I have a deep abiding love of magic. I see it everywhere I look.
From the trees surrounding my house as they sway whispering secrets, to the look on my rescue dog’s face as she overcomes her personal demons and joins me in the present.
It is true we associate magic with fairy godmothers, wizarding wands and a wide array of colorfully captivating pictures, films, books and games.
For me, magic is something special external to me that touches me internally.
I look for unique gifts in my everyday life. I do this with hopeful behaviors which wrap the ordinary delicately in shimmering gift paper transforming them into magic for me to unwrap each day.
Story is a great teacher.
Themes of magic and fantastic results woven into stories draw us to distant lands. The things we learn in those lands can be carried back to our present and put to work creating beautiful outcomes in our lives today!
The old Brother’s Grimm fairy tale The Frog Prince has been re-fashioned many times. Within the many variations of this story, the one constant is, a frog transforms into a prince. Modern variations tell, a kiss from a spoiled princess ignited his transformation.
It is not my place to judge the princess in the story, but I do periodically ponder what caused her to kiss the frog?
You see, she took an uncomfortable action and the result was magical!
What made the result magical? She kissed a specific frog.
I have a small pond in my backyard and every year I look forward to the return of the frogs! I’m quite afraid to go near most slimy and crawly things, but I do love and appreciate frogs from afar.
I like to play, “Where’s Waldo?” as I gaze at the lily pads and count how many I can spot despite their camouflage.
I often wonder if any of them are enchanted princes. To this day I remain in love with the idea of kissing a frog and having him transform into a prince. I think of this every spring and summer when I visit my frog friends by the pond.
Today’s Big Question: What are we to do when we’ve kissed a lot of frogs in our lives, but none of them have turned into princes?
What do I mean by kissing lots of frogs? Let’s look at my fifteen year plus health journey.
Have I ever done anything uncomfortable with the hope of finding dramatic results?
Have I ever taken actions to attempt to recover my health which yielded NO RESULTS?
Have I ever taken actions which yielded negative and undesired outcomes?
YES. To all of the above.
Kissing frogs is risking doing the uncomfortable (and potentially ridiculous looking) to receive a desired (or magical) outcome.
Many of the valiant and outwardly ridiculous attempts I have made to change my situation over the years have not produced the magical outcomes I hoped for. In fact, most of them yielded pain, sorrow and anger.
I know what it is to place all my emotional eggs in one basket with the hope of experiencing relief from my pain and challenges.
Overwhelmed by my pain, I have gathered my little remaining energy and sprinted to many a froggy-shaped potential solution. Or I became stuck, frozen in shame and judgment and unable to move forward.
What am I risking to attempt to get unstuck?
Where does the “stupid/shame” feeling come from?
For me, the “stupid/shame” feelings come from viewing what didn’t work as failure. Failed expectations from the intense pain of loss compound the emotion.
When we hope for something and it does not come to pass, the loss of the imagined hoped-for outcome is significant. The glare of what did not work contorts our faces as we squint back. Many get stuck here. I know I can.
But my friend, self-judgment does not create magic.
It does not transform froggies.
It doesn’t even create new situations where we might meet new froggies to test. It freezes us in the past and immobilizes us in an emotion fueled “why” state of mind.
Let’s ask another question:
What does failure have to offer me?
My Mind Model Coach Blair Dunkley likes to say, “To fail is simply our ‘First Attempt In Learning’.”
There is a hidden gift in failure. It is learning from what did not work so we can do something different next time.
Please don’t wrap your failures in shame and throw them in the trash.
You are missing out on the precious gems hidden inside. Peel away the judgment and look deeper. Evaluate what didn’t work and formulate your next move based on this valuable information.
For my purposes today, I’m going to change the “F” to “Frequent.” Fail = “Frequent Attempts In Learning” based on the fact that I had to fail many, many, many, multitudes of times to eventually discover which specific frogs transformed into the missing magical treasures I was searching for!
Treasures for my health, for my heart and for my life.
What motivates us to risk being uncomfortable and test kissing different frogs?
What inspires us to put ourselves out there and rally for yet another valiant attempt?
I touched on this earlier and this is part of what hurts so much when things don’t work.
My hoped-for outcome. The story I picture in my head when I’m weighing the discomfort involved.
Hope was a four-letter word for over a decade of my life. And at times still can be. Just mentioning the word, hope, used to inspire an unholy rage in my soul.
Let’s look deeper.
I love the Bible. Its definition of faith is, “the substance of things hoped for…” (Hebrews 11:1a) How can something we “hope for” have substance or assurance? What takes things we hope for and transforms them into real results? Behaviors my friend.
Many believe faith is a nebulous and passive word, based only on what is in our thought life. I have found faith to be exactly the opposite. If “faith” is going to have “substance” or “assurance,” it must contain external qualities.
What things are external? BEHAVIORS.
My friend, when we are numb and our pain is overwhelming us, it IS possible to behave and live hope without feeling it.
Condemning someone for not “believing enough” to create change in the midst of unspeakable pain or loss is most unkind.
Judgment from others and from ourselves is cruel and is not the kind of tender care an individual needs to create growth and change in their life.
We must become like children and test ideas with imagination and curiosity to discover which modalities best align with our unique needs.
The magic isn’t in waving a wand and being instantly “cured” or “wealthy” or fill-in-the-blank.
The magic is in the behavior!
Behaviors are where we discover our treasures and the things that DO work for us.
Blair also likes to say, “If you don’t do it, it doesn’t count.”
The action of the kiss is what transforms our froggies into princes! The behavior of the attempt. Through frequent testing, I discovered treasures.
It takes time. I stack multitudes of failures and kiss many froggies that stay froggies.
Not every solution will be effective. With help, I am able to take the actions and walk down a path of testing and learning regardless of my periodically numb and somewhat pissy attitude toward hope.
We've discussed in my What Works Wednesday Instagram and Facebook videos, the supreme importance of the testing process in our health and life journeys. Please refer to these to discover some of the valuable treasures I found in the froggies that did turn into princes.
Faith is a behavior. It is the decision to take actions toward the results you hope for regardless of how you feel, in order to get where you want to go.
My challenges in life, health, relationships and business are impacted by my behaviors: how I think and what I say and do. I don’t have control over what happens to me, but I do have control over my thoughts.
I get to choose what I think about and how I respond.
What we each treasure is unique. What works for me may be different than what works for you. That is not only okay, but expected.
What specific actions might you take to discover new resources for your life right now?
The magic, dear friend, isn’t in the wand. It’s in HOW you wave it.
Wave on brave one.