Perla Batalla, a backup singer for Leonard Cohen for many years, was in concert in Los Angeles recently. In her second act she shared the story of the time Mr. Cohen asked her to sing one of his biggest hits, Bird On A Wire at a party. She demurred—panicked, actually—and said she could sing backup to anything he wanted, anywhere he wanted, but not the lead.
Something turned in her that evening, and she spent the next three months discovering how to sing Bird On A Wire as a solo. During that time of personal and musical exploration she had a revelation, the kind that might sound obvious to an outsider, but to an artist deeply enmeshed in her art it was a transformative, major light-bulb moment.
Perla’s realization? That music is magic. Simple, right? Music is magic, whether with or without lyrics, no matter the style, music produces a magical response in all of us. Music is a universal magical language, and none of us would want to live a life without it.
While music is magic, magic is not limited to music. Magic is everywhere, living alongside us, waiting to be discovered. We’ve each had magical moments in our lives from the sweetness of our first kiss to moonlit ocean swims to feeling a deep and powerful connection to someone or something.
The more magic we experience, the more wondrous life feels.
As a child, you found magic everywhere. You may have believed in unicorns, fairies and felt that you owned the perfect pair of wings for soaring high above the earth. No one limited what you could imagine, so anything was possible in your mind. You also experienced magic in the physical world of course, but the lion’s share happened in your imagination. As an adult, the proportions switch. Now, the majority of your magical moments are—or at least can be— experienced in reality, not fantasy.
What is magical to each of us will be different by description but the same in result. Pure magical experiences take us outside of ourselves and connect us to wonder and possibility. It’s so easy to become overly focused on our responsibilities, what isn’t working for us, or what we want but don’t have, that it can feel like we’re staring at the ground all day. Magical experiences lift our gaze, change our sense of possibility and reorder our priorities.
I think of these unique and desirable experiences as “magical notes” which over time combine to make a personal melody that becomes part of who we are.
What are your magical notes? What feels magical to you? Is it spending time at the ocean, in a forest or at a lake; listening, singing, or dancing to music; reading a good novel or beautiful poetry; mountain climbing or skydiving; meditating in your garden; being quiet in a soft and welcoming armchair; or anything else you connect to deeply? If you’re unsure, just look to what resonates with you and you’ll find your personal magical notes.
Making room in your life for regular magical experiences is sound economics. Experiencing even one magical note a day will inspire, connect, and calm you, and also open you to more self-love. I like that math. I hope you do, too.
Have you discovered your magical notes? I’d love to hear about them.