Magic Genie

This week’s exercise on finding our True Selves will be fun, which is a good thing because in this coronavirus environment we’re past the intense preparation stage of laying in supplies (sanitizer and toilet paper and rice and beans) and we’ve figured out our face-covering solution and our Zoom connection, and we’re looking around at the same scene we looked at yesterday and the day before and the day before that, and a little fun would be nice right now.

So we’re off!

Step 1: Get yourself a Genie. My brother, in his youth, would have picked Barbara Eden from I Dream of Jeannie but I’m going for the Robin Williams version from Aladdin. I want a Genie that’s big and blue and for whom anything and everything is possible and fun.

Step 2: The Genie lays out the rules. You don’t get three wishes, your number of wishes is unlimited—the more the merrier, the bigger the better.

Step 3: Turn to your Genie and start making wishes for things you want to do, be, or have. Go fast! Write them down! Fill the page! Make more wishes! When you’ve exhausted yourself of wishes, move on to…

Step 4: Get your lists of people that you Admire and Secretly Admire. Look at the names and decide who to include in your wish-making party. Then, one at a time, ask each person to review your list of wishes. Then ask them, “What would you add?” Write whatever they have to say. (When Lady Gaga saw my list she added a performance stage, with colorful blinking lights and a mega sound system.)

Step 5: Take a happy breath. Be pleased with what you’ve accomplished—you just built another lens to see what is important to you. What do you notice? If you imagine this list as having been written by someone else, how is that someone else like you? How are they different?

A note of caution and encouragement: Sometimes making wish lists can feel discouraging, as if we opened the door to a giant room of presents we will never have.

I would encourage you to think of it a little differently. Think of it as a room full of clues that help you discover what is important to you so you can bring it into your life.

Here’s an example: One of my wishes for my big blue Robin Williams Genie is to be a dancer in one of the Step Up movies. (True.)

This will never happen.

It doesn’t matter how many dance lessons I take, how much I work out, how drastically I change my diet.

Me dancing in a Step Up movie will never happen.

But was being in a movie the important part? No. The important part is dancing a choreographed dance with a group of people. And that’s something I can make happen.

I can go to the shopping mall, to a closed retail space, and line dance with a bunch of other women who will also never be in a Step Up movie. We will dance and I will laugh and sometimes I will get the steps wrong because I am new at this and when it’s over they will ask if I will come back and I will say yes.

And it won’t matter that I am not in a Step Up movie because I am dancing.


Quarantine suggestion

If you are having trouble moderating your consumption of news/social media, put your modem on a timer.

Timer plugged into an outlet
The powerbar on the underside of my desk, with the modem plugged into a timer.

Chewing the Cud of Good

Interior of a clean oven

Thankful for the internet and the information I would never know without it, such as lining a bathtub with dryer sheets to clean oven racks. Note: I put a beach towel down first to protect the tub.

And because it doesn’t seem right to close with oven racks, here’s another photo, from a couple of weeks ago.

Closeup of a magenta magnolia bud, just breaking into bloom, on a dark background

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