I suppose, really, at some point I thought I’d transform into a butterfly.
A sparkly one, even.
At least, I thought that at some point I’d reach a stage in my life where I would wake up with effervescent enthusiasm every single day. That there would be very, very few challenging days. No arguments, ever. I would spontaneously start budgeting incredibly well and always remember to floss. My to-do lists would start checking themselves off.
I wasn’t crazy—I was just caught up in the whole transformation concept. I was letting go of things that weighed me down left right and center, smiling into the sunshine, and speaking almost only in affirmative quotes.
The shocking thing is that life kept happening. It just kept rolling right along. Problems kept cropping up to be dealt with. I still annoy people (and get irked) sometimes. Some months, I’m broke. Some days, I’m flat-out panicked.
I most definitely lack wings and sparkles. A unicorn, I am not. It has taken me quite some time to realize that the end result I was madly working towards is right now. Right damn well in front of me.
This moment. This crabby moment, this tired morning, this happy laughter, this genuine joy.
Being present for every single challenging moment allows for the blissful parts, when the worries ease away and you are, simply, there. Sipping your tea. Reading to your child. Going for a run.
Whatever it is that brings you to that moment—that’s the transformation I was looking for all along.
The minutiae of every day.
I realize I’m not telling you something novel. Every self-help book of late reminds us of this. From Tolle to Chopra to my yoga teacher himself, we are reminded of the importance now. Perhaps, though, we all need to learn it, ploddingly, for ourselves.
A few days ago, I slouched on my couch, staring at a homework assignment with blurry eyes, feeling overwhelmed and a little ripped off that I hadn’t exploded out of my cocoon yet. I looked down and observed that I had spilt tea on my favourite t-shirt, one that has a picture of a narwhal and says “Narwhals. Pretty Much F*cking Magic.”
In a moment of inspired homework procrastination, I googled narwhals.
Those creatures are magnificent—and bizarre. Among amazing things I learned—their tusk (actually a tooth) can bend a foot without breaking, making it incredibly strong and flexible. Both admirable qualities, I thought—useful in my own life. They are incredibly mysterious (we don’t actually know what the tusk is for). And they have never survived more than a month or two in captivity.
Wikipedia told me (in what a felt was a wistful tone) “some animals simply aren’t meant to be captured.”
I’m not going to tell you narwhals led me to my great epiphany. It is, after all, a lesson I already knew, and simply needed to be reminded of. Life isn’t easy. It’s dazzling and prodigious, but not easy. The real magic in life is what happens when we are present through the challenges, and we remember, again and again, to treasure all of the little, simple, sublime moments that come our way.
Everyone who’s jumping on the unicorn bandwagon? Count me out. I’ll be a mysterious, strong but flexible, never-meant-to-be-captured, not-imaginary narwhal any day.
Pretty much f*cking magic.