Practical magic

by Rebecca A. Watson on April 4, 2011

in beliefs, magic

I’m a big fan of magic. Given the right mentality, proper motivation and a little faith, I’m fairly confident I can stop time, heal others and fly. So when I heard about the movie Limitless, I was equal parts irritated and excited.

For those who don’t know the premise of the film, here’s the trailer:

I’ve not seen the movie, but I’m going to decide my own ending. This man who takes these pills was actually taking placebos. A woman (or other love interest) helps him understand that. He wakes up from his dependency to realize that he was capable of these things all along.

As soon as I heard about the plot to this movie, it annoyed me because everyone has the ability to be limitless but most of us just don’t know it. Our minds are powerful tools that are held in check by societal norms, familial attitudes and general habits. From the moment we’re born, our nerve, our abilities, our magic is being shaped by what those around us do, what we’re told and how we’re treated.

At the same time the release of this film excited me because maybe it would awaken that realization in other people aside from me. Perhaps others would have epiphanies in the theater, exiting into their own personal super-hero moment.

And, oh wouldn’t that be sweet, I thought. More people doing exactly what they wanted without regard to what they or others told them they could do. I was riding my high, heading into a motivational blog post thinking I’m going blow their minds.

But I woke up this morning and this thought rained on my parade: If I really thought I was limitless, would I be living life the way I do?

That screeched me to a halt.

It took me awhile to come up with the answer. I went through my goals (wealthy, Nobel Prize winning novelist optioned for a movie by the Coen brothers with land in Downieville, Sweden and New Zealand to name a few) along with a few whimsical desires (songstress and model traveling the world).

I came up with this:

Instant gratification is one of the warriors, nay the key players, destroying our belief in magic. And in ourselves. And Limitless, like most of Hollywood and America, isn’t helping. But the battle isn’t one-sided. Our lack of patience and discernment are destuctive forces against the magic of fulfilling our destiny, in realizing our true power.

I’m capable of any one of my goals, and with a little luck even my whimsical desires. (Luck and I go way back.) But what all of these things require is practice, persistence and patience. And then there’s the question of whether I even want them.

Yes, being a bad-ass, sexy frontwoman who models as a side gig around the planet sounds glamourous, but it also means talking to a lot of people I’m not interested in, staying up later and getting up earlier than I care to, and having a travel schedule dictated by someone else.

(One could argue that if I was limitless I could dictate all of these things, but I’m trying to live in the world everyone else insists on, so I guess I play by some rules. For now.)

On the other hand, I’m already an author, love to write, am familiar with geography or folks in all the aforementioned lands, and am pretty confident that I’ll always be wealthy.

But if I were a Hollywood movie, these moments that have taken years would simply be a blink in the plot to set up for the climax. (I’m reminded of Kurt Vonnegut’s explanation of drama.)

In another life, I’m fairly certain my impatience killed my limitless nature.  But in this one, I get it. I’ll stick around. I’ll edit my novel. Listen to other writers. Invest. Network. Travel. And believe.

The point I originally wanted to make remains: Magic exists inside of you. You’re capable of anything. You can do whatever you believe you’re able to do. But magic takes time. And it’s rarely as exciting as Harry Potter books/movies make you think it is.

And once you understand that, my secondary point is much more important: Be careful what you wish for. Know what you want. Make sure you consider all angles. Be discerning. Be patient. Be grateful. And keep your eyes open.

That’s when magic happens.

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