Magic Without the Woo Woo

by Rebecca A. Watson on March 6, 2014

in happiness, magic, travel

One of the things on my to-do list on Monday was to go through my vision board, taking off what doesn’t fit anymore and adding new things. It’d been awhile since I’d even focused on it, really.

When we moved and I got it from the shipment, it took me a few months to put it up. I think I finally hung it up a few months ago when I was setting up my office.

I took a few minutes to pull down the pictures of Freiburg — one of which was right outside the temporary apartment we lived in — but didn’t bother adding anything new.

This week, as I started actually writing my book (research was pretty much finished last week), I figured it’d be a good idea to know what I wanted and put together some dreams to visualize. As I took down a photo of a sewing machine (Thanks Amy!), another picture caught my eye.



In case my not-so-awesome, camera-phone picture is hard to see, that’s Venice. Yup. I don’t remember when I put that up there. Definitely before we moved.

This is just one of many things that have been happening lately that seem magical. Since I’ve written about things that have bugged me for years — family, sexual abuse, shame, anger, the list goes on — I’ve felt a lightening.

This stuff suddenly doesn’t bother me anymore. Is just putting it out there enough to let it go, I wonder? It would appear that way.

Of course, I think it’s a combination of things, but there sure is something to the idea that this blog, and more generally, life around me is filled with magic.

A friend of mine has a vision board with pictures of her ideal home, and while she was looking for some houses for sale where they’re moving, one popped up that really caught her eye. This is it, she thought, and decided it better go on her vision board. Lo and behold, it was already there. She pinned it months ago while looking for inspiration.

Friday night in Venice the DJs shut down their dance parties in the piazzas around midnight, but we weren’t content to go home just yet.

venice carnival masks rebecca sante

Where else are we gonna wear these masks?

As we wandered toward a bar someone liked, we saw a large crowd gathered around it. There was a guy with speakers and a computer stacked on a moving dolly.

We danced through Venice, but as the crowd moved and we waited for friends, we couldn’t believe how far the nomadic DJ wandered. Venice is filled with steps — one of the least handicapped friendly places I’ve seen in Europe so far — and somehow he’d be hundreds of meters away in just minutes. Ah, the magic of Carnival.

I’ve written about this before, but I think it’s important to understand that magic isn’t what you see in the movies. Art imitates life, but usually takes it to the extreme. Magic requires patience and focus, two things that are in short supply in our instant-gratificationized, social-media-ed world.

We have all the things within us to make all we want a reality, if only we exercise them. I know that some people really aren’t into the idea of magic. I’m married to an engineer for gods’ sake: logic, realism and critical thinking rule his world.

But even if you’re not a believer, there’s a good chance you’d like to see your dreams come true. If that’s the case, what I’m proposing is that you try an experiment. None of it requires chanting or lighting candles or a pilgrimage to Sedona, but it does require an open mind and a little time.


This trip to Venice wasn’t the first thing I’ve visualized, and it certainly won’t be the last. And although I may be part of the minority of the population who actually uses my magic powers, I’m certain that the majority of us have this ability, even if you’re not a woo-woo type. Here’s what you do:

1. Get in tune with your desires. One of the big things, what determines whether we can bring about what we’re hoping or praying for, is actually knowing what the heck we want. I read this amazing blog post awhile ago about how the Universe is like a restaurant, and if you walked into a restaurant and said, “I’m hungry, I want some food,” you’re hardly gonna get fed.

2. Be specific. When I ordered Sante from the Universe, I made a long list, and he came complete with a love of onions and mushrooms, no addictions, and an  interest in being outside, among many other things. The only thing he didn’t come with was a love of watching baseball, which I could forgive, since he played it as a kid and we didn’t live close to a stadium anyway.

This is not a time to play with “I’ll know it when I see it.” When you’re specific about your goals, when you know what it is you’re looking for, when you can articulate it, that is when the magic happens. And it’s a lot of fun. I just filled up my vision board with an updated travel itinerary, retirement and bank account statements, writing awards, and pictures of views from our retirement home in Andalusia.

3. Make your wishlist concrete. There are plenty of ways to do this. You can write a list of what you want. Pray over it, if you’re into that sort of thing. But you don’t have to believe in anything to do this.

Put up a bulletin board in your house and get crackin’ with magazines, pinning up pictures of what you’d like. When we were moving I used Pinterest. It has private boards, and you can pin pretty much anything on the Internet — talk about letting your imagination go!

 4. Focus on it. After you find your medium, keep it somewhere you’ll see it every day, like in your car or next to your computer. If you’re using an online board, set it as your homepage on your browser. Make sure you’re looking at it, reminding yourself. It doesn’t have to be like some focused, crazy meditation (as evidenced by my Venice photo), it just has to be in front of your eyes consistently.

5. Do what brings magic out of you. Imagination, of course, is a big one. But along with that, patience and stillness. And mindfulness and joy. These come to all of us differently. It might be walking in the woods, meditation, jogging, painting, knitting, cooking or just taking a cat nap. I read an article about how creative folks do things differently, and a lot of those practices can help with magic too.

dancing with trees

Although not required, dancing with trees works well.

6. Know that you deserve what you want. This is a big one for me. I always think that it’s selfish to ask for what you want. Hell, for a long time, I wouldn’t even ask for what I needed. This is a deeply ingrained belief I had (and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone here) and am trying desperately to break.

For those of you out there that know you deserve a happy life and good things, seriously, embrace that and know you’re lucky. You might not even realize it’s a problem for other people because it’s so innate for you. You folks are blessed.

For those who aren’t so lucky, there are affirmations to help change that. I use Tanya Penny’s therapeutic meditation practices to help me. It’s possible to believe that you truly deserve what you want. It just might take a little work for some of us.

7. Accept the gifts of magic.  This is another one I struggle with. When we had the opportunity to go to Venice, the first thing I did was think of reasons we shouldn’t go. It costs money. It’s tiring to travel. (What?!?) I don’t really speak Italian. Well, shit. Why did I ask to visit in the first place?

candy venice carnival

The answer? Candy. Always, candy.

Say you told your friends about some big, grandiose wish you had, and they found a way to make it happen. Maybe as a birthday gift or something. How crazy would they think you were if you turned it down for some minute little detail? They’d probably be annoyed too at how much energy they put into it too.

I’m not saying you’re going to piss off the magic gods or anything like that — it’s about living in harmony with yourself. If you say one thing and do another, wires get crossed and connections get confused. That’s how fuses are blown. So just accept what you asked for. Heck, do a little dance and make this sound: “Eeeee!” It feels good to get what you want.

8. Review, revise and give it some time. One brilliant thing I was told is that I should review my wishlist every so often. Desires change and it’s OK to no longer want to buy that house in Boulder Creek. Maybe a trip to New Zealand instead? Yes, please!

Patience is also a virtue. Duh. We know this. And although it was less than a year ago I pinned the photos of a sewing machine, Augustinerplatz and the Venice canal on my bulletin board, it sure seems like a lot of time went by between then.

Give this project at least a year before you denounce it. That may seem like a long time, but how hard is it to leave some paper up in an area you’ll see for one year? It’s more work to take it down.

This is one of the easiest and most effective forms of magic I know. It doesn’t require elaborate celebrations, incantations or even a rudimentary knowledge of tradition Wicca. Once you’re sold on it, we can talk about getting you the magic wand 😉

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen March 7, 2014 at 4:50 pm

The timing on this is perfect. I opened up a pinterest account months ago and set up a private board to share an inside joke with my husband, but never did anything else with it. Last week, I showed my daughter how to set up an account and wanted to do more with it (but wasn’t really sure what) and then your post came. And honestly, it sounds like the perfect tool for me to explore something I’ve had trouble moving forward on. And I am very excited. And grateful. Thank you!!


Rebecca A. Watson March 10, 2014 at 12:17 pm

That makes me super happy to hear Kristen! Those private boards can work so well, and how cool that you just happened to be on the site last week? Love how things just work out like that. Best wishes on moving forward on things. Sometimes all it takes is willingness to try something new. Thanks for stopping by 🙂


Primrose March 10, 2014 at 9:21 pm

hmmm.. vision board… nice idea and some great pointers, thank you! I have a few images that I’ve pinned up round my desk recently which portray aspects of myself that I am trying to encourage, to grow if you like. Having them where they catch my eye often certainly reminds me of what I want to happen. P xx


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