If there’s one thing I know to be true, it’s that we are always surrounded by love, grace, and magic. These are core beliefs that have guided me for many years. Yet, to be honest with you, there have been long moments this year when I have forgotten that I am loved and that grace is always within reach. This year especially, I have had long days where it feels as if my spark for life has petered out and there is no magic to be found.

It isn’t as if any of these things abandoned me; I simply forgot about them. Because, of course, our thoughts help create our reality and I was the one extending my own suffering by turning away from what was before me. The world will always lose its luster when we stop believing it should shine.

It’s kind of like believing in Santa and the Magic of Christmas, ya know?  If we decide that Santa isn’t real, of course he isn’t going to come visit. If we stop seeking the magic in the holidays, no magic will exist for us to see.

Often it takes a simple spark to relight my flame of belief. I sit by my Christmas tree as the gloaming arrives and get a taste of the magic before me. We walk out to the car and JB opens my car door, a gesture of love. I get a card or email from a friend and am doubly reminded that there is love and grace everywhere in my life.

And when I’ve had a challenging day, spending the next morning with some spiritual reading and my first cup of coffee offers up a big dose of grace and the magic that words have to heal us.

When that spark of recognition reminds me of these things – of grace and love – of magic and delight – it also reminds me to look for these signs and reminders.

I’ve traveled to some pretty magical places and though the ocean will never fail to wow me, I know that if I open my eyes, I can find magic in the simplest of things. Like coffeeHow amazing is it that beans grown by farmers hundreds and thousands of miles away from me eventually find their way into my home? And that putting those beans through the grinder and then dousing the results with water gives me a warm and delicious drink.

Yes, it’s just a cup of coffee. But, see, there’s not just coffee in my cup, there’s magic. There are so many things at play here, just waiting for you to see them.

I want to share a few reminders so that you can see magic and love and grace and nourishment right where you are, as you are, right this moment.

There are going to be times when we find ourselves sleepwalking through our own lives.

No, it doesn’t mean you are a loser because you aren’t living in a constant state of awareness. No, you don’t need to have your Instagram account shut down for uninspired or trite posts. The solution is to simply wake up and open your eyes.

Seriously, stop a moment, take a deep breath, and look around you. There’s magic in the treasures on a beloved shelf, the laugh of a kiddo, the wag of your puppy’s tail, and in that cup in your hand. You have it within your power, right this moment, to witness the magic that surrounds you. And, darling, if you need to jump-start some grace for yourself, make a cup of tea or coffee with an approach of presence to every part of the process and create the magic and awareness you’re needing.

There are times when we feel as if we’re drowning in the “Have Tos.”

You know the ones: I HAVE to make dinner, I HAVE to go to work, I HAVE to bake a million cookies for the PTA, I HAVE to deal with Mt. Washmore, and I HAVE to buy five more Christmas presents for everyone on my list. First of all, sugarplum, these are all choices you are making because choosing not to do these things will result in consequences you don’t want live with, right? So, yes, you are making dinner to nourish yourself and your family and doing all those other things, too, because of love and responsibilities you took on.

Stop a moment and remind yourself: choice over obligation. And then, breathe in the magic buried within the tasks. The alchemy of turning raw ingredients into a meal and the alchemy of water and soap to clean the clothes.

The deeper magic afoot: the way your hard work blesses you and those you love.

When life is feeling tough, even chores I hate to do (like folding laundry) can be done with such tenderness that I can’t help but feel the spark of magic and the opportunity for a little grace.

There are times when everyone around us just irritates us, ya know?

Like why, oh, why did your little one decide to dump out all her Barbies? Why did dear hubby rearrange the pantry to a “more logical arrangement,” even though he never cooks? And why can’t your girlfriend stop whining about her ex-boyfriend already?

Nothing makes us feel as if the sparkle has gone out of the world faster than someone getting under our skin, does it? Yet, again, there are threads of love and connection within all of these acts. An opportunity for us to extend grace, right? And, nothing more reminds us of magic and love than the way our girlfriend hugs us when we’ve had a bad day and sees us, really sees and hears us, in a way no one else does. You can feel the magic in the air when you watch your little one play with those Barbie dolls in her fantasy world.

And honestly, our partners are kind of meant to irritate us in a good way, as this allows us to seek our rougher edges for polishing. And find ways to soften into who we are.

In truth, it’s these little irritations that bring the magic back, because within them, we hear and see the voices and faces of love, acceptance, and family. Sure, the whining and rearranging are annoying, but that girlfriend whines because she trusts you to listen, and that partner had good (if misguided) intentions. When we remember this, the spark comes back, the lights get a little brighter, and we’re able to sense that holiday spirit once more. No matter what the date on the calendar may be.

Sometimes, our own habits suck the very soul out of us.

When you find yourself endlessly scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and feel as if your inner light is slowly draining away, for the love of all that is Holy, darling, stop. Stop scrolling and clicking on things, especially the news and political Facebook posts that are going to make you feel anxious. Or those posts that stir up feelings of envy or make feel you feel as if you aren’t measuring up.

Instead, lace up your sneakers, bundle up, and get some fresh air.

No matter how much ick of the world I am feeling, spending time in nature never fails to wow me and present me with opportunities to witness magic. From the way the breeze blows the branches to the tiniest of birds flitting about to deep snowfall. There is magic within all of the natural world. And, of course, the reminder to be present, truly present, for ourselves.

Who can’t help but be reminded that there’s magic in nature when we experience the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year? Or see the full moon shine upon snow making the world as bright as day?

Magic surrounds us, love is all around us, and grace is always within reach. Yes, I know it to be true,my dear, now as we move through the holiday season and towards a brand new year. And always. Sometimes, we just need to be reminded that the sheer sparkle of life is there, even if it feels as if we’ve forgotten how to find it.

You’re surrounded by it, my dear, because all those things – magic, love, tenderness, hope, and grace – are right there in the most ordinary and simple of things.

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