Read an Excerpt
Chapter One CREATE A CHARMED LIFE Just as it"s easier for little children to learn to write ifthey have come big, fat pencils, it's easier to create acharmed life if you have some big, fat dregmo.
In fairy tales, being charmed was the opposite of being cursed. Nowadays, we're not supposed to believe in either one of those, and yet we do. We give credence to cursedness every time we say, "Wouldn't you know it?" and "I knew it was too good to be true." We believe in charmed lives, too-for example, when somebody else gets the private office, moves to an apartment with a river view, and then marries a guy who strongly resembles Sir Lancelot. It's enough to make us think that some women have fairy godmothers working overtime while ours have taken early retirement.
The facts, however, belie the superstition. People who seem to lead charmed lives do not have a magical assistant, and they're no better or brighter than anybody else. They have simply put into practice, knowingly or not, the attitudes, aptitudes, and propensities that orchestrate harmonious circumstances.
If you learn these when you're young, you get a head start. But you can learn them later, enjoy the benefits just as much, and probably appreciate them more. Regardless of when you discover these precepts, implementing them will create your charmed life-one that is rich, full, meaningful, and manageable. Here's how you can begin:
Look at the wonders that are in your experience already. Where have you come from? What are you proud of? What can you do? What have you seen? Whom haveyou helped? What amazing human beings have chosen to be your friends, your mate, your children? This is your working capital. Be aware of it and grateful for it. There is little sadder than a person who has ample makings for a charmed life but just won't see it.
Next, thonk about your days the way they are now. How much of your time, effort, and attention go toward succeeding where it matters most: with well-nurtured relationships, well-chosen experiences, and well-tended aspirations? Putting emphasis here is not popular; it seems too real and too risky for the faint of heart. Nevertheless, it calls for only a shift in priorities, not a day with more hours in it. That's because you create a charmed life by doing only a few things you aren't doing already. You get the time to do them (and some time to spare) by eliminating from your life what isn't serving you. Then you do what's life with unmistakable style.
Finally, decide what the life you want looks like. This is just an idea. You're not pouring concrete, and you can change how you see your ideal life whenever you like. Don't edit yourself at this point. Just as it's easier for little children to learn to write if they have some big, fat pencils, it's easier to create a charmed life if you have some big, fat dreams.
Don't worry if your dreams seem impractical or if they're replete with contradiction. Deborah Shouse, a wonderful writer friend of mine, described her paradoxical vision in the form of a childhood memory: "I wanted to walk on the sand and leave no trace, yet I wanted to build a sand castle and make my mark." In the realm of charmed lives, this is both possible and plausible,because creating a charmed life is, at its foundation, spiritual.Although it has aspects as mundane as making the bed (see Secret51), the basis for living splendidly is a growing conviction thatyou are here for a reason, a purpose. What we're calling acharmed life is the life you were meant to live, the one in which itis perfectly acceptable to want the moon, as long as you're willingto get over your fear of flying.