“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”
― W.B. Yeats
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
― Roald Dahl
Last year I decided to take a photo a day and post the image. Just anything that caught my eye, stood out, was beautiful or intriguing or quirky. It was a fabulous challenge. Most days the challenge was selecting just one image to share. Why share? I think initially it was to keep me accountable. As time went on people enjoyed seeing the world through my eyes and they started to look for the odd, exquisite and satisfying in their lives too.
At the end of my experiment I had become so habitually used to snapping that photograph that I kept reaching for my camera well into the new year. In fact, I often still take random photos, though more often I stop and drink in the image before me and really enjoy it, in the moment.
My friend Nick, the Breakthrough Adventurer, recently took me on a half day adventure with a camera. The premise was to seek out the awesome in the everyday. When given certain parameters and actively looking we can find real beauty in the world around us that we might otherwise pass by without a second glance.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hubbub and routine of life. Many people live for their next holiday to get away, explore and enjoy life. For many, the magic is only in the special moments. My view is that there is so much life between holidays why not live each day and find the adventure, the beauty, the magic in the everyday? Some of us are conditioned to do that, we’ve had practice, or we’ve been forced by external events to see the world differently. If you need a helping hand might I encourage you to carry a camera. A mobile phone with a built-in camera is handy, portable and oh so convenient. But, there is something intrinsically different when you look through the lens of an actual camera. So, when you can, say on weekends or days when you don’t have too much to carry, opt for a traditional camera. It enlivens the experience somehow.
Magic? What sort of things am I talking about? Well, your kind of magic and mine may differ greatly. Among the things that have intrigued me recently are
- seeing a purple balloon float past my ninth floor window
- a crumpled and discarded black serviette on a wooden table
- the sight of our Brisbane wheel being dismantled
- The patterns of black mesh with young seedlings entwined within
- a pile of bricks on a building site
- fungi on a fallen tree trunk, shadows on a wall, the silhouette of trees on the horizon.
For me it’s random, though nature inspires me. It’s the unexpected and unlikely, the discarded and easily missed that rouses gratitude in me.
As you go about your day press that ‘shutter’ to capture the special events or objects you come across. Record the magic in each day. It’s a satisfying and enriching activity. When you have a collection you can review your anthology. You might notice themes, particular colours, textures, places that recur and bring you joy. You will have created a map of your world. Instead of seeking joy elsewhere or only on special occasions you’ll bring joy into your everyday awareness. Seeking and longing will dissipate to be replaced by a solid peace with what is here and now.
The magic hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s right here, right now, in front of you. Can you see it? Go ahead and look for it.