*I feel it to be my civic duty to warn you that this post contains excessive use of the word “and”.
When I was in college, I had this amazing professor, the Dumbledore to my HP if you will, and she taught one of the best classes I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing: Rhetoric & Style.* We did so many unexpected things in this class, and while we learned a lot about Rhetoric and a lot about Style, I feel that what we learned the most about was our place in the universe.
I remember one day she got carried away on what seemed like a tangent, which generally would give my sweet little structure-craving temperament a bout of the anxieties, but on this particular occasion I still remember feeling drawn to the dialogue—like something inside of me was reaching out for something else, like part of me was already expecting it. She went along this path that transitioned from English majors to journaling to list-making to poem writing to sound and color observing to rhetoric to our creative muses to unity within the universe. (this same teacher who in another class that same semester would settle in with “The center cannot hold/ all things fall apart” as our lens for analyzing all the works we studies those 4 months) Later we watched Elizabeth Gilbert deliver this amazing Ted Talk about all the things we had been discussing and I teared up as I felt myself recognizing the magic that lies in being present to all the things that are endlessly working together to create…magic. Then we walked with the Victorians as they struggled to understand how and why the center cannot hold; we sat in the sadness that their revelations mandated. Then we in our present day held their works to the light and saw the beauty they held, and suddenly there it was again, that magic—that stuff that presented itself in the midst of seeming dichotomies and sadness and pieces of a fragmented humanity. Peace-bringing, soul-shaping, life-giving magic.
And then the semester ended and I didn’t feel the magic any more. So, I chalked it up to superlative teaching and mutability and carried on.
Fast forward to a while back when I started going to therapy and doing yoga and meditating, all things that force you to look inward and be present to what’s going on. One day I saw this phrase “create space for magic” that someone had put on their yoga mat, and while what they meant by “magic” probably had more to do with executing a solid King Dancer pose, I decided to adopt the phrase as my mantra. I wrote it down and began to use it to set my intention for my yoga practices; then I found myself referencing it during trying times at work; before long I realized this wasn’t just some trite phrase, it was a way of living, it was the way back to that wonderful indescribable soul medicine I experienced that first time with Rhetoric & Style.
Recently I’ve been listening to some new podcasts, reading some new authors, and I swear for every single thing that has made me say “YES!” or “Me too!” there’s been a reference or tie to another thing that also made me say “YES!” or “Me too!”. I’ve started listening to Elizabeth Gilbert’s new podcast titled “Big Magic” (right?!) and in the first episode I stepped into, she had Rob Bell (episode #4) on who talked about living as though “the action is here” and being present for what’s already happening in us and through us and around us. Just today I had an issue with my library account, so I called them and had the loveliest conversation with the lady working the circulation desk who said it was a system error then remarked on one of the books I had checked out (which is a phenomenal book about a certain personality trait that apparently we both have), and we bonded briefly in solidarity over our DNA-based compositions. Then she, without any prompting from me, remarked on how our conversation must be why the system gave me an error message even though it was working.
It would take me days to tell you all the ways everything is cross-referencing and things from one area keep filling in the blanks for things happening in other areas and everything is clicking together and connecting and making sense and it’s wonderful. That semester in college, I recognized that something was speaking to my soul. Somehow deep down I knew a part of the core of who I am had been reached and its thirst had been quenched, but when I lost it I failed to relegate any responsibility to myself.
Now, I know that it’s up to me, and you, dear friends, to create the space for the magic in our lives. If you create space, if you show up, if you truly believe that the action is here, with you, right where you are when you are where you are, then magic will find you. And man, it’s something spectacular to behold.
*I know I’ve talked about her and probably this class before, but this my friends was a game-changer, a turning-point, one of those people-shaper things we all have along the way.