A friend of mine recently recommended ‘The Magic’ by Rhonda Byrne. Since then I’ve read and re-read the book a number of times – which is why I decided to write this review. Hopefully this article will give you a snap shot of what to expect from the book and give you an insight into how it helped change my life. It’s a light-hearted, fun and enlightening book that will make you feel upbeat and positive. Like a good deep tissue massage – it will knead out those negative habits and give you the tools you need to be more positive and feel happier. I particularly recommend this book to anyone who feels they are ‘stuck in a rut’ or feel lost in life – whether its work, love, self-image or whatever this book can help shake you out of negative though patterns and give you that boost you need to take that big step towards the things you want or use it as the ‘sign’ that you’ve been waiting for!
Over the last 7 years I’ve been battling a chronic health condition, which has been no easy feat. As someone who left home at 19, put themselves through college then university with no support and battled through life working a full-time AND part-time job to keep a roof over my head, you could say I’m pretty independent, strong and someone who never gives up. However when I got ill, things got harder and harder for me to maintain, especially when I lost my job (due to health) 9 months after meeting my now husband. Still new to the relationship at the time, we were thrust into the thick of it, I had to give up some of my independence, allow my new man to take care of me and admit that I was vulnerable. It’s taken me some time to get my head around all the changes but luckily, as my husband is so supportive and ‘gets it’, it’s been an incredible journey.
When my friend suggested this book, I had been following a protocol by a specialist doctor for about 15 months and was struggling as I wasn’t progressing as I had expected. I knew that the lack of improvement was getting to me so thought that a positive book could help distract me and encourage me to look on the bright side – and it did just that (in fact, more!!!).
Now in case you are wondering, you don’t have to be religious, spiritual or anything to read this book. Personally, although I was christened as a child and grew up ticking the ‘Christian’ box, I realised a few years ago that religion isn’t for me; it’s just not something I connect with. I always felt ‘something’ but it took me some time to realise that what I feel is spiritual. Now to read this book you don’t have to be anything at all – the way it works is it explains the happenings of the world as a science, but if you are religious you can translate these theories (the energy) to god and religion. If you are spiritual you can relate it to consciousness and connecting to your inner self, or if you are none of the above you can see it as science – energy, pure and simple.
With a total of 254 pages, this book is about gratitude and focusing on the positive things in life. It aims to help everyone, no matter how ‘bad’ life is, to see the good in things. There are 28 practices that you can work through at your own pace. Ideally the book suggests that for best results you need to follow the tasks in order (from 1 to 28) over consecutive days in order to make gratitude a habit. However you could easily carry out a task for as many days at it takes for you to feel that you have accomplished it, then move on to the next. Alternatively you can flick the pages and choose tasks at random, or pick a task that you feel suits you. For example one of the tasks is about health and focusing on what you DO have. If you had a health issue, you could spend a few days (weeks or even months) practising this task before moving on to the next task, or another task that you felt relevant at time.
Each task is designed to be carried out first thing in the morning or throughout the day, however one or two of the tasks need preparing for (e.g. getting a photo or finding a rock) but the book will tell you when these are coming up.
The first task that you learn that is required every day is ‘counting your blessings’, where you write 10 things about your life that you are grateful for. They can be anything from the roof over your head, to the people around you who love and support you. As you go through the book, you’ll find plenty of things to be grateful for and will notice the small details such as the beauty of nature around you and the little things that make you smile.
The first twelve practices are designed to use the power of gratitude to be grateful for what you have now and what you’ve received in the past. The next ten practices are aimed at using the power of gratitude for what you desire, dream about and all the things you want. The final six practices are aimed to help you saturate every cell of your body with gratitude and to use your knowledge to help others, resolve problems and improve negative situations and circumstances.
To give you an example of one of the tasks, there is one that’s called Magical Relationships. It requires you to dig out three photographs of people who mean something to you – a friend, family member, or a lover – anyone you want. This practise is to make these relationships stronger so you can choose people who you feel you have lost touch with (and this exercise will help you reconnect with them) or chose someone who you want to get even closer to. Taking each photograph one at a time you write down a list of 5 things about that person – qualities, characteristic’s, anything that you love about them. Once you have done this for all three people you carry the photos around with you for the day and on 3 occasions take each of the photos out, look at them as if they were in front of you and say ‘thank you… <insert name>’. The key to the tasks like this is to take 5 minutes out of whatever you are doing so that you can focus all of your attention on the task and really feel the emotions that this person gives you. Doing this can really help you see how important people are to you and help you recognise the good that they bring to your life.
You don’t need any special tools to follow this book but I would suggest you buy yourself a nice note pad (A4 or A5) as you will need it to write down your ‘blessings’ every morning. By keeping your notes together, it can help you to look back through the days and see how you’ve progressed. It’s also handy to use a couple of pages to make a list or brain-storm your desires. That way, as you accomplish things you can tick them off and see how life is changing for you.
My experience of the Magic
I found this book a pure delight to read and it really made me feel so good. What surprised me the most is that it helped me put a lot of things into perspective, especially in regards to my past. Over the years I have trusted the wrong people, been let down by those who were meant to be there for me and taken advantage of time and time again. As a result (unconsciously) I’ve spent a lot of time regretting many decisions and blaming myself for making bad choices. For me this book enabled me to realise just how much I was ‘beating myself up about things’ and helped me to change that mind-set and ‘let go’ of the guilt, regret and anger. It helped me to identify the good that came from each experience, and see how they had shaped my character and personality. Some of my greatest strengths and characteristics are a result of some of my worst experiences. Seeing things in this way made me feel incredibly grateful and I no longer regret anything – I focus on the great that emerges from each experience. And believe me, whatever your experience; there will be something positive that comes from it. Whether it leads you to taking a particular career path or whether it empowers you to try new things – they are what you could call the silver linings.
Although my experience may seem a little ‘heavy’ it was actually really fun and enjoyable to do. I enjoyed it so much that I went on to re-read the book a number of times, carrying out the practices again and again. It didn’t feel like it was difficult or even remotely scary, if anything I looked forward to each day and finding new ways to see the good in things. It also helped me to take better stock of my health. I had been so engrossed in waiting to ‘feel better’ that I had overlooked minor improvements that demonstrate I’m on the right path.
I know that there will be cynics out there who will disagree and say it’s just too ‘happy la de dah’ but the truth is if you are open-minded enough to give it a go, you’ll see that it’s impossible not to feel positive when following this book. Yes it might be simple psychology (think positive = feel positive) but by being guided through tasks that look into every area of your life, it helps you to see your life through someone else’s eyes (so to speak). It helps you to really look at what is going on in your life, things that you don’t see because you are so used to them being there. There is an old saying ‘can’t see the wood for the trees’ and this book helps people to overcome that. It forces you to refocus and see what’s right in front of you – the ‘things’ you are so used to (the ‘wood’).
If you have already read The Magic, or want other books that are of a similar nature then I recommend the following books. These are books that I have gone on to buy as a result of reading The Magic. Some of them I am still working my way through, others I have finished and am having a second read through.
You can heal your life – Louise Hay (See my book review here)
The Secret – Rhonda Byrne
The Power – Rhonda Byrne
The Key to Living the Law of Attraction – Jack Canfield
E squared – Pam Grout (review coming soon!)
The Vision Board – Joyce Schwarz