATARINA GRAGERT
CURATED BY SOPHIE E. MOSS
Whenever I think back on my childhood, it’s almost as if a projector sets itself up in my mind and plays one specific clip, over and over again. I can picture myself running through a field (not unlike something from a cheesy commercial). I don’t care about getting my clothes dirty or bugs or strangers or of falling down and getting hurt. Essentially, I, not unlike many others, associate childhood with freedom. We feel free to learn, to grow, and to simply be who we are. After all, at a young age, it seems impossible to be anyone else other than ourselves.
Then, life happens (or life as it is structured to happen). We take on burdens, we learn things that sadden us, we learn that fairy tales aren’t everyday occurrences, and we become less free than we were to begin with.
Robert R. McCammon puts this feeling into words when he says:
You know, I do believe in magic. I was born and raised in a magic time, in a magic town, among magicians. Oh, most everybody else didn’t realize we lived in that web of magic, connected by silver filaments of chance and circumstance. But I knew it all along. When I was twelve years old, the world was my magic lantern, and by its green spirit glow I saw the past, the present and into the future. You probably did too; you just don’t recall it. See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.
I’ve spent a significant amount of time talking (mostly with my therapist, to be honest) about how, and even if, it is possible for a person to reclaim the magic that they once had as a child. In the midst of adulthood, can we still believe in magic? Can we seamlessly follow the "how to" suggestions that I am about to outline for you?
1. Start with the little things.
When we’re young, the littlest and least significant things can fascinate us. Just opening the front door and stepping outside can be an experience full of wanderlust and awe.
In order to reclaim our inner magic, learning to appreciate the little things is essential. Next time you sit down for a meal, revel in each bite of food. Notice where the food hits your taste buds. Observe the different textures of each side dish. Listen to the sound your fork makes as it clinks against your plate. Pay attention to each and every detail. Not only that, but appreciate how each detail adds up to make your life what it is.
I tried doing this the other night and it was much harder than I anticipated. I had so much trouble staying in the moment and being present for each and every bite. It’s definitely something that takes practice. So, later on, I tried writing it all down in my journal, which definitely helped. In fact, I know people that devote entire blogs to detailing the little events that happen in their lives, in all their magical glory.
Getting in touch with the little things doesn’t have to be about writing. It can be about painting, carving, doodling, singing, running, lying down on the floor and pondering, or about any other passion that allows you to feel connected and free.
2. Skirt around the rules.
Everywhere you look, there are rules. You drive down the street and there’s a sign, that’s a rule. You’re not allowed to have pets in your building, rule. You have to be careful about what you say because people will judge you, different kind of rule.
In my mind, I separate rules into 2 categories: "laws" and "expectations." Laws are important, set in stone, and they remind us that murder is bad. Expectations are guidelines that society puts in place to tell us who to be and how to behave.
It’s the expectations that I worry about when it comes to our inner magic. We all dress a certain way, think a certain way, and act a certain way because of these expectations, especially when we’re in school and have requirements to contend with.
Learning to become oneself and, yes, to reclaim our inner magic is all about skirting around the rules. It’s about making our own rules, re-defining what it means to be successful.
Early on, I took to this idea when I was in school because I spent a lot of time reading books that weren’t required. I also spent a lot of time recommending books that weren’t required to others (my unintentional way of trying to spread the magic).
Now that I am older, my "rule skirting" has changed. Even if I’m uncomfortable, I say what’s on my mind. I don’t always do what’s considered "normal" or "expected." I no longer feel the need to follow the same path as everyone else.
Rule Skirting 101 is about doing what you feel is right. It’s about listening to your inner calling (or inner magic).
3. Believe, gosh darn it!
How can we reclaim our inner magic if we don’t believe that it exists? How can we light a fire within us if we only believe in the words that we read in textbooks? The words that are societally approved?
The answer: we can’t. It just doesn’t work like that.
To believe in magic, you don’t have to follow a special religion or start pulling rabbits out of hats. You just have to believe in the power of being present. You have to believe that you’re more powerful than you know.
You know those moments where you’re having a bad day, something happens, and you end up laughing for 5 minutes straight? That right there is magic at work.
How about when you eat a healthy meal and your body thanks you in various ways? Magic.
A sunny day? The way a winter morning smells? A neighbor waving to you as they drive by? Having your car start without a problem? Drinking clean water? Receiving a message from an old friend? Waking up and feeling rested? Going to bed and feeling loved? Knowing that you tried your absolute best in the face of a setback?
When Anna Gragert isn’t trying to create a groundbreaking third-person bio for herself, she’s writing, taking photographs, blogging, catering to her little black cat, or putting the finishing touches on her Audrey Hepburn shrine. Some of her many writings and/or photographs have been featured with: HelloGiggles, The Indie Chicks, tiny buddha, Pea River Journal, RiverLit, White Ash Literary Magazine, You & Me Medical Magazine, The Horror Writers Association, Listicle, and Thought Catalog. Follow Anna on Twitter to keep up with her adventures in all things human/creative.
Sophie Elizabeth Moss is a misanthrope, dark witch and literary Madame. She can be found writing poetry or working on her first full-length work of dystopian fiction. @Sophiedelays