Start Bere: The Basics of #7MagicWords
Each morning at 7 AM the material for the day will go live.
I invite you to read through each one and tune into what aspect of the day's message, writing prompts, and passages resonate with you and feel most evocative.
Perhaps the magic word will find you instantly and you'll move through the rest of your day finding signs, symbols, stories, and synchronicities that support your choice. Perhaps your magic word will feel elusive and you'll have to stretch and struggle your way to a word that holds the right combination of wildness, magic, and truth.
Trust the process. Trust the words that vie for your attention. Trust yourself.
You're seeking one word each day, but there's no single "correct" answer. There are 172,000 words in our modern language, after all (and no one said that you're limited to words in the Oxford English dictionary either!).
You have choices. You can follow your first impulse. You can change your mind.
You can make magic, find your creative voice, and connect to your creative energy.
What to do once you find a word
Again, you have choices. You can follow your first impulse. You can change your mind.
You might decide to...
write your word on a post it note
make art with your work in a visual journal or on canvas
use an app or website like Canva to pair the word with an image
share your word and how it found you/you found it in our private Facebook group
share your word and its story with your community on social media (maybe you want to use the hashtag #7MagicWords too!)
Magic Word #1: A word that frees...
Freedom is the stuff of national anthems and the inspiration for righteous rebellion.
It’s also the richness of a body that finds its fullest expression in a yoga pose or in the unravelling of orgasm.
Freedom is a day with a book, a jump from a plane, taking to the streets in protest, a conclusion of a relationship that you wore like a pair of too-tight shoes.
Use these prompts and passages (and the bonus track!) to help you find your word that frees. Dance with the radical, the rambunctious, the reclusive, the rebellious and even the raunchy if that’s what you need to feel free.
While you write, I invite you to play this track by KC Carter, the yogi, dad, corporate culture shifting coach, and Camp GLP (Good Life Project) MC who dresses as a unicorn - and makes me smile like a third grader with an extra popsicle whenever I see him.
Writing Prompt 1: “This is what it feels like to feel free”
(Yep, I’m stealing like an artist and asking you to take a cue from KC’s song.)
Write into a moment of freedom, whether it was something that happened last night or when you were six. It could be a peak experience or something so dramatically and delectably ordinary that you’d never remember it unless you wrote it down.
Get sensual here and describe the taste and texture of freedom. How did it feel in your fingertips, your thighs, and the soles of your feet?
Writing Prompt 2: The Barriers to Freedom
Release your connection to time and space, and yes, call into question all the rules of reality. If you want to suspend the laws of gravity, you definitely have my blessing....
To be truly free, what do you find you want to let go of first?
2018? Your living space? Your country?
Your job? Your relationship?
Your state of mind? Your addiction to “this is the way that it is"?
What. Holds. You. Back?
Write it away... (At least for now.)
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
(May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all)
- Sanskrit mantra
To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
- Nelson Mandela
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
- Emma Lazarus
A person's not free if their freedom has to be "given."
- Erica Jong
So keep fightin’ for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don’t you forget to have fun doin’ it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin’ ass and celebratin’ the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.
- Molly Ivans
And now, your invitation to find the word that frees…
If you can make time for the writing prompts (I hope you do!), you may find the word bubbles up in the poetry or prose that flows from your pen.
If this is a not a day for the writer in you to free herself on the page, just set the intention “today I find a word that frees” and open yourself for your magic word to find you.
Word 2: A Word that Plays
Maybe it’s just me, but “you need to play more!” is one of those statements that instantly makes me want to clean the kitchen or do some bookkeeping.
Blame the contrarian in me, but being told to play make me think of that bit of wisdom from the Tao Te Ching “Those who know don’t say. Those who say don’t know.”
Talking about play can make it feel so arduous. And analyzing play just might actually diminish the magic of play itself.
All that said, I still knew that a #7MagicWords Project devoted to wildness needed call on our essential energies, the wise and wild children we were before we got so well tamed and domesticated.
So I am going to risk my own disapproval and ask you to write your way - to magic word your way - to play.
Writing Prompt 1: That Time You Played
Because we might run the risk of talking play to death, let’s make this super simple:
Ask your most playful self to take the pen and write you a note about what they love most about when they were last in a “lost in time, head thrown back in laughter and ease, everything was right with the world” moment of play.
Whether it was 30 minutes or 30 years ago... Ask that wild, wonder-filled, unencumbered self to tell you a story.
Writing Prompt 2: Your Wildest Fantasy
Do remember that “play” doesn’t necessarily mean dolls and blocks and mud pies.
Let’s think about fantasy, about role-playing and play-acting, about taking a flying leap into wildness and trusting your imagination will catch you.
And now… write as much as you dare. And, when you get to the end of your boldness, write a little more.
As ever, here are a few passages to ponder. (Playfully and fantastically, of course.)
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.
- John Muir
Without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of the imagination is incalculable.
- Carl Jung
We don't create a fantasy world to escape reality. We create it to be able to stay.
- Lynda Barry
“If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform a million realities.”
- Maya Angelou
And now, your invitation to find the word that plays...
If you can make time to play with the writing prompts (I hope you do!), you may find the word flies to you like a frisbee at the beach.
If this is a not a day for the writer in you to have some fun on the page, just set the intention “Today I find a word that plays” and open yourself for your magic word to find you.
Word 3: A Word that Wanders
Labyrinths and wooded paths, sidewalks and catwalks… Where are you called to wander? Where will you find yourself most wild and free?
Leave your literal and metaphorical fitness tracker in the charger, and wander forth without an agenda. There are no calories to burn, no blog posts to publish, or social media likes to pander for.
It’s time to stravage. (How much do you love this Scottish word that means "stray" and "roam" and "to go beyond proper limits"?)
If you allow your body and your mind to saunter, ramble, and rove, what wants to emerge?
Prompt 1: You, The Adventurer
There are moments in life when you must wander off the path, when you need to follow the glint of mystery in the woods, when you need to clamor up the hillside to see the view from a higher spot.
Explore a time when your own adventurer’s soul delighted and surprised you.
If you’re filled with longing for that version of yourself, allow those feelings to appear on the page too.
How can long ago, half-forgotten, never really even taken journeys plant seeds for the next adventure?
Writing Prompt 2: The Urban Jungle
Wildness isn’t just the stuff of great expeditions into the outback.
Write about what surprised you about the world, humanity, and yourself the last time you wandered through a foreign city’s streets or through your own suburban neighborhood but managed to see it with new eyes.
Wander with this selection of wise words...
To write is to carve a new path through the terrain of the imagination, or to point out new features on a familiar route. To read is to travel through that terrain with the author as a guide-- a guide one might not always agree with or trust, but who can at least be counted on to take one somewhere.
- Rebecca Solnit
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
- J.R.R. Tolkien
People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.
- St. Augustine
If you keep wandering in the dark streets, may be it is because you find peace in the darkness rather than in the light!
- Mehmet Murat ildan
I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.
- Cheryl Strayed
Manhattan’s streets I saunter’d, pondering.
– Walt Whitman
I imagined myself as a Jamaican Tom Sawyer, one moment sauntering down the streets to pick low-hanging mangoes that I could reach from the sidewalk, another moment hanging outside a street party with battling sound systems, each armed with speakers piled to create skyscrapers of heavy bass. These streets weren’t frightening. They were full of adventure when they weren’t serene.
And now, your invitation to find the word that wanders...
Explore your inner terrain with the writing prompts if you can and see what awaits you at the start of each new paragraph.
If this is a not a day for the writer in you to wander on the page, just set the intention “Today I find a word that wanders” and open yourself for your magic word to find you.
Word 4: A Word that Seduces
To attract, to entice.
The lover calls you to the bedroom.
The sun calls you out to soak yourself in warmth.
Or (ugh) the marketing department calls you to make a purchase.
To seduce, to attract, to entice.
You are called to celebrate, sanctify, and re-wild and this idea of seduction.
Prompt 1: The Roots of Seduction
The Latin roots of “seduce” give us the idea of “to lead away.”
What inspires you to slip out of your clothes or to lose yourself in nature’s spell? What lifts you out of the transactional mindset, and leads you out of the overly-civilized world and the overly-civilized self?
Right into the roots of that longing, that craving, that need to loose yourself and lose yourself.
Prompt 2: That Bed Isn't Just For Sleeping...
In the spirit of seduction, dare to write something that makes you blush.
Which passages seduce you to go deeper?
I want someone who is fierce and will love me until death and knows that love is as strong as death, and be on my side forever and ever. I want someone who will destroy and be destroyed by me.
- Jeanette Winterson
It is your work in life that is the ultimate seduction.
- Pablo Picasso
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.
- W.B. Yeats
The consensual seduction of the mainstream media by and with the government is one of the most dangerous toxins at work in America today.
- Bill Moyers
Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to get attention we do, except walk?
- Alice Walker
Moonlight, white satin, roses. A bride.
- Angela Carter
And now, your invitation to find the word that seduces...
Coax and lure the ideas to the page with your responses to the writing prompts and passages.
If this is a not a day for the writer in you to find the path to ecstasy on the page, just set the intention “Today I find a word that seduces” and open yourself for your magic word to find you.
Word 5: A Word that Trusts
To truly embrace your wildness, you need to trust your body, you mind, your emotions, your spirit, your partner, your environment, the elements of life and creativity themselves.
This prompt feels essential, and yet, it could also feel out of place in this cycle of 7 Magic Words. Perhaps trust can seem so very mundane and domesticated when it sits beside freedom, play, wandering, and seduction.
It’s in the contradictions and the slight strain to make the connections that the magic happens. And we know that magic itself is quite ordinary and commonplace (in the best way) when you know where to look for it...
Most of all, we need to have safe boundaries to feel most free.
You need to build a strong cauldron of trust that will hold you if we're going to lose yourself in the wild creative journey.
Prompt 1: Trust In the Universe
There are moments when you just know that the universe has got you. You can trust the wind that rips in from the ocean and up to the top of the cliff. You’re going to be okay no matter how close you get to the edge.
Explore this kind of mad, perfect trust. What did it feel like to know you were held so absolutely? What does it feel like to doubt that you’ve got this kind of support? Where can you put your trust right now?
Prompt 2: Trust Me, They Said
Sometimes you can’t know a thing until you know its shadow.
Write into a moment when you were asked to place your trust in a person or an organization and your trust was betrayed.
This might feel like a buzzkill in the midst of all this passionate expansion... That's not the intention.
Our intention is to figure out what you can trust in yourself and in your world so that you can move forward with honest, wise, wild abandon. You need to look to the underside of magic and understand just what you've learned before you can dance in the light.
Which passages seduce you to go deeper?
Know your magic, trust your magic, use your magic and know that you are a manifestation of life's magic.
― Rasheed Ogunlaru
As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The intention and outcome of vulnerability is trust, intimacy and connection. The outcome of oversharing is distrust, disconnection - and usually a little judgment.
- Brene Brown
Twasn't me, 'twas the Lord! I always told Him, 'I trust to you. I don't know where to go or what to do, but I expect You to lead me,' an' He always did.
- Harriet Tubman
The future which we hold in trust for our own children will be shaped by our fairness to other people's children.
- Marian Wright Edelman
And now, your invitation to find the word that trusts...
Place your confidence in the page and all that the writing prompts and passages might reveal to you.
If this is a not a day for the writer in you to devoted yourself the page, just set the intention “Today I find a word that trusts” and open yourself for your magic word to find you.
Word 6: A Word that Soars
Wildness is about rooting in and getting dirty, certainly. It’s about sinking into your soles and your hips and being at one with the earth. And, wildness is also about taking to the skies…
Do you have a fear of flying or have you always dreamed of joining the birds? This is your chance to explore the thrill and fear of flight.
Prompt 1: Of course you can fly
Simply imagine that you can fly.
Are you a bird, a honeybee, a comet?
Describe the motion of your body through the air, the feeling of lift, what it means to float, to swoop, to dive, and to right yourself again.
Prompt 2: But you can’t fly with all that baggage
What do you need to release in order to take to the skies? What burdens, responsibilities, fears, legacies, prohibitions, and shoulds do you need to set down before your wings will work?
Which passages take you into the wild blue?
You fly and you dance. Why not? You dance with the air, and you long to dance most of all with the crazy, hip-grinding beauty of a strong summer thermal. So yes, it’s worth battling the turbulence, the gamble of airspeed and safety, to enter into the music.
- Sharon Blackie
How blessings brighten as they take their flight.
- Edward Young
A bird cannot fly with one wing only. Human space flight cannot develop any further without the active participation of women.
- Valentina Tereshkova
What all the ads and whorescopes seemed to imply was that if only you took proper care of your smells, your hair, your boobs, your eyelashes, your armpits, your crotch, your stars, your scars, your choice of Scotch in bars - you would meet a beautiful powerful, potent, and rich man who would satisfy every longing, fill every hole, make your heart skip a beat (or stand still), make you misty, and fly you to the moon (preferably on gossamer wings), where you would live totally satisfied forever.
- Erica Jong
I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else's whim or to someone else's ignorance.
- bell hooks
Just try new things. Don't be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?
- Michelle Obama
And now, your invitation to find the word that soars...
Look to the skies today. Perhaps the writing prompts will help your wild, imaginative self take flight…
If this is a not a day for the writer in you to ask the pen to fly across the page, just set the intention “Today I find a word that soars” and open yourself for your magic word to find you.
Word 7: A Word that Stills
Across the planet and across the street, there are too many things that are simply unjust, cruel, and flat out wrong.
Our beautiful bleeding world needs your wildness and your action right now. It needs your voice and your fire and your passion for transforming the darkness with your light.
But, it also needs your stillness.
Magic and growth and positive change... they happen in the burst of creativity, but they also flow in the spaces between breaths.
Prompt 1: The Stillness of Nature
We tend to associate wildness with storms, with nonconformity, with excitement, with being unrestrained.
But then, that means we might forget the wildness of a mountain lake or the limitless depths of a clear night sky.
Step into nature and spend time with stillness. A doe standing silent in the wood. A snake sunning herself on a rock. A seed so full of potential life.
What story springs from that stillness?
Prompt 2: The Stillness of the Crowds
We tend to associate stillness with solitary moments; when we're alone we can pause in the silence.
And yet, there are moments of vast stillness, of prayer, of a collective held breath...
Consider a time you experienced the uncanny phenomenon of stillness within a crowd. What did those moments reveal?
Which passages draw you to stillness?
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
- T. S. Eliot
Whenever there is stillness there is the still small voice, God's speaking from the whirlwind, nature's old song, and dance.
- Annie Dillard
The quieter we are, the more patient and open we are in our sadnesses, the more deeply and serenely the new presence can enter us, and the more we can make it our own, the more it becomes our fate.
- Rainer Maria Rilke
I pray for the gift of silence,
Of emptiness and solitude,
Where everything I touch is turned into prayer.
- Andrew Harvey
Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.
― Audre Lorde
And now, your invitation to find the word that stills...
Pause. Get quiet. Get still. Writing may help you translate this stillness into words.
If this is a not a day for the writer in you to use the page to capture stillness, just set the intention “Today I find a word that stills” and open yourself for your magic word to find you.
Word 8: A Word that Integrates
Every #7MagicWords Challenges ends the same way... an eighth word that integrates.
You're called to integrate all that you have learned in this past week. And, you just may be feeling called to integrate more wildness into your daily routine, into the everyday life that might have grown so terrifically tame.
Prompt 1: You, Integrated
Just about everyone I have the honor to support, whether it's as their writing coach, story healer, or copywriter, tells me several different stories during our first few minutes together.
We all have multiple identities. (Did you notice that I offered you three of mine in just one sentence?)
It can be hard to fit all of those identities on a business card, a website, or even into a day. Ultimately, however, there is a point of integration: YOU.
You manage to hold all of these ideas, energies, and aspirations in one body and mind.
Begin to write about who you are. Write with the awareness that as multifaceted as you are, you are still a single diamond. Bring your story through the prism of integration.
Prompt 2: Don't Write. Review.
Spend this 7MW time pouring over your words and what you have written in the last week. Where are the commonalities? Where are the contrasts? Can you see your words across a single spectrum and draw connections between them?
Which passages help you call together your wild magic?
To know how much there is to know is the beginning of learning to live.
- Dorothy West
In order to have bliss you have to be able to accept all the parts of the other, all the wildness and the darkness. You have to be able to hold on.
- Francesca Lia Block
We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.
― Henry David Thoreau
The God is wild, but his is the wildness of connection, not of domination and violence. Wildness is not the same as violence. Gentleness and tenderness do no translate into wimpiness. When men -- or women, for that matter -- begin to unleash what is untamed in us, we need to remember that the first images and impulses we encounter will often be the stereotyped paths of power we have learned in a culture of domination. To become truly wild, we must not be sidetracked by the dramas of power-over, the seduction of addictions, or the thrill of control. We must go deeper.
I used to want the words "She tried" on my tombstone. Now I want "She did it."
- Katherine Dunham
And now, your invitation to find the word that integrates...
Write your way into oneness, even as you call together countless elements along the way.
If this is a not a day for the writer in you to integrate it all on the page, just set the intention “Today I find a word that integrates” and open yourself for your magic word to find you.