The Wishing Year

Last week I ventured out on a rainy night to listen to Noelle Oxenhandler read from her book, “The Wishing Year.” I debated hunkering down by the wood stove instead but was so glad I didn’t, because not only was Ms. Oxenhandler’s reading a delight, but the Union Hotel in Occidental turned out to be the ideal setting: the warm and woodsy meeting room, lights turned low, and attendees who were particularly attentive. 

Although I haven’t yet read the book, I think I can sum up its essence pretty quickly: the author commits to a year of “putting it out there” for three things she greatly desires – her own house, a romantic partner, and a renewed spiritual connection. Despite her skepticism she presses on with her quest, exploring the crossroads between science and magic, and discovering things about herself and her life that she never expected. And in the end, I think her wishes do come true.

It was fascinating to hear Ms. Oxenhandler talk about her journey. She very eloquently articulated something I have known for a long time but struggled to put into words: serious wishing is hard work. In her research she examined the rituals and ceremonies of ancient peoples, and wisely discerned that as much as they may have invoked magic to make the crops grow, they also did everything humanly possible to ensure their success. Ms. Oxenhandler learned that wishing and doing are good buddies, and one without the other is lonely and ultimately unsatisfying.

So it’s fine to believe in magic, but it takes more than a vision board or treasure map to make your wishes come true. It also takes patience, effort, and a willingness to risk and step out of your comfort zone.

I know there’s a wish you desire. Why not start now? You’ll be unbeatable when you combine wishing and doing.

2 thoughts on “The Wishing Year

  1. I was intrigued by this book after reading what you wrote. I bought it the next weekend and am slowly reading it due to it not being on audio and my not being able to see well… but I have a feeling I am reading it in the way I am meant to, if that makes sense.

    I used to have dreams in vivid, living color. I have experienced how things manifest. The challenge I find myself experiencing now is that I am not sure what to dream or to wish? Oxenhandler builds a “shrine” or a special box during January of that year. I have thought about this since reading it – what would I put in such a box? I have a trust that what I put in the box would manifest – and therefore I consider “what would the results of my getting that wish look like?”

    Have you read it since writing this post?

    • I think you’ve hit on the crux of it. Sometimes we don’t know what we want. Often, actually. And I think maybe it’s the wrong question to ask at times. Maybe the question is – What truly matters? Or, who am I? Or what is of most value to me? It’s complicated for sure. And no, I haven’t read it, but your post reminded me of it and I’m going to pick it up at the library tomorrow. So thanks!

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