The Enchanted Outlook



One Small Step (Wellness Spells Series)

steps wellness spells

Welcome to my new series, Wellness Spells! Like the name suggests, each post in this series will focus on a different aspect of wellness. I will also cover a few myths and misconceptions about wellness.

First off, what is “wellness?” defines it as “the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.” In the West, we have for a long time seen our physical health largely in terms of illness, as in something that needs to be fixed or healed, rather than focusing on things like prevention and physical and emotional growth. Lately, though, I have noticed more people pursuing wellness, whether they are seeking out a healthier diets, coloring or practicing meditation to feel more calm, or re-examining their life choices in order to prioritize what they want the most. Isn’t that great?

Sometimes, though, starting a new wellness practice can be scary. We see a long road ahead of us and it can feel intimidating. That’s why today’s advice is to take just one step. This could be something as simple as adding one more vegetable to your diet today, visiting a website about a wellness practice you have interest in, swapping out one household product for a healthier or more ethical option, or even just putting on your running shoes. Don’t worry about steps two, three, and four; just get comfortable with the idea of step one.

Are you wondering where the “spells” part of “Wellness Spells” comes in? Each post in this series will have a “spell,” which will basically be a phrase or mantra to keep in mind that will help you on your wellness journey. Today’s spell is:

Once you have achieved step one, steps two and three are easily done.

Okay, okay, it’s a little cheesy, and I seem to be channeling Marry Poppins today, but I hope it will be helpful (and please let me know if it is).

Is there a wellness practice that you have always wanted to try, but just never got around to doing?


Philosophy of Mistakes


For some reason I have been ruminating lately on mistakes made. Bad writing from my past that I came across. Something insensitive said five years ago. Opportunities not taken out of fear. Toxic relationships held too long. Things left unsaid.

It can be tempting to beat ourselves up over our mistakes. How much better would our lives be without them? How much better would the lives of others be if we had never hurt them?

In all this ruminating, though, I realized something. We only realize that we have made mistakes because we have grown past them. If we were the same person as we were when we made the mistake, then we wouldn’t have realized it was a mistake in the first place. I think realizing our mistakes is a kind of emotional rebirth, a saying of, “The person I was then is not the person I am now.”

I have in this way been trying to forgive my younger self, much in the way that a parent would forgive a child. And the foundation of the reason a parent forgives a child is because of love. We can forgive our younger selves because we understand that they acted in ignorance but we love them anyway and wish them the best. And then we can sit back and reflect on all that we have learned since we were that younger self and feel pride in our growth.

For more on mistakes, please check out one of my very favorite videos: On Being Wrong.

Minimalism and Little Treasures


Over the past few years, I, like a lot of people, have been trying to escape excessive consumerism and have been going through a “stuff journey.” In this process, I have culled a lot of stuff I owned and extremely reduced my purchases as well. 

What does this have to do with enchantment, you ask? Well, I realized something strange about myself that I would never have learned if I hadn’t severely cut down on shopping. Shopping makes me happy. Just a little bit. I get that “zing” that I suppose is my brain receiving a dopamine boost. Maybe it’s the very primitive part of me feeling the rewards of “the hunt.” I think our brains need that feeling, don’t you? In some shape or form? The act of searching, comparing, and deciding on a product is something that moves me forward and gives me drive. To me, that psychological aspect of consuming and its affect on the awards center of the brain is something that minimalism as a movement often doesn’t fully acknowledge.

I am not sure that I have the perfect answer to this. I know that I don’t like spending lots of money. Nor do I like unnecessary clutter. Nor do I like focusing on consumerism as a lifestyle and the negative consequences it can have.

My current happy medium is what I have recently called “little treasures.” I try to buy a little something every week. I got the idea from a relative who used to give little gifts, such as lip gloss and the like, that she called “happys.”

For me, my weekly “little treasure” is a thoughtful something. Often, it’s a needed something. I try to make it a responsible something, too. For instance, one week I purchased my favorite aromatherapeutic, eco-friendly cleaning product. Another week, I purchased some locally-made soap. Another week, I purchased a fair trade bracelet. Another week, a little holiday garland. Another week, a favorite childhood film. Another week, a t-shirt from my favorite second-hand store. All of my purchases are things that are very inexpensive (between $5 and $15) but that I know I will get good use out of.  I allow myself to contemplate one week what I will purchase the next. It’s a little something fun to look forward to.

I’m only a couple of months into my “little treasures” project, so I will have to let you know how it goes when I have practiced it longer. So far, though, it seems to strike a good balance for me. It makes me grateful for the very simplest of things in my life. It also takes my focus away from those bigger, more expensive items, which I now take much more time to contemplate and research before purchasing to make sure they are truly wanted and needed. While I may pay a little extra for the aromatherapeutic cleaning product or a local soap, I end up spending less money in the long-run because every purchase is thoughtful and I use the products very carefully.

The link between minimalism and enchantment is something I will be exploring more in future posts. Please let me know if there is an aspect of this you would like me to address. Do you love minimalism? Hate it? Let me know. 

Creatures and Happiness: Gumiho

Japanese Kitsune

I have heard it called a few different names: gumiho (Korean), huli jing (Chinese), kitsune (Japanese), kyuubi (also Japanese). It is a fox spirit of East Asian origin. Often having nine tails, the gumiho is thought to have originated from a fox that has lived thousands of years and had accumulated lots of energy and thus, became very powerful. Their moral intentions, however, were ambiguous, and thus the gumiho was a creature to be wary of, as they were thought to have the ability to shape-shift into beautiful women in order to seduce men and possibly eat them.

In today’s gumiho stories, often a person has the gumiho spirit within them, either as a separate entity or as a deeper power that can be drawn upon. This person, then, is a person of deep conflict.They want to be accepted by their society, and yet, their society is wary of them. They want to embrace their own inner power, and yet they are fearful of it as well, partly because they know how different it makes them, and partly because they want to be a force for good, not evil.

So, today’s post is for those who feel different, I mean really different, for those who are struggling to embrace themselves as they are and to find their own greatest strength. Yes, to clarify, there is great strength in togetherness, too, and I do not think we should seek to be individualistic and ignore the thoughts of others merely for the sake of standing out or getting attention. At least, this extrensic goal of raising ourselves to new heights at the expense of others will never make us happy. However, being human has nothing whatsoever to do with an ability to blend in, to follow paths that others have taken, or to suppress our own innate differences. There is a lovely quote from one of my favorite gumiho tales, Gu Family Book: 

“What determines your humanity is not the blood that flows inside you, but your decision and willingness to live a good life.”

So get out there, my friends. Show your inner “tails” today. Use them for good. Be a powerful, positive force in the world. Your inner gumiho will thank you.

I had originally decided to just do this Creatures and Happiness series leading up to the premiere of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but I am having so much fun with it that I’ve decided to make it an ongoing thing. So, if there is a creature you would like to see me cover, the floor is still open.

Today’s Inspiration


This is one of my favorite quotes and I keep it close to my heart. It’s not always easy to follow sometimes, but it is oh so important to remember.



I’m so thrilled to introduce my new blog, The Enchanted Outlook. Please feel free to take a look around. If you followed my former blog, Magic Behind the Morning, you can expect similar content from this blog, but with a more streamlined approach and, of course, a new look. (If you have yet to follow me and would like to, you can do so in either the right-hand toolbar or bottom of screen.)

I have been thinking a lot about changes lately. I think change is something we like to embrace in theory, but struggle with when it comes to the actuality of it. This has been a year of changes, both in my personal life and in the world at large. Some of those changes have been very difficult. Others have been joyful. Regardless of type, it is only too easy to view all change as a threat. We worry about what could go wrong, which leads our imaginations down a deep rabbit hole. There is a time to think of what could go wrong. However, lately, to try something new, I have instead been trying to first ask myself what could go right. What are the possibilities? What challenges can be conquered? What progress can be reached? What joys can the change bring? What can be learned?

Sometimes, even the very toughest transitional periods hold within them the seeds of wonderful things to come. It is up to us to see those small seeds of promise, water them, and encourage them to grow.

What is Enchantment?

A few weeks ago, I found myself trying to explain what I write about to someone and failing miserably. (There is a reason I’m a writer, not a speaker.) I realized that part of the confusion was coming from the word, enchantment. What exactly is enchantment? What does it mean to live an enchanted life?

While I’m sure there are a lot of different definitions, I would like to take a moment to explain what enchantment means to me and why it is such an important aspect of personal happiness. In fantasy literature, an enchantment is a spell or bit of magic cast on a person that alters their perspective. The physical reality around the person does not change but the way the person perceives the world around them changes.

You have probably heard it said that true happiness comes from within. When we experience a more enchanted outlook, we aren’t focused on trying to change the world around us or our place in the world. We focus, instead, on changing our own perceptions. It is only through changing our outlook that we can truly learn to be happy.

When we live a more enchanted life, we realize that we always have a choice. We can let our reality control our perceptions, in which case we are at the whim of the moods, the fads, the weather, the push-and-pull of everything around us, to dictate what we want and how we feel. OR, we can let our perceptions control our reality, in which case we are lead by our own inner light, our own contentment, our own spark of happiness. True enchantment is being in touch with our own inner light and letting that deeper truth be the filter through which we choose to participate in the world around us.

(Source: The Encyclopedia of Fantasy, Clute and Grant: Enchantment)

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