It’s been a couple of weeks since the latest Harry Potter book came out. In that time both of my children have read it and pronounced it good (although not as good as the originals). I haven’t read it yet and I’m not sure I want to. I read every other Harry Potter book as they came out on day of release because I loved them so much but I feel like I’m done with the boy wizard and his magical tales.
The stories of magic that have been told through the ages are powerful and are almost universal in their appeal to all ages. Very few of us will probably ever fly in a car or on the back of a dragon. But as humans we love the magical, the mystical, the unexplained. Who wouldn’t want to be able to wave a wand and travel through time or turn your enemy into a ferret?
But magic is all around us and within us. Every day. We just need to open our eyes and see it.
I had a magical experience on the beach recently. I had been busy working all morning and hadn’t had time to take Reg for our usual morning meander. So I took a break around 2pm and headed down to walk in the sunshine. As I arrived I realised no other human was on the beach. I took Reg off his lead and looked out to sea. There, about 100 metres out, where the waves were just starting to break, were three dolphins. As Reg and I walked 2 kms down the length of the beach, the dolphins swam alongside us (albeit 100m out to sea). It was magical. I kept thinking they would leave and go out to deeper water, but they stayed. And oddly enough, no one else came out onto the beach the entire time.
When we reached the far end, they swam out to sea and Reg and I turned around and walked home. I loved every second of our encounter. And it made me realise that if I had walked Reg earlier or later, I wouldn’t have had it. That made me think about time and how humans have created our concept of time. We all run around doing things because we will ‘run out of time’. How ridiculous. Time doesn’t end. It just is. Animals know this and are ok with it. Why aren’t we???
But I also thought about magic. And how some of the truly magical moments of my life have been when I’ve been in nature. The beauty of watching a sunset, an amazing triple rainbow over the mountains, the magic of seeing a newborn fawn take its first steps. Animals feature highly in my magical moments: tracking tigers on elephant back in Nepal, watching the wild horses of Chincoteague in Virginia, having a kangaroo on the roof of my house in Canberra, and of course, the magical times I’ve had with various domestic animals I’ve had in my life throughout the years.
My current fur angel, Reg, is a completely magical creature. He always knows when I am upset and either sits on my feet or nuzzles me to pat him until I feel better. He has a wonderful attitude to life. He assumes everyone will love him and pat him as soon as they meet him. Which they inevitably do. I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t fallen in love with him as soon as they met him. He just has to look at you with his huge dark eyes and you are smitten.
Reg is a rescue dog. He was beaten and starved by previous owners. He ended up wandering the streets of Canberra twice and narrowly escaped death row at the pound twice. But still he trusts everyone he meets. I know I wouldn’t be so trusting if so much had happened to me in my lifetime and I find it fascinating as I watch him greet complete strangers with his big smile and tail up in the air.
I think people have a lot they could learn from Reg. We all go through life having disappointments and hurts, some larger than others. But how do we rebound, how do we treat others once we come through the other side? Do we respond with kindness? Do we learn to trust again? Do we learn to love ourselves and let others love us too? I’m not proposing that anyone should put up with abuse or injury. What I’m saying is that after we move on from a terrible situation, it’s how we pick ourselves up and treat ourselves and others that we should allow to define us.
For me, I find the magic within when I’m quiet. When I take time to quiet the constant chatter in my head (monkey mind is the name given to that chatter by Buddhists, which always makes me smile). Then I have time to think about the answers to the questions above and resolve how I want to live my life. When I’m quiet I notice what’s happening around me. I pay attention to life and open all my senses to experiencing what life has to offer me. The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful. All are valid. And all make up the rich magical tapestry of my life.
It makes me realise that I am blessed with an amazing, magical life. I may not be able to turn anyone into a ferret, but I can always give a smile to someone who needs one or a hand to friend who needs help. I choose to be generous with my magic and help others see the magic all around.
I think Reg truly has rubbed his magic off on me. I’m happy to be his apprentice and learn as much as I can from him while he’s here on this earth with me.