A Story of Real Magic

journal pipaluk practical magic Aug 09, 2023

I noticed him long before we were even at our gate. His green backpack was torn and he alternated between ackwardly holding it in front of him and carrying it on his back. Anyone with just a little ill intent would have easy game stealing something out of its innards. I immediately wanted to help but my hands were full, managing bags, sercurity and a baby' first flight along with impeding hangry feelings that definitely could not get out of hand.

With an overpriced meal in our hands we made our way to the gate an hour early, determined to find a spot to eat. After the food hit our bellies my partner worked and I had an hour to burn with a nine month old. We walked around the gate area only to discover the man with the torn green backpack. I smiled at him and he smiled back with an incredibly friendly face. I saw him walk towards the elevator and determined to make first contact and have some fun, I quickly walked myself and my child into the box that was about to carry us up a floor.

I smiled, my baby smiled, he smiled, I laughed, he said the baby is very friendly and I read his shirt out loud with gumption, "Kung Fu Panda!" It was my baby's first time flying and it was his first time flying, too. The journey to the airport had taken him over two hours and that's when his bag had ripped. He was on his way to visit family and I knew he would need another one and a half hours at least on public transport to get to his aunt and uncle.

We were long out of the elevator box and about to pass a smoking box in the long airport corridor when he said that's where he needed to go and my baby and I continued on our merry way. I looked all around. The cheapest bags were anything but cheap, so I decided to enter a drug store. Brigitte's name tag came up close to my face along with her question of whether she could help me find something. I didn't need anything at all but I had a baby in my arm and she loved babies and before I knew it we were taking selfies of ourselves, my child in her arms.

A few minutes later she knew all about the man with a torn bag, had my phone number saved in her phone, had sent me the pictures, and had given me one of those sturdy shopping bags to reuse over and over again for free from behind the counter. I began my walk back down the long corridor, my mind thinking faster than my feet were walking.

I was going to tell the man that I got the bag for free when I gave it to him. I was going to share the story of Brigitte who works at the drug store so he would know she was the one to thank. This brought me to another thought: It was his first flight. His first experience of traveling inside a metal air ship with wings like a bird. Here I was, finding him a bag and it made my thoughts flip around to start focusing on his experience of me.

Giving him the bag was lovely and suddenly became secondary as I spent the rest of the trip thinking of the experience other people were having of me. What meaning was I adding to their lives? A first flight when grown up is memorable. Would having a stranger going on a mission to find him a bag to help with his torn bag give meaning and memory to it? How long would he remember it for?

We arrived and our luggage took more than an hour to meander off the conveyor belt and into our arms. A baby is an incredible conversation starter, so soon I found myself complementing a wonderful outfit and getting a recipe for a 13 layered lasagna according to southern Italian tradition. Her experience of what I had said regarding her outfit opened a floodgate of words and sparkling, joyful eyes. The luggage had to come by twice with my partner egging me on several times to say which one was ours. I was enraptured.

What meaning am I giving to the lives of others, moment to moment? What is their experience of me?

To a large extent I can control it. I can smile or not. I can say something nice, or not. I can help out, or not. I can make fun and laugh and hug Brigitte, or not.

Don't we all have this power at all times to change other people's live? To influence what meaning they attribute to the moment in which they interact with us, where the strands of our lives converge and tie little knots before moving apart again? Is this not one piece of incredibly powerful magic?

This is the key, this is magic.

What is the experience others are having of you, right now? What can you do to control it, to change it, to change the meaning of lives of others, bit by bit, radiating out, shining, helping, laughing, smiling, listening, complementing? What magic are you crafting in the lives of others today?

A long wait for luggage becomes not a nuisance or source of stress, because my focus is not on my experience at all, it is on their experience of me.

I am still fascinated as I think about it.

To finish, I might add this: When one side of our body is more flexible than the other, we often have to spend more time stretching the less flexible side. In that same sense, we are great at focusing on our own experience all the time.

I therefore want to ask you this: What would happen if we would emphasize focusing on the experience that the world around us is having of us, more than we focus on our experience of the world? What world would we end up living in?


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