The gift I want this holiday is whimsy.
The secret to seeing magic happen in the world is having the belief that magic can happen in the world.
If you believe magic can happen, then you will see it in the world, but if you don’t believe that magic can happen, it will stay invisible to you. You may see coincidences, happenstance, wit, even phenomena in the world, but without the magic that enlightens and brings hope they will be without meaning and connection.
Arthur C Clarke famously said that any advanced enough technology can appear as magic. If you don’t believe in magic, it’s easy to write off a smart phone as just a piece of tech, but as someone who knew computers way back then, I like seeing it as a bit of magic, made with hard work, growing smarts and inspiration.
Shamans are magicians, walking through walls and transforming in the world. To a shaman, this is just work. You practice and you learn and you grind and you make change happen. You pull out the rituals and traditions that open the senses and open the mind to the awareness that magic beyond convention and expectation is possible.
What makes it magical is the ability to see doing something that might be impossible not just as a feat of grinding work, but also as a triumph of effort and spirit over entropy and ignorance.
The difference between seeing something as just sweat and seeing it as magical is if we choose to add the magic dust to our vision. When we see with wit, amusement, and awe, the world reveals its magic to us.
The word I know for this magical view is whimsy. A whimsical view of the world is one that is open to the sparks of aha! that change the dreary and workaday to the magical and transformative. It is when we laugh, be it a big belly laugh or a twinkle in the eye, that we see past the conventional to the amazing, awesome and energizing.
The magic of Christmas, to me, is the magic of whimsy. We take time out of the rush and hurly-burly, opening ourselves to beauty and magic. We tell each other ghost stories and stories of moments when things changed in a moment, where magical elves bring giving to a world that needs love. We gather together in the flickering candlelight when the world outside is dark and cold, and in our companionship, the sparks of magic fly between us, whimsy that opens the senses.
Everything we do for the holiday is designed to create those sparks. We decorate with shine and scent, trade our everyday work clothes for finery, create special treats that connect us back to the sensuality of years before, play festive music, and bring out the drinks that delight and open the heart. More than that, we make magic for the least jaded of us, seeing through the eyes of children, whose awe and wonder bring us right back to a time when the world around us always seemed magical and full of whimsy.
If we can’t let loose, open to whimsy and see the world as a magical place at the holiday season, when can we ever feel that energy? When can we feel the pure power of love?
The weight of my life is being too hip for the room, being surrounded by people who don’t get the joke. And over the course of the last year, even I have gotten beyond hearing the jokes, those cosmic jokes that my mother in the sky pulls to reveal herself and the connections she makes, the jokes that pull back my own fears enough to laugh at them. And when I miss the jokes, I miss seeing the magic, the meanings beyond the mundane which remind me that I am spirit living a human life.
That’s why the gift I want this season is whimsy, a fanciful and fantastic viewpoint that lets me see the sparks of magic in the world. I need a more whimsical vision of the world, childlike and full of wonder, one where playful magic abounds and delight is possible.
This isn’t a traditional gift in my family. But it’s the gift I think that I need.
Whimsy for Christmas, the fanciful and witty opening my vision to the possibility of magic.
That’s what I want this year, Santa. Whimsy.
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