(as seen on elephant journal)
Last week, the most perfect synchronisticly timed message toppled into my inbox from one of my heroines-mentors-guide-with-a-torch, Danielle Laporte.
Choose Magic over the mundane.
When I first read it, I thought, this is the mantra of my life.
I am a type four in the enneagram, and my four-ness holds deep disdain of mundanity and suburban life. It has been such a strong part of me for so long, taking shape as both a burning desire for a different way of life than what the mainstream offered, and a desperate fear of being trapped in a soccer-mom-mini-van-bleached-highlights existence.
Why doesn’t anyone ever talk about the fact that our holy desires and our worst fears are so inextricably linked? And both buried so deeply within us that all too often we forget their true names, their awful-that-is-fills-us-full-of-awe faces?
But then I read it again, got myself caught up in the choosing part. That’s when I realized that this wasn’t only my mantra, but the journey, of my life. In some secret part of my heart, this was the prayer I whimpered while in the dark tunnels of depression in my mid-twenties, the mumble-murmur of drunken nights with yet again the wrong guy, the rope I clung to while barreling my way through graduate school with two jobs and yet not enough money to buy cat food or gas.
I choose Magic over the mundane.
I guess that’s what makes it truly a mantra, right? A real mantra is more than pretty words we recite at the fancy altar in the corner of the bedroom, or at the end of yoga class. A real mantra is with us when things get gritty and grace is hard to find.
I was a girl who throughout her entire childhood lived in the throes of a vibrant imagination, creating extensive “pretend games” that drew in the other girls on the playground, overcoming their cruel cliqueish girlgames and disdain for my Pro-Wings (aka faux-LA Gears). They were seduced by the beauty of fantastical worlds and the enchantment of stories you could live and breathe and be the heroine of. And no one lost, or was left out, or was any less beautiful or special than anyone else.
But then I walked away from the magic and the stories, as so many of us do.
I lost the ability to completely immerse myself in epic tales in my head, full of princes and trees with secret doors and gangs of ninjas with hearts of gold, after the day my best friend told me that people thought I was weird because they saw me walking down the street talking to myself.
I funneled my creative impulses into journalism instead, which seemed more worldly, radical, safe.
Safe? you might be thinking. Journalists die on assignment all the time in places like Iran, Afghanistan, Mexico. But death wasn’t my biggest fear then.
Radical? you might also be thinking. And you’d be right to wonder– because what’s more radical and culture-shifting than the mysterious gems that come from a creative process that mines the depths of the subconscious (which could be the collective, personal, akashic records, gut-cunt-womb, all of the above, or none of these).
But I was young then, and very afraid of being alone. Outcast. Crazy. Edge-walker.
Until, as one of my favorite writers Anais Nin so famously said, the pain of being a bud was greater than the risk it takes to bloom.
So I chose Magic.
But the Muse didn’t welcome me, the betraying adultress, back with open arms.
In my own mind, the old witch locked away a bleeding, secret piece of my heart and threw the key into the sea. In my own psyche, a many-headed hydra guarded the door to my imagination and authentic voice, wearing the faces of those who’d given callous, agenda-ridden feedback, and those who’d said I was too much (too weird too smart too quiet too…), and those who’d said I was not enough, and those who’d burned women at the stake for stepping out of line.
I had to prove myself, like the paupered princess from one of my old stories, picking and sorting grains of sand, traversing swamps and seas, battling crows with their incessant screeches: you’re not good enough you don’t have anything worthwhile to say you’re too old you’re too young you’re too lazy and undisciplined you’re not actually talented at least not enough not enough not enough not enough…
Cruel girlgames of my own mind.
When I chose magic, two spells were cast.
One, reclaiming my power to choose, to author my own life, and do the work to regain what is precious to me.
The second was a giant white-hot fireball aimed directly at that other dragon, the one that haunts the minds and hearts of every woman who was ever told as a little girl to be quiet, be normal, be pretty but not pretty and God-forbid don’t let other people know you think that your own body and face are pretty, do your homework, don’t make waves, don’t stand out, don’t fail, don’t trespass, don’t burn.
It was never just for me. It’s for us all.
I chose to reclaim my magic. I choose Magic everyday.
What do you choose? What is the mantra for the journey of your life?