Jul 24

Chasing wonder

wonder - sharma

In “Big Magic”, the wonderful book on creativity by Elizabeth Gilbert, she talks about those moments when she finds herself bruised and battered, her ego damaged from some failure or criticism. It’s at these points that she asks the question of her soul: “what is it that you want, dear one?” And the answer is always the same: “more wonder please”.

We need wonder in our lives.

Let yourself be driven by curiosity, by wonder, by magic. Allow yourself to be intrigued by anything – a raindrop, a cobweb, the pattern on a brick wall, the playfulness of a kitten, the power of a waterfall as it cascades down a mountain, the trickle of a stream. Despite what the experts might tell you, it’s OK to be drawn into a late night exploration of YouTube videos that delight and fascinate. Listen to people’s stories and marvel at the richness and variety of their path through this amazing journey we call ‘life’. Stay curious.

Gaze – really gaze – on anything that looks beautiful to you – on nature, on art, sculpture – and allow yourself to wonder. Seek out the places that make you go “wow”. Invest in the experiences that truly take your breath away. You will never manage to cram enough “wow” into your life, but at least give it a try and see how much you can squeeze in.

If your life isn’t filling you with enough moments of wonder, then there’s something wrong. Seek it out, pursue it with all your heart, with every single fibre of your being, because that’s what you are crying out to experience. the sheer wonder and joy of being alive. Find those things and go do them. Decide that you won’t let anything get in the way of it. Let nature be a source of wonder and marvel for you. Take nothing for granted. Find wonder in the way a child plays, in the antics of your family pet. Find experiences and moments that take your breath away.

Allow the magic that threads through this world to find its expression in you. Open yourself up to the incredible creative possibilities that surround each and every one of us. Release it and allow it to spring up and change your life – allow your expectations to shatter and transform into something totally new. Thrill at the way that life weaves itself into the perfect pattern as we allow ourselves to be swept along on an exhilarating tide of synchronicity and coincidence. 

Prepare yourself for wonder – and wonder will find you.

 

TimSigWeb200

Find out more at www.timhodgson.org

May 09

Here be dragons . .

dust magic

Do you ever have something that you read from time to time that sends shivers down your spine every time you read it? Something that stays with you and calls out to you, that seems somehow secretly significant? That sense that something infinitely precious is being communicated, that the world stops and waits to hear your response – poised, waiting with bated breath for you to hear what’s being said.

For me, one of those quotations that causes me to catch my breath every time I read it is this one.. five simple words:

“We’re not dust, we’re magic!”

And when I read that, something opens in my heart.

Those words come from “Bridge Across Forever” by Richard Bach. Richard, of course, is the author of “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” and “Illusions”.. but this is from the account of his love affair with actress Leslie Parrish. He writes in the introduction “This is a story about a knight who was dying, and the princess who saved his life.” And so it is. It is a story of the magic of simply being alive.

Because there is magic alive in this world. Hidden away in plain sight. The crackling magic of selfless love. The fairy dust of our ability to change our lives in an instant. The breathtaking power of our ability to create, to transform, to change the world. Each and every one of us holds the magical power of the Universe in our hands, ready to be used for good or evil – to build up, to heal, to create – or to tear down, to curse, to destroy.

It seems that we know, intuitively, that there is something else, some deeper ability lost to humanity. It’s why stories like “Lord of the Rings”, “Eragon” and the Harry Potter series seem to resonate with us. We mourn the loss of Terry Pratchett whose Discoworld series seemed be the bridge between this world and a magical universe. Films like “The Matrix” appear have more than a grain of truth to them – and isn’t the story of The Doctor simply the story of a magician.. with a box? Stories of the faerie folk, of dragons, wizards, legends of Merlin, the mystical powers of the shaman, the mythology of the Aboriginal dreamtime seem somehow real. We know, somehow, instinctively, that there is more here than meets the eye. Sometimes we catch a glimpse of it in the new physics.. the concept of quantum entanglement, the existence of the zero point field and more mysteries that unfold every day – all seem to be clues to a world where the usual rules do not apply.

For sure, sometimes we fear that we’re wrong . . .

“We think, sometimes, there’s not a dragon left. Not one brave knight, not a single princess gliding through secret forests, enchanting deer and butterflies with her smile.  We think sometimes that ours is an age past frontiers, past adventures.  Destiny, it’s way over the horizon, glowing shadows galloped past long ago and gone.

What a pleasure to be wrong. Princesses, knights, enchantments and dragons, mystery and adventure … not only are they here-and-now, they’re all that ever lived on earth!

Masters of reality still meet us in dreams to tell us that we’ve never lost the shield we need against dragons, that blue-fire voltage arcs through us now to change our world as we wish. Intuition whispers true: We’re not dust, we’re magic!”

So just sometimes, just for fun, let go of the grown up act that put aside such foolish childishness. Reach back and remember a time long ago..or maybe not so far back..when for you, magic was real, and where anything was possible.

Then breathe it into your soul and remind yourself: you’re not dust. you’re magic.

 

 

Find out more at www.timhodgson.org

Nov 07

Rules? What rules?

stop sign rules

“I thought there were rules?” (Tiffany Aching) “Oh? Really? Did you sign anything? Did you take any kind of oath? No? Then they weren’t your rules.”  (Granny Weatherwax) (‘A Hat Full of Sky’, by Terry Pratchett)

We live, as Morpheus observed in ‘The Matrix’ in a world governed by rules. And as he went on to say, some of them can be bent. Others can be broken.

Some of them we defy at our peril. Gravity, for one. Others, we seem to accept because it makes for an easier life. We accept so many rules about life – the things we should do, and the things we shouldn’t.

So many of the rules we accept though are just products of society. Perhaps it’s time we decided to ask ‘what if”?’

What if that isn’t true?

What if I could do that?

What if I could take that risk?

What if I’m not too old. What if I’m not too young?

What if I don’t need an education?

What if I did?

What if I didn’t?

What if that’s not true?

What would happen if you ignored some of the rules?

Just because someone says it’s so doesn’t make it so. I got a letter the other day that said, in effect, “You are required to send proof of your tax code”. Required by who? No one is saying. So until someone does, I’m not doing it.

Decide what your rules are. Challenge your own rules. Challenge the rules that others create for you. Challenge the rules that society sets on you. Challenge the rules that your religious beliefs create. Challenge the rules that your lack of religious beliefs create.

In ‘Raising Steam’ Pratchett observes that “The Universe, while it requires rules and stability, also needs just a tincture of chaos, the unexpected, the surprising.. Otherwise it would just be a mechanism – a wonderful mechanism, ticking away for centuries, but with nothing different happening.”

We’re the ones who bring the chaos. We’re the ones who create the surprise. We’re the ones who decide that just because someone says it’s so, that doesn’t mean it’s so.

Because beyond the edge of the rules lies the magic. The magic of creation. The miracle of change. The world belongs to the magicians who ask “what if” and challenge the world of what is.

As the Postmaster in Raising Steam observed: “I have to find the edge of the envelope and put my stamp on it, otherwise life wouldn’t be worth dying for.”

 

Find out more at www.timhodgson.org

Apr 02

Step into a world of magic…..

Albus_Dumbledore

Perhaps some folk take exception to my occasional use of the word ‘magic’ to describe the otherworldliness of a space where miracles are not only possible, but our birthright, where we are deeply in touch with the Earth, with the Universe, with the animal kingdom and with each other. I haven’t found a better word yet that summons up something beyond our understanding.

And of course, this is the key to the appeal of stories like the Harry Potter series: a sense that, somehow, if we could find our way to it, we are, truly, magical. That unique and mysterious abilities are possible for each and every one of us. That, rather than being at the beck and call of the physical world, that we can in some way transcend it. That we are, at our hearts, truly connected to each other in intuitive and supernatural ways. that we have powers beyond our grasp, and all we need to do is to reach out and take hold of them.

I’m pretty certain that it’s true.

Mar 12

Who would you be if you knew who you really are?

hugo

Sometimes it’s really hard to recognise ourselves as magical and powerful beings. It’s tough to recognise the wizard in you in and among the detritus of daily life. It’s difficult to see the adventurer in you when you’re buried under the worries and troubles of holding things together. It’s hard to know you’re a hero when you’re struggling to make ends meet. But just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not true. Sometimes it just needs one person to recognise the magic in you. It only takes one person to see past the mundane and into the reality of the hero inside you. It only takes a moment to recognise the magic.

Look for the magic and wonder in everyone you meet. because it might just change their life. And it might just change yours.

Feb 04

The magic is all around you..

magic earth

For me, magic is the otherworldliness that runs through the Universe, the sense that anything could happen, the sense that if we peel back the layers of the ordinary, we will discover something truly miraculous at the core of existence. At one level, it is completely alien, supernatural, out of the ordinary, unbelievable. And at another, truer, level, it is absolute normality… the miraculous is simply ‘how things are’.

The more we explore the universe, the weirder things get, the stranger, the more amazing…

Did you know that if two electrons occupy the same space they become entangled… and if you separate them, by many many miles, a change in one affects the other? Did you know that if you cool something down to absolute zero, the point at which nothing moves, there is still a mysterious energy, the zero point field, that seems to be everywhere and nowhere – at the same time? Did you know that some scientific experiments at the quantum level change depending on what the experimenter expects to happen?

There are strange and remarkable things in this world, and for me the more I expect the miraculous, the more I expect to be surprised by this wonderful and amazing planet, this strange and beautiful universe. Albert Einstein himself said:

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.

The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

The more I look for miracles, for coincidence, for things to happen that I did not expect… the more they do. The more I relax into trusting that everything is going to be OK – then the more I find that it is. The more I simply let go and stop forcing things… the more delightful and wonderful and unexpected beauty appears in my life. The more I am thankful for the miracles that I already have… the more miracles happen.

The more aware we become, the more we learn to listen, the more we pay attention to the miracle in every moment, the more grateful for each and every single moment, the more we see the magic in a raindrop, in a spider’s web, in a child’s hand, in a touch, in a kiss, in a cloud scudding across the sky.. then the more magic rushes to meet us.

1-TimSignature

Jan 30

The time is NOW….

purple pad - time

 

One of my favourite quotes from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld is found in ‘The Thief of Time’. It explains . .

“The first words read by seekers of enlightenment in the secret, gong-banging, yeti-haunted valleys near the hub of the world are read when they look into the Life of Wen the Eternally Surprised. The first question they ask is: “Why was he eternally surprised?”

And they are told: “Wen considered the nature of time and understood that the universe is, instant by instant, re-created anew. Therefore, he understood, there is, in truth, no Past, only a memory of the Past. Blink your eyes, and the world you see next did not exist when you closed them. Therefore, he said, the only appropriate state of the mind is surprise. The only appropriate state of the heart is joy. The sky you see now, you have never seen before. The perfect moment is now. Be glad of it.”

Sometimes we forget, as human beings, that the only moment that we can really enjoy is NOW. NOW is the only thing that really exists. The past is simply a patchwork of recollections, increasingly dimmed by the passing of time. The future is an assembly of conjectures, hypotheses, projections, hopes and fears. All we really have that we can do anything with… is NOW.

And NOW is the only point at which we have power. It is the fulcrum on which the earth moves, on which the lever pivots. The past has happened. Get over it. The future is yet to be. Look forward to it, but do not depend on it.

Immerse yourself in it. Enjoy it. Use it. Savour every single moment of it. Be surprised. Be delighted. Because NOW is the only place that you really exist.

1-TimSignature

Jan 27

It’s Stardust….

infinite potentialSometimes, someone says something that’s worth reflecting on. Author Neil Gaiman often says something that’s worth reflecting on. Neil is the author of lots of wonderful books, including Stardust and American Gods, as well as the amazingly evocative, spooky and thoughtful Sandman comic books.

 

I’m particularly fond of The Graveyard Book (from which todays quote comes – this may in fact be my favourite quote ever) and I also loved his address to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.. worth reading the whole thing.. but here’s what I took away from it…

 

First of all: When you start out you have no idea what you are doing. Don’t let that be an excuse for not starting. As Morpheus observed of Neo in ‘The Matrix’:

“Everyone falls the first time. If you never know failure, how can you know success?”

But get going. Make things happen. Some of them will work. Do more of that. Some of them won’t. Learn from those.

Secondly, If you have an idea of what you want to achieve, what you were put here to do, then just go and do that. Don’t deny the call in your soul. Don’t say ‘I couldn’t possibly do that’ or ‘no-one can make money from that’. You’re going to be miserable unless you give free reign to the call of your inner truth.

Thirdly, you’re going to have to deal with the problems of failure. Get used to it. Even when you’ve got experience, you’re going to fail sometimes. But now they’re not beginner’s error. They are real up front slap bang ‘should have known better’ and ‘I feel stupid’ failures. Deal with it. Dust off your pride. Move on.

Fourthly, I hope you’ll make mistakes. Welcome them. Value them. Learn from them. Use them. Remember Post It Notes? That came out of a project that was a huge failure. They invented an apparently useless non stick sticky glue. Yet someone saw the possibility of a non-sticky glue and made 3m a fortune. The history books are littered with things that worked out but that started out in abject failure. Take heart. Sometimes your failures are your greatest successes.

Fifthly, while you are at it, do your thing. Do the stuff that only you can do. We don’t want another version of someone else. We want you. YOU. Uniquely, wonderfully, powerfully you. Only you can bring your unique gift to the party – and the universe is waiting with bated breath for you to do it.

Sixthly. Stuff happens. Serendipity brings things together. Surprises will surprise you. Watch out for them. There is a huge amount of magic going on in the world. I agree with whoever said

“A coincidence is a small miracle in which God chooses to remain anonymous”

Pay attention. That song, that movie, that poster, that person you sit next to on the bus, the world is full of coincidences. Learn to spot them.

Seventhly. Make up your own rules. You think there’s a rule book for life. You think there’s some cosmic Santa Claus checking his list? As Neale Donald Walsch records God as saying to him in “Conversations with God”

“There’s only what works and what doesn’t, given what you are trying to achieve”

The greatest things that got done got done by people who decided to ignore the rule book and do it differently. I love this from DiscWorld:

Tiffany: “I thought there were rules?”

Granny Weatherwax “Oh? Really? Did you sign anything? Did you take any kind of oath? No? Then they weren’t your rules.”

The last word goes to Neil:

“And now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes.

Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.”

1-TimSignature

 

For Neil’s full address to the University of the Arts in Philadelphia – go HERE

Jan 10

Listen to your story

dr who storyStory is incredibly important in our lives. They create a magical world of possibility and of truth, of wisdom and of dreams. We listen to our parents and our teachers tell us stories and thrill to the scenes that open up for us – moments where anything is possible, where our dreams are real, where there are real heroes and knights, fairies and wizards, where we can believe in a talking cat or a fire breathing dragon.

Stories are a way that wisdom is communicated from generation to generation – whether those are the children’s stories that we learn tucked up in bed, or the tales that are woven from cinema and TV screens.

But stories are more than that, too. Stories resonate deep inside us. The success of the Harry Potter books was down to a deep understanding that magic should be real, that we can do amazing things, that even the most ordinary amongst us is capable of something extraordinary – and, of course, there’s no such thing as an ordinary person!

900 years

You’ll have to excuse the Doctor Who quotes, by the way… Doctor Who was a huge part of my world when i was growing up. It seemed that anything was possible, and that here was someone that could control time and space…. and that caught echoes inside me, and I folded that away with the other stories that spoke to me.

For each of us there are stories and mythologies that speak to us, particularly when we’re younger. Stories of magic, stories of heroes, stories of explorers and of kings and rulers, of wizards and wise men. Those stories hold keys to who we are – particularly the stories we loved as children, because when we’re young we haven’t been told what the world must be like – we’re more in touch with our intrinsic purpose, our reason for being here. Think back to those stories, if you will… you will find a true connection to what your heart longs for.

And don’t discount the stories that you hear now you’re all grown up.. those stories still find a way to speak to you deep in the core of your being. For sure, they may be saccharine coated or even hidden in darker tales, but the secrets are still there.

Take some time and consider the stories you’ve loved – you won’t have to think hard – and listen for the message inside. And maybe take a moment to reconnect to the magic that was oh so real when you were younger… because perhaps that magic is more real than you think….and maybe anything is possible.

TimSignature

PS if you’re interested in learning more about the power of myth and story and understanding how heroic archetypes play out in your life even today, then subscribe to my series ‘Pathway to Power’ HERE – you’ll get a subscription to my ‘Walking With Heroes’ program which goes into the power of myth and the Hero’s Journey in an inspiring 3 month series!