Reclaiming a Sense of Enchantment

Find your wayFor a while now I’ve been interested in the idea of re-enchanting the world, returning to a sense of wonder and delight in the workings of the universe as more miraculous than we think or can capture with our linear minds. So recently while reading a book about the Celtic spirit, I was intrigued by the fact that the English word enchantment is often found in Celtic faery lore. It derives from the word chant with Latin origins meaning to sing. For the Celts an encounter with the Faerie people was often heralded by beautiful ethereal music.

One of the things I love about spending time in Ireland is the way music, myth and the Celtic spirit infuse the place lending a sense of enchantment that is missing in much of Western culture. The wealth of sacred sites, holy wells and musicians playing the pubs all over the country delight me. The subtle awareness that the invisible realms are at work, that the ancestors are nearer than we think and ready to help us, opens me up to looking at the world in a more expanded way.

Nature is another place I find full of enchantment. Yesterday a young red-tailed hawk circled overhead emitting shrill cries as it curved through the air. I had the distinct sense that this was a bird not long from the nest enjoying trying out its wings and the freedom of soaring. Last week I was having my oil changed at a place that had small outdoor courtyard with planters of tall blue flowers. I sat quietly in a metal chair next to the plants and within a few minutes became aware of a hummingbird buzzing within inches of me, dipping her needle bill into the throat of the flowers to sip the sweet nectar. I was filled with wonder. Who would expect enchantment while waiting for your car to be repaired. Yet the more I consider this subject it seems that magic is everywhere if we are willing to open to it.

We can experience wonder looking in the eyes of our children or our lover. In the things that make us laugh. In the music that makes us tap our feet and want to get up and dance. In whatever makes our hearts sing. We only need to look at our world with fresh eyes wiped clean of our habitual ways. Spending time in nature can help. So can reading poetry especially by the poets like the Sufi mystic poets Rumi and Hafiz or by Mary Oliver who expresses constant state of wonder in the natural world.

Mindfulness is important. We can use our breath to bring us into the moment. Our minds can get in the way of seeing and sensing the wonder around us. The more we can be present and paying attention with open curiosity the more likely we will have awareness of the miraculous. Adopt a child-like sense of the wonder by looking at something we think of as ordinary as if we are seeing it for the first time. This can shift our perspective. Exercising our creative muscles in what ever ways that call to us opens the door to making our hearts and souls sing which may actually be the most important ingredient in reclaiming enchantment in our world.

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