Way back in deepest darkest April (around the time I was building up the courage to bare all) I was feeling pretty glum. I was away from home, only employed until June, unfit, lonely – struggling to see the glass as half full. Wandering aimlessly around a bookshop (wasting time before going home alone to ANOTHER guest house and ANOTHER pasta salad) when the answer appeared before me – a beacon of light promising to solve all my problems. In just 28 days, it promised, I could be rich, fit, have a new job. My dreams could come true. I was intrigued – who wouldn’t be? I was excited too, I’d been looking for a more long-term project to try for the blog, this was perfect; a simple daily task that I could fit in alongside my work and other bloggy things. And, at only £9.99, how could I say no? On 3rd April 2012, I bought ‘The Magic’ by Rhonda Byrne, and set out on a journey to see if the law of attraction could work for me.
For those of you who haven’t heard of her before, Rhonda Byrne is the mastermind behind ‘The Secret’ – a DVD and book which has sold over 21 million copies worldwide. Drawing on ‘ancient wisdom’ and ‘the natural laws of the universe’, ‘The Secret’ explains the broad principles of the law of attraction – that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts, one can bring about positive or negative results; like attracts like. If you think miserable thoughts, or feel sad, you attract back to you events and circumstances that cause you to feel more sad or miserable. Conversely, if you think and feel positive and happy, you attract the nicer things in life.
Where ‘The Secret’ lays out the broad philosophy and ideas, in ‘The Magic’ Byrne sets out a series of daily tasks and lessons – a handbook to be followed. And I wouldn’t be following it alone! Christy (who has been mentioned so often, he might need a ‘best supporting blogfan’ credit soon) agreed to join me on my adventure. After setting out a list of wishes and hopes, things we wanted the universe to provide (you’ve got to have a dream, to have a dream come true), we started working through the tasks, excited to start ‘living the life of our dreams!’.
Obviously I’m not going to talk you through each task set – Here’s some ‘Best bits’:
Count your blessings
Every morning (before doing anything else) we were to sit down and write a list of 10 things we were grateful for. I am not a morning person, so this worried me – little did I know that the more difficult thing was writing the list!! The first day was fine – I was thankful for friends, family, my job, this new opportunity; the ideas kept coming. Then, when I sat down to attempt day 2, I found I wanted to write the same things again. And again on day 3. Looking through my notebook, I have written pretty much the same list for the first 7 days but have (cunningly) tried to make them look different (day 1: thankful for husband, day 2: thankful for marriage, day 3: thankful for relationship…). After a week or so, I settled into it and the things I was grateful for became more specific (e.g. thankful for the message I got from Jim this morning).
Christy, meanwhile, was surprising even himself with the things he felt grateful for at 7am each day. Highlights include:
- Eggy bread
- Rechargeable batteries (just naming things you see?)
- The Legend of Zelda
- Horn Sections
- Gratitude itself (!?!)
- The Breakage Remix of Ain’t Nobody by Claire Maguire
Brilliant. It’s like a stream of consciousness! But conscious gratitude which, after all, is the aim of ‘The Magic’ game.
The Magic Rock
Byrne introduces the magic rock as something that has ‘been a proven success with people the world over’ (I’m not going to go into the language in the book here but she certainly does make some big claims!). We had to find ourselves a rock that would fit into the palm of our hand, be smooth without sharp edges and ‘feel really good’. We then needed to talk to our rock each night, telling it about the best thing that happened that day.
This is Christy’s. His is called ‘The Rock’ and he is the most electrifying rock in all of sports entertainment.
As you may imagine we struggled to take this task seriously. I just kept forgetting, leaving him at home on my various weeks away. When I did remember, it felt contrived – I just felt silly.
Aside from our daily lists and our magic rock, we also had to be thankful for a specific thing each day – for example on Day 4 we were grateful for our health. Some of these tasks were quite time consuming and we both struggled to fit them in. Others just involved a change in mindset, and these were much more useful for me.
On Day 7, we focused on the ‘Magical way out of negativity’. According to Byrne, the answer to any negative situation you want to resolve is to focus concentrated gratitude on it until you feel better inside. So, if you notice yourself feeling negative, stop immediately and say ‘but I have to say that I am grateful for….’. As I’ve mentioned I was in quite a negative frame of mind at the time and so this was a real challenge. It made me realise how often I was feeling bad for myself or taking things for granted. In the end, I was stopping myself before a negative thought was fully formed and replacing it with something positive – and I felt happier. My glass was suddenly half full, at last!!
We didn’t manage to get through all the tasks (we missed a couple of weeks when I had Labyrinthitis and then couldn’t muster the enthusiasm to start again). However, I did continue some of the practices (daily lists, replacing negative comments as above) so we can at least try to measure whether my wishes have been granted by the universe. Being a researcher, I made a handy chart:
As you can see some good things happened (PhD, job extended, new car) and some bad things happened too (car broke, more debt, got fat). Overall though, I think the good outweighs the bad. So can I conclude magic is responsible for that?
I could, but I won’t (I remain a skeptic). However, I do think that the process has made me see my life more positively – to not just focus on the bad things. It has also made me more open to taking opportunities and chances – case in point, I’ve spent three years talking about doing a PhD and have never got round to applying before. There’s some logic in the idea that being positive in your actions will lead to positive outcomes, I’m just not willing to accept (yet) that that is the ‘magical power of the universe answering wishes’. But if you’re listening, Universe, a lottery win could change that… I’ll leave it in your hands.