The Enchanted Outlook


2016 election

Is ‘Enchantment’ Anti-Intellectualist? 


Ho, this is a difficult one, and something I have been mulling over for several weeks. In one of my first posts on this blog, I defined enchantment as letting our perceptions control our reality. However, I recently came across a funny article by The Onion entitled Facebook User Verifies Truth Of Article By Carefully Checking It Against Own Preconcieved Opinions.

I found the article to be hilarious, but it did make me doubt myself. In an era of misinformation and fake news where discerning facts seems to be more confusing by the day, was it really responsible of me to promote the idea that our own personal perceptions can control our reality?

To clarify this issue, I would like to bring to the forefront two terms absolutely vital to distinguishing my concept of “Enchantment” from the anti-intellectualism movement: wandering and transcendence.

Wander (vb): to stray from a path, place, companions, etc.; to deviate in conduct, belief, etc.; err; go astray

Transcendence (n): the state of excelling or surpassing or going beyond usual limits; a state of being or existence above and beyond the limits of material experience

The big difference, to me, between someone who has an Enchanted Outlook and someone who is anti-intellectualist is the willingness to wander, even away from one’s own preconceived notions, even when it is scary to do so. It is a willingness to examine different points of view. A willingness, if you will, to accept a call to adventure. To go down the rabbit hole. To learn. To grow. But perhaps Bilbo Baggins said it best:


To wander is at the heart of living an enchanted life. To live an enchanted life is not to live a life with eyes more closed, but rather, to live a life with eyes more open. To explore. To let your curiosity guide you. To find greater truths. To never stop questioning until you have gotten to the very bottom of things, to the heart of the issue. And then to keep asking more questions.

In doing this, we also open ourselves inevitably to truths that are difficult and sad as well as wonderful and beautiful. We must therefore learn how to process those difficult things. We must learn to rise above them, in other words, to transcend. We find ways to see the beauty in things even when they are at their ugliest, their scariest, or even their most mundane. We can be better than the things that surround us. This is what I meant by letting perceptions control reality.


To live an enchanted life, then, is not to live a life of denial of fact, but a life of optimism even in the light of difficult facts. To hope for the extraordinary. To find things to be grateful for. To seek greater truths. To embody those qualities we so admire in characters our favorite magical tales. Above all, to live an enchanted life is to aspire to do the most difficult thing of all: to look into the cold, hard truths of the world, and to still find plenty of reasons to smile. That is truly a life enchanted.

I’ve got a lot of thoughts about anti-intellectualism and the fake news movement, but I’m curious to know what you think; let me know in the comments below.

Daily Gratitude: Being Alive


Yesterday, I was one of the people reported as deceased on Facebook and my page was briefly memorialized. Apparently, this was due to a glitch in Facebook’s programming. Some people found it funny, but I found it disturbing for two reasons:

First, because I knew that Facebook friends can report you as deceased and I fully believed that something about the election I had said had caused someone to lash out in a very cruel way, and I was extremely upset and hurt.

Second, because as I mentioned in a prior post, I am still waiting on the results of an important medical test, and while it’s far from imminently life or death, seeing “Remembering Stacey… We hope people who love Stacey will find comfort in the things others share to remember and celebrate her life” was…disturbing. It was certainly an odd way to end a very upsetting week.

Today, though, I’ve had a lot of perspective on a lot of things. I am alive. That’s a good thing. I am driven to try to live the fullest, most honorable life I can. That’s also a good thing thing. I still have the chance to see Hamilton live and get one of those German advent calendars with the little chocolates in each window and wear that pretty turquoise dress I keep putting off wearing because it hasn’t been right for any outing this year and figure out why the restaurant down the street stopped giving out the yummy appetizer crisps and asking them where I can get some because they were my favorite part of the whole meal.

So, maybe digitally dying was the best thing to happen to me this week. It reminded me to live.


Today’s Gratitude: Peace of Mind


I just voted and I already feel a tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders. One thing I learned from working in crisis intervention was that when we are in crisis and the brain is not “in equilibrium,” so to speak, making a decision in and of itself can resolve the crisis. In other words, the process of making a decision often feels more stressful than the actual decision, even if the decision we make is the wrong one or leads to more stress in the long run.

I do feel that I made the best decision I could, and truthfully, it was a decision that I made in my head a long time ago, but I didn’t get to act on it until today. I know a lot of Americans have felt stressed and out of sync lately, and with the exception of those who voted early, today is the one day we get to really, truly, take action about it. That is a beautiful thing, because it puts the control back in our hands. Obviously I will be watching with baited breath to see the outcome, but for me personally, I feel a great sense of relief in knowing that I put in as much effort as I could to make the most informed decision I could, and that there is nothing further I can do. I am also grateful for the opportunity to play my own very small part, and grateful for the women who fought so hard for suffrage so that I am able to have my own very small piece of democracy.

What are you grateful for?

Creatures and Happiness: Zombies

Zombies- Night of the Living Dead

What creature is better to discuss on Halloween than the zombie? Of Haitian and West African origin, the zombie has certainly seen a popularity boom in recent years.

There is another reason zombies are appropriate to talk about now, and that is the current political climate. Among other things, zombies are thought to represent fears of the aristocracy of the hoarding masses rising up. (Vampires, in contrast, can be seen to represent the fears of the common man of the powerful, “blood-sucking” aristocracy.)

When I ask myself what zombies can teach us about happiness, I think of empathy. It is tempting to see those whose views oppose ours as something “other,” something less than human. It is easy to try to find a scapegoat for our anger, and often that scapegoat is the group of people we align with the least. It’s only so easy to see those groups we disagree with as a thoughtless hoard consuming all that we feel is good in the world.

Truthfully, though? We are all scared. We all feel helpless. We are all looking for solutions, and none of us are right one hundred percent of the time. Who do you see as the “zombies” in your life? Are they working class Americans? Are they BLM protesters? Baby boomers? Millennials? Are they the 99 percent? The one percent? Are they those who support the opposite political party as you? Maybe today is the day to try to learn something new about those you view as “other.” After all, what better day than Halloween to confront your scariest monster and realize there is a human being underneath?

I’ve got a few weeks left in the Creatures and Happiness series. Is there a creature you would like to see me cover that I haven’t covered yet?

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