Rediscovering the Magic


It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy…let’s go exploring!
–Calvin to Hobbes

I’ve used this quote alreadytwice. And I’ll no doubt use it again, because that’s one of the main things this site is about…how to regain that sense of wonder and excitement, the feeling that a whole new world is open to us.

As I mentioned in my last post, in 2007 I spent a lot of time in the flow state, where I’m completely immersed in a project, forgetting about time and everything else. Usually when I emerge from that state the world looks fresh and exciting again.

I still want to learn more about HTML and Cascading Style Sheets, and that’s on my Possibility List. But I put a number of things on hold while I was getting my blogs started, and it’s about time I started doing them. The crucial question is “How do I get them done and enjoy the process?”

The first thing on my list was easy: I wanted to get more exercise than the basic amount I get every day (a few minutes on the weight machines at the local Y every other day, plus 30 minutes every day on my Nordic Track treadmill or my jogging trampoline). My exercise time at home is fun, because I play Sudoku or watch DVDs/video tapes while I’m doing it. So I joined Netflix and bought some DVDs of my own and took an exercise break during the holidays.

The next thing is to unclutter my apartment. I’m getting started on that by breaking the job down into small steps and putting them on my Possibility List. I can now look at the list every day and pick whatever appeals to me. I know from experience that once I start recycling and tossing things out, I will eventually build up some momentum and get in the flow there, too.

My real challenge is to learn to shift gears more smoothly. My favorite nightmare when I was working was I was going on a trip and I had to rush home and pack and get to the airport on time. But I couldn’t pull myself away from work until the last moment. It’s the downside of being involved and loving what you do. So I’m starting 2008 by exploring…by experimenting how to make my transitions smoother. I’ll let you know how it goes.

What about you? When do you feel the magic, the joy of being alive? Please share your thoughts and experience in the comments section.

Related posts:

2007–A Year of Adventure
Living More Fully
Do What You Love
Waking Up to Life
Are You Spending Enough Time “Doing Nothing”?

Thanks to Bob, bikehikebabe, Wendy, Cathy, Not Yet a Bodhisattva, Adam, Ellen, tracy ho, Simple Simon and tNb for commenting on last week’s post.

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13 Responses to Rediscovering the Magic

  1. A lot of people seeking significance, meaning of life to feel the magic of life. And I believe that significance in life is found in giving and sharing, making this world a better place!
    Enjoy your exploration Jean! Wish you success!

  2. Sterling O. says:

    I love that quote. Reminds me of my childhood when all I wanted to do was go out exploring in the rainforests and rivers (I grew up in Hawaii). It’s a little sad to think of how as adults we have to now make conscious efforts to recapture that magical feeling of wonder & excitement.

    Glad you’re loving your NordicTrack treadmill. Your mention of your treadmill brought back some found “web 1.0” memories as I was the NordicTrack webmaster back in 1999 and launched their first website and shopping cart.

    Thank you for inspiring article.

  3. tNb says:

    Oh this is a difficult one. It feels like a long time since I’ve felt any magic or the joy of being alive.

    I always feel most alive when I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone. For example, two years ago I was invited to join a motorcycle trip from Rome to the Sahara desert in Tunis. For weeks we were cold, hungry and uncomfortable but I loved every single minute of it. I felt alive!

    On a less adventurous scale, I was forced to take a public speaking course last year and even though I dreaded the thought of making a fool of myself in front of others, I finished the class feeling on top of the world.

    My challenge for this year will be to find new ways to get out of my comfort zone. Because right now, I’m feeling waaaaaaaaaaaay too comfortable.

  4. I know what you mean about getting lost in a project. I do the same thing. I love being fully involved in a project, but I’ve also found that being forced to pull away from it for a bit helps too. If something else calls me away from my blog (most recently, the start of a new semester of college, for example), I find that pushing it to the back of my mind causes my subconscious to come up with all sorts of nifty ideas for blog posts. I just make sure I keep a notebook around to jot them all down in until I have time to blog again.

  5. bikehikebabe says:

    1) On sunny days I’m sunny & on gloomy days I’m gloomy. (Our house is mainly windows.)
    2) I start a house job & drop it when I see another that needs attention. Fun but confusing. I’m reading The Power of Focusing by Ann Cornell, suggested in a former Post. It’s helping with 1) & 2).
    tNb-Your motorcycle trip from Rome to Sahara Desert really turns me on. Oh, to be young & make that a bicycle trip. (I’d take a boat across the Mediterranean though.)

  6. I totally understand being lost in work and other stuff. I too am struggling to keep the awareness, to be fully alive. Now I constantly remind myself to focus on what I am doing NOW, the rest have to wait, or write it down and come back later.

  7. Jean says:

    Giving and sharing is important to me, too. I need more than that to feel the magic, but it’s a necessary part of it.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. That’s what this blog is all about.

    Your childhood was very different from mine. Mine was extremely boring for a few years, especially in the summertime…we were fairly isolated and there wasn’t much to explore. I still remember my father telling me to play and enjoy being a child, because when you’re an adult you have cares and responsibilities and life is no longer fun. Since I was bored out of my mind at the time, I decided there must be more to life than that. It was great motivation.

    Yes! I purposely get into situations that challenge me, then I take a break for a while. I can tell when I need to challenge myself again, because I start feeling restless. My challenges are more of the public speaking type rather than physical adventure, but it doesn’t matter. It’s what works for us as individuals. It helps once we realize that the challenges are necessary for that joy of being alive.

    I agree, incubation time, that time away from the task, is an important part of the process. For me doing routine chores is one way I get that time. And lying in bed for a while in the morning is a great time for the ideas to come.

    I’m a great one for starting one job and then switching to another around the house. I figure it doesn’t matter, as long as something gets done. Housework is not my top priority, so the best thing is to do what seems the most fun at the moment. I have plenty of focus for the things that matter to me.

    Life Reflection,
    I can’t quite tell if you think being lost in work is being fully aware and alive. For me it is. You write, “Now I constantly remind myself to focus on what I am doing NOW, the rest have to wait, or write it down and come back later.” That’s the line that resonates with me. The main thing that keeps me from being in that flow state is when part of my mind is being distracted by all the other things “I should” be doing. Writing them down on the Possibility List helps a lot, because then I can forget them until later. But I also try to keep my life simple enough so my Possibility List is short.

    Thank you all for commenting.

  8. We did some cleaning, which makes me feel so much better. Everything in the apartment is less crowded and more peaceful.

    I would like to spend more time this year just sitting. As someone who doesn’t work 9 to 5 but freelances and works several small jobs as well, it’s hard to set aside the same time every day or create a routine. Any time is potentially work time.

  9. Seems like you are off to a great start for the year.
    I am also going to try out watching DVDs while exercising.

    What has worked for me in the past is keeping to a schedule. I try as much as possible to discipline my self to sick to it 🙂

  10. Heheh, I guess we all need adventure, Robin Sharma has ever mentioned that one form of wealth is adventure. I guess I’ll need more adventure! =)
    Keep adventurous and keep being curious, that I got most from your blog! Thanks Jean!

  11. Jean says:

    Not Yet a Bodhisattva,
    I agree. It does feel good to have less clutter now. But it was the right decision for me to just ignore it while I was setting up my blogs. There’s such a thing as “resumption time”, which means when I’m immersed in a project and am interrupted, it takes a while to get back in the flow. The more complicated the project, the better it works for me to give it large chunks of time.

    It sounds as if you need to give yourself permission to take some reflection time. The best boss I ever had kept saying, “Don’t fall into the activity trap!” He kept reminding us if we didn’t keep abreast of what was happening in our field, hard work wouldn’t do us any good. We would soon be obsolete.

    Timothy Ferris had different values from me, but he has some good ideas for free lancers. Have you read his book or looked at his site?

    I have a loose schedule. There are some chores I do regularly, and I go to the Y every other day and get at least a half hour of exercise here. But I do work better if I have some leeway on other things. I don’t have trouble getting things done if I want to do them. The main thing is we have to figure out what works best for us. And it sounds as if you’ve done that.

    I like that idea, that one form of wealth is adventure. Thanks. 🙂

  12. Pingback: » Stay Curious and Open to Life

  13. tammy says:

    bhb… one day my husband came home unexpectedly for lunch. i had everything out… everywhere! it’s how i used to clean house. i would start in one room, get distracted, start on something else… you get the picture. but you know what? it always got put magically and neatly back before by the time i was through. must say, being minimalist helps in that. there wasn’t ‘that much’ stuff. but i supposed it was a bit disconcerting to someone more focussed.
    monk… you make me want to start something creative!
    i used to do pencil portraits of children. i would completely lose all track of time. that was in another lifetime in another galaxy long ago and far away. i’d like to try photography or pottery next.

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