Part 1 – The Inhale
As children we’re taught to believe that magic is unattainable. Magic is what exists in fairytales and fantasy. It’s intangible; a phenomenon that we grow to disregard because we are searching for things we cannot find. We are searching for gnomes and fairies and magic wands, and when we cannot find them we lose our sense of wonder, our sense of connection to the occult nature. To fill this emptiness we begin to search for it in other things—religion, drugs, sex, media, relationships—looking for it everywhere outside of that in which we are guaranteed to find it.
At my high school we have a tradition of going on a week-long orientation camping trip at the beginning of every school year. At the end of the summer of 2013, the beginning of my sophomore year, we went up to the shore of Lake Superior in the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan. All the while we were there, there was a sense of something mysterial, intangible. I remember one night in particular, singing and splashing around in the lake with my best friend. We were both full of unmitigated joy, embodying the heat-lightning we could see off in the distance. The stars were shining with a brightness you only see in a place like that—a place so unaffected by humans. The sacredness of the land and the synergy of the people I was with created an awareness of something ineffable, but powerful. A sense of oneness and togetherness that had a profound impact on everyone there. In that moment I could feel something changing. Something within me was growing and evolving, but what It would lead to, I had no idea. My life was never the same after that.
The following year I had some of the most grounding, heart-breaking, eye-opening learning experiences of my life, from which emerged a monumental shift in the way I perceived the world. I wouldn’t call it a spiritual awakening, I had always been spiritual, but it was an awakening. From that point on I was able to believe in magic in a way I never had before, because I finally understood something our culture has forgotten how to teach our children. Magic is everywhere, in everyone and everything. It’s not unattainable, it’s not a fairytale. Magic is the way in which gravity pulls a river through a valley. It’s why a bird knows how to build a nest. It’s what makes the grass grow and the rain fall down, and yes, there are scientific explanations for all of these things, but that doesn’t make them any less miraculous. Our mother’s smile, our father’s laugh, our children’s tears—magic is all of these things, but we’re taught to see these things as mundane. They’re ordinary, and ordinary things cannot hold any fascination.
Realizing this—the beauty and the sacredness, the magic in all things—filled me with so much hope. It was an affirmation of our purpose, that there’s a reason we exist, that every single thing is significant. It also gave me a sense of helplessness. Along with the awareness of the beauty and the sacredness and the magic came the awareness of the fear, the greed, the blindness. The realization that the infrastructure the corporations are built on, that have such an immense influence in our culture and our world, that are trying so desperately to keep us all asleep, has been being built for hundreds if not thousands of years. Compared to them, I am infinitesimal. What can I do?
Part 2 – The Exhale
What does the earth ask of us? The earth asks of us only what we ask ourselves, because the voice of the earth is same voice that’s in every single human being. It’s our soul. It’s the beauty and the sacredness, the mundane, the ordinary, the miraculous. It’s the magic. It’s us. We live in an overwhelmingly ego-based society. We fear failure, yet we are so eager to call out hypocrites. We are so used to viewing hypocrisy as reprehensible, unforgivable. We value people solely by their actions, overlooking anything deeper, but we must be hypocrites. Our actions are trivial, arbitrary. Yes, they matter, they have an impact, but our actions are so often misunderstood, and so often contradict our beliefs. The individual’s influence in this world runs so much deeper than that. We want to help, we want to change the world, but the problems in our world are so huge, so we spend all of our time searching for huge solutions. We get so stuck trying to see the end result, to know how everything will play out, that we never begin. When we fixate on actions we ignore the underlying intention, but intention is the most important thing of all.
We don’t need one big solution, it’s much more simple than that. We all have a gift, a reason we are here. We are teachers and lawyers and musicians and artists and doctors and chefs and so many things. We must stop ranking our place, seeing some people as more beneficial than others, and we must not fear failure. We must not be so afraid to make mistakes that we never do anything at all. Yes, we are intellectual beings—cognitive, analytical—but more than that we are feeling creatures. No matter how big or how small an impact our actions make, our intentions touch so much deeper. Our intentions are the voice of the earth because our intentions are our soul. Our intentions are the voice of the earth, and they are exponential, they are magic.
This is what we must teach our children—we are magic. We matter. We are important, and we must not be afraid to fail. We must not be afraid to fall down and get dirty because that is when we learn our greatest lessons. We are more than our failures, more than our mistakes, we are our intentions. That our intentions are the same intentions inside everyone else, but our intentions get lost in our actions and that is why we cannot judge. We cannot fear hypocrisy. We must see the magic that’s in ourselves and everyone else, because no one can change the world, but everyone can.