There’s an old woman that lives across the street from me. When I sit on my couch to write, I sometimes look out the window and see her standing in front of hers, gazing out at any signs of life on our block.
She seems to be in her eighties and lives alone. Her son visits a few times a week to bring her groceries and keep her company. Outside of his visits, her world consists of the four corners of her home and whatever happens on our street - which isn’t much.
I’ve lived in my apartment for three years, and have only noticed her daily outward gaze for two. I catch myself wanting to stop by with baked goods and to offer her conversation. I’ve thought about it but never ventured across the street. I wonder if she’ll find it strange that her neighbor is suddenly interested in speaking with her. These thoughts stop me from engaging with her, as well as being busy with everyday obligations.
I thought about this as I practiced presence with my surroundings this morning. I saw the blue jay resting on the tree in front of my apartment, a couple walking their Labradors with their strides distant and detached, and the white sky that reminded me of winter’s clasped grip.
How many opportunities do we have in a single day to make a difference in someone’s life? Where do we have the chance to positively impact a coworker, neighbor, or stranger's life? Are we as disconnected from others as we believe ourselves to be or is there a connecting thread that weaves us together if we opened our eyes to see it?
How much time passes by before we step outside of our everyday routines to spark magic in life?
I don’t think it requires much effort to yield alchemy in the ordinary flow of life. It could be as simple as walking across the street to say hello to a neighbor, to compliment a stranger, or to send encouragement to a friend.
Passion and magic don’t only exist in rare, heightened moments, but can be cultivated with a keen awareness of your surroundings and how your presence can be a gift to someone. All it takes is seeing things from this perspective to make your everyday world seem a bit more fascinating.
All it requires is taking action on your instincts to spark positive change in your world.