I have a trait that drives me nuts: I get lost everywhere I go. I’m a terrible navigator, a map is mystifying to me. I google map everything and half the time I still get turned around.
I’ve been playing with this idea: what if getting lost is a sign that magic is at work?
I believe that traits we think of as flaws in our culture — running late, getting lost, losing keys, forgetting things — are actually invitations to step into magic.
It’s how most fairy tales start. Alice down the rabbit hole, Dorothy diving into the cellar to hide from a tornado, Sarah (from Labyrinth) running home in the rain to babysit her brother then accidentally invoking David Bowie the Goblin King (it happens).
It’s how two year olds live every moment of their day. It’s what happens when elders slip into dementia. We think of these stages as annoying — a terrible willful phase to be trained out of, a dreaded no turning back threshold to be held off as long as possible. And I’m not pretending they are beautiful! I have a two year old right now and this morning he stood on a chair shouting, I PEEING! I PEEING! and then ten minutes later he did the same exact thing again.
It’s not fun to clean up. It didn’t feel very magical to me. But then, I’m on the outside looking in. My two year old is in it, mystified, watching, wondering what it means.
It’s hard when you’re the caregiver, the boss, the clean upper, the project manager. We are in charge of keeping things running, maintaining order, moving everyone along, noticing what needs fixing. That’s the power, right? I’m the decider, I’m the fixer, I’m in control.
Losing control = losing power.
Except what if it isn’t? What if losing your way, losing track of time, letting things slide into chaos is a different kind of power? A power we could embrace?
What if instead of aiming to eradicate these moments from my life, I saw them as invitations to lay down my certainty and feel the strange tension of not knowing what is going on — the tension of magic. Is that possible?
I had a dream two months ago, where someone said to me, Uncertainty breeds confidence. In the middle of the night I wrote that down and I keep coming back to it.
Uncertainty breeds confidence.
There’s no way to real confidence without fumbling through not knowing. So if you’re fumbling right now: you are in the magic. Instead of fighting it, can you feel it’s tension, it’s bubbling chaos, it’s mystery?
Here is a magic spell to try tonight:
Go outside and stand under the dark sky. Whisper the things you do not know. Welcome in the uncertainty all around you.
Feel the earth, how solid it seems. Feel it whispering back, rotating and shifting for miles and miles and miles under your feet.
See the blinking of stars in the sky, sending you signals from light years past.
Hear the sounds of night life, the scratching and rooting and scrabbling that is mysterious because you cannot see it.
Leave a tiny object outside in the night, with a question. Go inside and make yourself a cup of tea. In the morning, see if the object is still outside where you left it.
If it is, pick it up and carry it in your pocket like a talisman.
If it is not, take it as a sign that your question has been taken under consideration by a creature of the night, and await their answer.
If you want help interpreting their answer or making space for magic in your life, I am offering 20 free coaching sessions for my spring People Project.