At the beginning of this year, I saw a newsletter from Hannah Brencher that introduced 2021 as “the year of slow magic.” I was immediately drawn to the term “slow magic”, loving the idea that we are consistently in the midst of a slow but meaningful build up to something great. Something that is better than all of the quick fixes we might look for in a pinch.
In thinking about this, I remembered a video I saw last year that showed a time lapse of house plants moving throughout the day. Based on my personal experience with houseplants, I was under the assumption that they do little besides quickly and efficiently die. And while I know this change—or perhaps this murder—occurs inside each and every day, it is hard to see it as it’s happening.
The same can be said about the things we struggle with in our daily lives. So often we wait for change, hoping and expecting it to arrive overnight and yet each day it would seem no progress has been made.
It’s hard to believe in the slow magic. It’s hard to have faith that good things are working behind the scenes and that change is happening little by little. But it is. It always is. And that doesn’t mean to stop trying new things, to stop pursuing new paths, or to give up entirely and let the slow magic do all the work. It simply reminds us to believe in what lies ahead. To find hope in the successes that are happening behind the failures. And to look forward to the good that is coming your way, that is stirring inside you right now, even when you can’t feel it yet.
So believe in that slow magic. Even in times like this. Even in moments that are tough. Even when it feels like there’s nothing left to believe in.
Things are always moving. Change is always happening. Magic is always at work.
No matter the year, no matter the season, there are always going to be things that inspire us. Things that make us want and dream or fight and persevere, things that make us laugh or dance or cheer or all of the above. My personal favorite are the things that spark your interest, perhaps in a way you don’t quite understand yet, and then simmer in your mind until their full understanding comes to light. This year, there were many things that inspired me, both as a writer, a woman, a daughter, a sister, a dreamer and just as a human.
Here are some of those things:
1) These podcast episodes
I listened to a lot of great podcasts this year (many of which I listed on my rec roundup) but there were a couple episodes that particularly stood out and had me feeling all the feels.
Rachel Hollis Podcast, Episode #151: Reclaim Your Magic w/ Elizabeth Gilbert (which inspired this blog)
Heavyweight, Episode #32: Vivian
Straight Up with Trent Shelton, Episode #46: Three Things You Need to Disarm to Bring Your Greatness to the World
2) This quote from Untamed
“Being fully human is not about feeling happy, it’s about feeling everything.” – Glennon Doyle
3) I Left the House Today by Cassandra Calin
I saw this book at Target and more or less impulse bought it because I liked the title and the first few comics I saw inside. Once I brought it home, I then proceeded to read the entire book in one sitting. It is relatable, honest, heartfelt, clever and so funny. Highly recommend!
Yoga was an absolute lifesaver for me this year. It gave me a sense of calm when the entire world was in chaos, and it helped me find a routine when I didn’t have motivation to do much of anything. Yoga with Adriene in particular was such a blessing as she became not only a teacher, but a friend during such a lonely time. I would recommend her to anyone and everyone, no matter your yoga level or experience. She is wonderful!
6) This song by Riley Clemmons
7) Fortitude by Dan Crenshaw
“In entertaining failure, you will embrace it.”
“You have a purpose in this life. God has you here for a reason. You may not know it, but He does. Your job is to find it. No one else can. You need to understand that your purpose may be great in the eyes of the world, or it may be commonplace and seemingly small.”
This account is run by a husband and wife who are using social media to leave behind stories and lessons for their grandchildren. Often there are drawings that go along with stories and they are so sweet and creative and emotional. I am always excited to see a new post from them.
9) Gerald Stratford
This is truly the most delightful, wholesome Twitter account that exists. Gerald doesn’t want to talk politics, he doesn’t want to yell and scream, he just wants to show you the vegetables he is growing and I am HERE FOR IT GERALD.
10) Little Women
I saw this movie in theaters early this year, and even though most days from March to now are a blur, I can still vividly remember sitting beside my best friend in the movie theater, our cheeks wet from crying, unable to move even as the lights came on and people started to leave. I love this movie and often watch it whenever I’m looking for a spark of inspiration—or a good cry.
Growing up in Los Angeles, Kobe always had a special place in my heart, but it was truly remarkable to see the impact he had on so many lives, worldwide. In the weeks and months that followed his tragic passing, I marveled at the widespread unity that came with the grief. I read and watched so many stories, including this one, which I can still barely watch without crying, but I have loved to see the term #girldad come to life in its wake.
12) The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto
“What you’re thinking about can be what you become.”
“But even beginnings have beginnings.”
“As life goes on, you will join other bands, some through friendship, some through romance, some through neighborhoods, school, an army. Maybe you will all dress the same, or laugh at your own private vocabulary. Maybe you will flop on couches backstage, or share a boardroom table, or crowd around a galley inside a ship. But in each band you join, you will play a distinct part, and it will affect you as much as you affect it.”
13) folklore & evermore by Taylor Swift
I mean, how dare she? But also, thank goodness.
My favorites on folklore are peace, my tears ricochet & invisible string.
My (early) favorites on evermore are ivy, marjorie & gold rush.
14) This story
Please take the time to read the whole thing. It will make your day, I promise.
15) Get Out of Your Headby Jennie Allen
“When we listen to lies about our worth, we naturally back away from others. In many cases, our distancing behavior succeeds in pushing people away, reinforcing our fear of rejection. This is a classic mind trap, a self-fulfilling thought pattern in which our insecurity feeds our isolation, which in turn feeds the lie that we are worthless and nobody really gets us or cares to. We feel unseen and unloved, and to protect ourselves from further rejection, we won’t let anyone close enough to change our perception.”
16) Some Good News on Youtube
I LOVED this series started by John Krasinski on Youtube and often ugly cried throughout. This episode was particularly amazing because, well, HAMILTON.
I’ve been subscribed to this weekly newsletter by Hannah Brencher for a while now and it is the perfect way to start my week. She never fails to speak to my heart and inspire me, and I have many an email from her saved and starred in my inbox.
During List-cember—a series of list based posts I do in December—I usually post a blog that lists 25 things that have inspired me throughout the year. I used to only post it once a year, but in July of last year, I realized that there is never really a wrong time to share inspirational things.
So, I’ve made it a biannual thing. And since it’s already July (lol, what?) it’s that time of year! Let’s dive on in.
1) This 2019 game plan by @hannahbrencher
2) This song by Maren Morris
3) This line from the movie Unicorn Store:
4) The Dawn Wall & Free Solo (and pretty much rock climbing in general)
5) This #10YearChallenge post by Julianne Hough about finding your authentic self:
6) This video by Liza Koshy that was equal parts hilarious as it was a fun celebration of peoples’ (weird, but impressive) talents:
7) The Rise Podcast
I got into this podcast last year, but some episodes from this year have really hit me in the feels.
8) You’re a Badass by Jen Sincero
Some of my favorite quotes from the book are:
“How you do one thing is how you do everything.”
“Put yourself out there and you never know what you might learn that will inform your next move, or whom you might meet that will present you with your next opportunity.”
“Do your best wherever you’re at.”
“Everything you do along your journey contributes to where you’re going.”
“Get to the point where you have both unwavering faith and unwavering gratitude for that which you desire.”
9) This reminder:
10) The 30 for 30 podcast
(Especially the episode “Six Who Sat” which got me fired up for the marathon.)