Spoiler alert; I don’t think we can… but, there are ways of putting bad news in its proper place. Perhaps by focussing on accentuating the positive on a daily level, we can go some way to eliminate (or at least minimise) the debilitating impact of the negative. Sometimes we might feel as if we are drowning, powerless, under a tidal wave of saddening or maddening pieces of information, as the global connectivity of 2016 allows us to hear of everyone’s misfortunes.
What can we do about this? Magically, we have the massive advantage of understanding how small acts done with intent create ripples which spread into other aspects of our selves. And, our environment (because, of course, there is no real boundary between these things, as any fule kno).
The following can be done with various amounts of surrounding ceremony, from providing a simple physical marker (ringing a bell, lighting incense, a number of conscious breaths) to more elaborate representations to emphasise the intent we carry into the activity (casting a circle, using another banishing method, constructing a sigil or talisman to concentrate the magick raised, or perhaps dedicating the activity to a deity or other suitable spirit).
- Go for a walk
This has to be one of the easiest ways of instantly changing one’s mood. Away from the constant stream of ‘news’ via whatever streams of information we usually allow to enter our consciousness, we find reassurance in the rhythms of walking. Since before time began, before Greenwich was invented, before dinosaurs, before hair first sprouted, our ancestors walked. Next time you go for a stroll, wherever it might take you, feel into the realm of the incredible antiquity of this activity. Look around you without words. See how long you can manage to quell the narrative voices which tend to comment on all the issues of the day, whether personal or wider scale. Creating a pause in this constant commentary, allows other feelings to arise which are prompted by the biological reality of where you are, right here, right now. A useful technique is to move the gaze so it rests upon any thing for only a short time, long enough to recognise and focus, then moving on before any words start to make associations. Appreciate each scene for merely what it is at that moment. Even a few minutes doing this is worthwhile, although if you can you would do well to be outside for a good half an hour.
- Music and dance
We all have access to more music than we can shake a stick at. Put on something to suit the mood, or to change it! and do some movement. No-one is watching or evaluating, get active by thinking of this as non-censorship of your body’s desire to do stuff; we spend a lot of time telling ourselves NOT to do x or y, and certainly not z, so by removing limitations and positively encouraging the body’s basic drive to move we could well encourage greater happiness on many levels. For those who may have restrictions, any moves you make are valuable. If you are lucky enough to have acquired the skill of playing music, do that! Singing also counts as moving in this system, as it uses a totally different set of brain cells than talking, and controlled breathing counts as moving here. The point of this suggestion then is to interact with the body pleasurably, without any goal of result, to experience the joys of existence.
- Go with the flow
Flow states can be reached by so many routes. The phrase describes that place we reach when we become so engrossed in a task that it ceases to be a task and instead we ‘disappear’ into the action, our identities dissolve with the world around us. For me writing, working, doing chores around the home, and in fair weather a little light gardening, can all lead me to this. In days gone by I would have counted reading, but I am not so sure now, as it feels too passive to be empowering. Creative arts often allow flow states to occur, regardless of the skill level of the person. Remember the intent is to enter the flow state, not produce a masterpiece.
- Throw things away
Most of us have stuff we don’t need. Get rid of some of it. Throw it to a charity shop rather than the bin if you can, the important theme here is to make space, as well as removing past baggage. You are living in the present. Let that happen. (Loads of tips exist online for various tactics, so I won’t repeat them here; basically though, my own practice in this area leads me to suggest small and frequent forays into cluttered spaces, rather than the daunting prospect of a major clear out!)
- Grow something
I am hopeless at indoor plants. Except for a money tree which has lived with me for over a decade; despite a nasty fall a few years ago, it continues to flourish. Looking after a living organism puts us in touch with the underlying pace of life, how each day influences the years. (Fyi, I don’t hold with minute hands on clocks; their invention was the moment time became a problem rather than a handy indicator. Hours were plenty good enough for thousands of years…)
- Notice your food
Pay attention to it, how it tastes, savour the nourishment.
- Do things with other people
Whatever we do we must bear in mind that doing it in groups changes its impact. It is too easy to feel we have made social contact by remote interactions (and indeed these interactions can prove better than total isolation). Nothing can substitute for the physical presence of others though. Do magicks with others, find them, make things up together.
- Techno appreciation
Getting in touch with Nature is all very well but we live in the 21st century, and would be daft to turn our backs on what amazing toys it has to offer. Read books yes, but also USE the internet. Search for obscure facts, employ technological hardware/software to cast spells. Explore how to, keep your skillz up to date. Value those parts of invention which bring Life to life. See the beauty of our recent achievements.
Many of these ideas are fairly obvious and look like simple everyday practices. By directing our collective attention to the enjoyable we can rediscover (and remind our selves and each other), of what we really do, that we do in fact have an effect upon our worlds, that this world has a ground upon which we build our subjective individual understandings and stories about who we are. Let the words follow the phenomenological, get right to the raw stuff of life and revel in it.
Worries and sorrows will never cease, indeed they can have importance and should not all be casually dismissed. When they come to us on top of a rich layer of memories of enjoyable magickal involvement with the immediate, we can better see them for what they are, and maybe, do something with them.