abstract_color_bubblesPAGING THROUGH FACEBOOK this morning, a quote (attributed to Lou Barlow) and graphic (by The Mentor’s Channel) caught my attention: “Look for the magic in the daily routine.” I was instantly reminded of my dread of routine. I could almost feel my shoulders droop and my head lower.

Repetitive tasks, never completed, always needing to be done, endless…. Routine can seem the opposite of spiritual. Where is the awakening? The drama? The newness? The learning? Routine has all the enlightenment value of a hamster wheel — unless we look for the magic.

When I find magic in a daily routine, the effect is magnified. Finding magic in a run-of-the-mill location or during drudge work can mean more than finding magic in an already magical place or state of mind. A heart-shaped stone on the path I’m walking. Stepping outside to walk my dog in my barely suburban yard and hearing an unusual sound — as a flock of swans chortles southward over my head. Cleaning up a long-neglected pile of papers and finding a hastily jotted idea that I had forgotten about. A solution or brand new idea while mucking a horse stall or doing the dishes. Listening to my dog whimper in the car during errands and following her gaze to see a hawk perched and thoroughly hidden high in a tree in a tiny strip of urban woodland — invisible to all except me.

Spirituality, to me, is connection — connecting to the rest of the world and the greater powers that surround us. Magic and synchronicity remind me of the intricacy of which I am a part. Instead of shoving my figurative hands in my pockets and sulkily kicking the dirt (as I’m wont to do), if I can pause…just pause…and look around…magic is always near at hand. What I can connect with, I can find value in – including myself.

Bringing spirituality into my daily life leads to connecting with myself; noticing that I listened, saw, heard, felt, knew, or tasted that magic and appreciating my ability to do so. So even a hamster wheel has enlightenment potential. Study the wheel, feel the spinning, watch the scenery, hear the whirring, jump on and off every now and again — and see the Magic.

Jen Hillman of Cleveland Heights, OH, is a lifelong student of animals and a "recovering" engineer, currently a student and teacher of dogs, horses, and cats, who also works with people to facilitate personal growth and leadership skills in partnership with animals and nature as the owner of A Spirited Life, LLC.

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