There is magic in the world around us. Typically the very young and the very old have no trouble finding it. It's the perpetually busy rest of us in the middle who miss the magic every day.

Finding magic

Baby Milly sits on the sand splashing ocean water through her tiny fingers. She blinks large drops of salt water from her eyes, wipes her face and slaps the water again, laughing as she watches its beads jump in front of her. She's not thinking about what she ate for breakfast that morning or worrying about what time she has to go down for a nap later that afternoon. She's fully engaged in the moment. She has eyes to see and ears to hear the hidden wonders everywhere around her. It all looks like magic to her.

She watches a tiny crab scuttle across her toes. She marvels at the tug of the waves as they roll rhythmically in and out against her little legs. She tips her head back and smells the salt air, smiling under her tan bonnet. The sun beams overhead in a blue sky with only a few cotton-white clouds. She doesn't miss a thing. Her world is full of wonder.

Missing out on life's magic

A little farther up the beach, a busy man sits under an umbrella with his nose buried in a newspaper. His brow is furrowed. He's muttering over something - maybe the stock market. He does not see the tiny crabs. He does not notice the waves move across the sand. He looks worried. He could be anywhere and be doing what he's doing. He's not at the beach. Not really. He sees nothing.

We miss so much of life's magic by either reliving a past that is long gone, or worrying over a future we can neither control nor predict. When we worry, our hearts tend to beat faster and our palms sweat, as if we are actually facing danger. Our blood pressure may rise as well. This does not contribute to our overall sense of well-being.

The magic of being present

In the July 14, 2011 issue of Psychology Today, Michael J. Formica in an article titled, "Enlightened Living" reminds us that multi-tasking is neither possible nor advisable. We can really only do one thing at a time. "Staying present, then, means staying right here ... Let the rest go ... Travel light - what we do not need in that moment, don't take on board."

Instead of worrying needlessly, we should take time to notice the magic all around us. Perhaps life has become too cumbersome to appreciate its simplicity. We don't see pastures littered with wild blue bonnets because we're too focused on getting where we're going to appreciate their blooms.

How to appreciate life's magic

1. Take time every day to meditate or pray.

2. Focus on the abundance in your life, not the lack.

3. Keep a gratitude journal. Make at least one entry every day.

4. Look for ways to simplify. Perfect can be the enemy of the good enough.

5. Do one thing at a time. We may think we're good at multi-tasking. No one really is. (Not even mothers.)

6. STOP. Really look at the sunset. Watch your child sleep. Take your teenager to lunch and just listen. Take a weekend away with your spouse and do nothing.

This may not be easy at first. But it will be worth it. Let go of the past. Don't overly focus on the future. Be present in your own life.

Open your eyes wide and look around you. Live each day for the pure joy of living. Believe in magic and find it everywhere.

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