Be Playful

Posts Tagged ‘adventure

Do you believe in fairies?

Photo by David Masters.

Standing in my yard at the back of my city house in Manchester is a garden gnome. In the midst of endless grey skies and dull red buildings, the gnome is a rupture of colour, a moment of brightness to my day when I notice him amidst the plants. He also reminds me to keep my eyes open for fairies and magical moments.

Do you remember the feeling at Christmas, knowing that Santa Claus was going to visit? I used to wish it could be Christmas everyday so that I could experience that magical feeling. On Christmas Eve I still struggle to sleep, the excitement for the next day keeping me awake.

Did you ever experience the magic of theme parks? The thrill of the roller coaster, a day seemed to last forever, and you wished it would never end.

Yet now I can see through this ‘magic’ of theme parks and Christmas. I can see that companies cynically exploit what should be a time of genuine magic and enchantment to make money. Although there is still a glimmer of hope within me, I have become disenchanted.

Looking around it seems as though much of the world has become disenchanted. Do you know anyone who visits the bottom of their garden looking for fairies? (You’re very lucky if you do!) We have seen through tricks of the magicians; we know that it is all fake, constructed by some sleight of hand.

Yet I, for one, still want to believe. I think secretly, we do believe.

Magic in Science

I recently read somewhere that ‘germs’ are like the new evil spirits. We can’t see them, yet we tell stories about them, aren’t really quite sure what they are, and imbue them with powers that they don’t really have. We use medical language (viruses, cancerous, bugs) to refer to things that we aren’t really sure why they happen, but we know are bad.

That’s interesting to me because magic and healing have always been closely linked. And so now, we’re taking words from science, and using them in a magical sense, albeit mostly in a negative way.

This gives me hope. Maybe magic will never leave us. We will always be looking for enchantment, for moments of beauty and wonder that strike us when we least expect it.

There are times in my life when I’m not looking for answers: I’m looking for a mystery, for an adventure to be swept up in. I’m looking for magic, for sparkles, for some fairy dust to sprinkle through my hair and make me fly away to an enchanted land.

Magic in Today’s World

Photo by Yves Lorson.

The Cinema
Somewhere else I read that going to the movies is the magic of today. Robert Segal writes this:

The cinema blocks out the outside world and substitutes a world of its own. The more effective the film, the more the audience forget where they are and imagine themselves in the time and place on the screen. Things are permitted in films that never happen in the ‘real world.’ In films, anything is possible.

One type of magic that I’ve noticed being talked about a lot recently is synchronicity. This is the idea that once you start to follow your dreams, things outside your control happen to you that help your dreams come true.

The City
Finally, for me, the city is a place of magic. One of my favourite authors who writes about the magic of the city is Leonie Sandercock. She writes this:

If we look at cities as centres of spontaneous creativity and festival, then we come closer to an appreciation of the presence of spirit around us. Our deepest feelings about city and community are expressed on special occasions such and carnivals and festivals. Our highest levels of creativity are seen in art galleries or heard in symphony halls. But the nourishing of the spirit, or soul, also needs daily space and has everyday expressions: two women on a park bench ‘gossiping’; a group of students in a coffee shop discussing plans for a protest; an old Chinese man practising his tai chi on the beach or in a park; amateur musicians busking in front of cafes and museums; an old woman tending her garden; kids skateboarding among the asphalt landscaping of sterile bank plazas…

Your Magically Enchanted Mission

Photo by Randy Son Of Robert.

Whether you live in a town, a city, or the countryside, carry a sprinkle of fairy dust with you in your pocket tomorrow.

And don’t forget to look for fairies at the bottom of your garden. Remember to be quiet and move slowly; fairies are very shy.


Photo by eye of einstein.

This week my Kaizen challenge was to blog every day. It was quite an adventure, especially finding so many beautiful photos on flickr – I was spoilt for choice! I thought I’d share the mountains climbed, the seas sailed, and the lessons learnt.

Posting to my blog every day was a challenge that I enjoyed, and I learnt a number of lessons from the difficulties that came up.

The main difficulties were getting motivated, finding the time to write, and technical problems with my internet connection. Also, because I was writing everyday, I felt that I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to research and plan my posts, so they could have been better quality.

The four key things I learnt were:

1. Writing blog posts takes a lot of time

Like any venture or adventure, you need to set aside time to blog. I think that’s why there are so many blogs in the world with only one or two posts – people set them up thinking it only takes five minutes a day.

I have found that it takes around 2 hours to write a blog post, find exciting pictures and relevant links, and edit it all together in WordPress. This is longer than I expected, and it means that if I was to continue posting every day, it would be a big time commitment.

2. The need for planning and research

ResearchPhoto by gadl.

When travelling there’s nothing worse than finding that your destination is sweltering hot and there’s nowhere to buy sunscreen. Research and planning are vital skills for even the novice traveller.

It was much easier to write blog posts when I had drawn up a rough plan in my notebook. I would have liked to have had more time for research, as quality research leads to quality blog posts.

3. I love writing

Since I left school I have always imagined myself as a writer, and at the moment I am fortunate enough to earn money writing. However, I found writing for pleasure about topics I choose even more enjoyable. The difficulty has been finding the motivation to do it, and committing myself to writing a blog post every day really helped.

4. Contributing is better than lurking

Adventure travel can be a solitary past-time, but it’s also one of the most sociable. You’re likely to get lost, lonely and bored very quickly if you’re not willing to communicate with fellow travellers. And it always amazes me the opportunities that arise when you do pluck up the courage to chat to that random person sitting next to you on a train.

Peter at The Change Blog has a great post about how being a contributor to the internet (through commenting on blogs, writing a wikipedia entry, writing your own blog, etc.) is so much better than just ‘lurking’ on other people’s web pages. Writing my own blog, I have found the truth of this for myself. It is very satisfying to see your own work on the internet.

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