Once was when I was almost through my experience in the Peace Corps. I was homesick in a deep way and also so very sad over a breakup. As I reached the apex of my grief, a long lost beau show up without notice in my little mountain village. He stayed long enough to remind me I was strong enough to survive on my own. He also helped me to understand that angels aren’t winged beings as much as actually people who swoop in and shine a light when you need it the most.
I experience subtle magic on a daily basis.
This happens when I choose to pay attention to the sweet oddness of cuddling with an animal–my dear Poncho–as I wake up in the morning. Or when I lift my eyes from my phone screen and see the faces walking toward me in a crowded crosswalk downtown. They are sad and brilliant and searching and so much like me. It’s a certain magic to recognize how each person I meet carries both sorrow and genius alongside them like a trusty friend.
There are moments when the subtle and obvious magic of my life come together, which happened two weeks ago.
The subtle magic was when a friend from the Peace Corps posted an article on my Facebook wall about the Danish concept of hygge, or warm togetherness. I had heard of hygge before but didn’t really understand. When I read this article, something clicked. Hygge is very similar to the Ayurvedic concept of ojas!
The ladies who take my classes know that I am obsessed with ojas. It’s the feeling of being connected in an otherwise disconnected world. It’s the remembrance that you are in the human family of thing and can rest into our collective angel wings when life gets rough.
If you are lonely and drained, chances are you have low ojas. You burn your ojas out when you do too much, feel like you have to do everything perfectly and have a hard time asking for support.
You get ojas when you ground yourself through the solid self care of a daily routine, when you ask for support and let yourself receive it, and when you surround yourself with beauty. Cultivating ojas is so simple yet very challenging because it goes against the busy pace and independent nature of our dominant western culture.
So I was captivated that the Danes were embracing and cultivating ojas! To make it even better, they are consistently rated as one of the happiest cultures on earth. This realiziation felt important to me, and I went to sleep thinking about it.
The next morning I was still thinking about it as I lay in bed, petting Poncho and waiting for my hot water to boil. I knew that I had to go over to Scandinavia and learn more. But when? Everything in my life was booked up for a few months to come. I drank my water and put studying hygge in the dream bank.
Later that afternoon my aunt called me to rearrange dinner plans. My uncle had badly hurt his back and she was canceling everything. She mentioned that they couldn’t go on their bike trip through Stockholm and Copenhagen at the end of July. She said it was too late to get a refund.
Enter the electric feeling in my body. I inquired about the dates. It was for the only week I could go during these next months and that was only because one commitment had rearranged itself the day before. Everything about it felt so aligned.
So I said yes, right? Not quite. I told my aunt maybe. I said I would call her in a few days and I wished my uncle well. But inside I was already decided that I wouldn’t do it. It was too close to my travels to Peru and it would cost too much money and I would have to leave Poncho for more time and I couldn’t get more subs for my classes and and…
As long as the list of excuses went on in my head, I knew that I was saying no out of fear. This was obvious magic and it felt too good to be true. I had asked and the Universe had answered quickly and within that I felt a sense of unworthiness. I’m supposed to work really hard for things, right? Easy stuff is for slackers, you get me? Who I am to go on a beautiful vacation to a place I really want to visit?
Can you relate to this? If so, why is that? Why is accepting magic so hard sometimes?
Here is my theory. Many of the women I work with are beautiful givers. They give of their time, energy and money and it’s a delightful thing to witness.
But they aren’t great at receiving. They don’t ask for help. They don’t stop to chew their food carefully. They have a hard time on their birthdays. They work hard, probably too hard, and then give the fruits away. (For the record, please include me on this list of stubborn receivers.)
Receiving takes vulnerability and trust. It means wanting something so deeply and then having to trust another force--be it a person or the Universe--to make it happen. It means trusting that you are worthy of receiving the magical riches of life. It also means understanding that you don't have to repay any of this in real time and that when given a gift, you are allowed to enjoy it fully.
How does it make you feel when you read that? Excited? Scared? Do you think I’m being a bit blasphemous?
If so then awesome. We are making progress. I want you to sit with that this week and notice all the ways you welcome or reject the magic that comes in obvious and inobvious ways. Notice how you get in the way of your own happiness.
Personally, I’m lucky that I have a persistent aunt. She helped me think through my main objections and before I knew it, I said a meek little yes and got my plane ticket. Then as I thought about it more and more, I started saying Yes more boldly. I booked two lovely Airbnb’s with great design and felt a solid YES!. I leave next week and can’t even imagine how powerful my YESSSSSS will be as I board the plane.
I share this because I want to give you all context when I start Instagraming beautiful northern landscapes and sharing pearls of Nordic wisdom on my Facebook page. I also share it because I hope you say a strong YESSSS the next time a bit of magic walks into your life.
Magic is available in subtle and strong ways. Both are mighty important in making a truly good story out of your life. But you have to open up your palms, say YESSSS and then a whole bunch of thank you’s under your breath.
You have to practice your worthiness so you can keep stepping forward into the life of your dreams. It's not easy but we simply must find a way to do it. The world needs magic way too much for you to push it away any longer.
Next week I’ll take a break from packing and give you part two of this series which will be called something like: Receiving Like the Goddess You So Are.
In the meantime stay tuned and look out for angel wings. Good stuff is on the way for you. I can feel it.