On the outside, it looked like all the others. But its circumstances were different.
Normally, when Chinese take-out is on the menu, I’m the one who ladles the food out of the cartons and onto the plates, getting them to the table. Once we’ve finished, Dave’s the one who gathers it all up and clears it away. Then he places the two fortune cookies that always come with the meal into his palm, extending his hand to me so I can choose the one I want.
Not that they don’t look exactly alike. But it’s a sweet little ritual, and rarely does it vary.
Except last week, on Thursday, May 6th.
On that particular day I got up immediately, carrying my plate to the sink when I finished. I’d been immersed in a project right before the food arrived, and I was eager to jump back in. So when Dave came around with the fortune cookies, I had to wave him away. Both my brain and hands were occupied; no time for desert.
An hour or so later, I collapsed in a comfy chair, and noticed the little fortune cookie on the table next to me. Dave had placed it there for me to find.
So just as I’ve done at least a hundred times before, I cracked it open and read the verdict:
Remember three months from this date. Good things are in store for you.
Now that’s a fortune, I thought. Definitely not the run-of-the-mill predictions I’d seen lately. You know…
You’ll attract much good fortune in the coming year.
Your personality is a magnet for many lovers.
You will live to be healthy, wealthy, and wise.
Nope. This one was different. It was mysterious. Asking me to look three months into my future. Telling me that August 6th was going to be a special day.
In short, it captured my imagination.
No wonder I got a little rush when I read it. Anything that invokes our imagination takes us into an alternate world. And that’s a good thing, especially when we want to make changes in our lives.
In fact, it reminded me that we all have the power to look ahead to any of our days, anticipating that each one, as the fortune cookie said, has good things in store for us.
And this small bit of magic is accessible any time.
One way I like to explore this with clients is with the Magic Question. Alternately known as the Miracle Question.
Here’s how it works.
First, pick something that’s bothering you right now. Possible candidates include fear, worry, stress, anger, burnout, feeling blue.
Just for today, let’s say what’s bothering you is worry about an uncertain future.
Now, imagine that tonight, when you’re asleep, a magical being enters your room, casting a spell that releases you from the worry. You get to choose who comes in. Maybe a fairy godmother. Or a wizard. Perhaps a unicorn. Whatever you like best.
Again, just for today, let’s say it’s a wizard who releases you from the worry.
But here’s the catch: you don’t know the wizard made a visit, because you were asleep. When you wake up, though, you do sense something has changed. So what is it that you notice that tells you you’ve been released from the worry? What’s different?
Do you wake up smiling, looking forward to the day?
Do you stretch your body fully and enjoy the feeling in your limbs?
Do you bounce out of bed?
Do you look out the window and tell yourself you’ll concentrate on today only, rather than the future?
Do you do a little dance on your way to the bathroom?
Do you sing in the shower?
Can you imagine what would happen to that worry if every morning you woke up and looked for evidence of a visit from a magical being? In all likelihood, the worry would dissipate, grow weak and tired, perhaps even vanishing completely at some point.
So as much as I enjoyed my fortune cookie magic, I’m not holding my breath until August 6th for the good things that are in store for me. They’re here right now, just waiting for me to jump out of bed and grab them.
How about you?
What magical being would you like a visit from tonight?
And what will be different when you wake up tomorrow?
WHY NOT START NOW?