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Magical thinking for mere mortals

By Eric Poole, Special to CNN
  • A lonely gay kid used to pretend to be the witch Endora from TV show "Bewitched"
  • Now he brings positive "magic" into adulthood to improve the quality of his life
  • The author recommends meditating, keeping a dream board and listening to intuition
  • Try speaking in positives and accepting what happens in your life

Editor's note: Eric Poole is a marketing VP for a major media company and the author of "Where's My Wand?: One Boy's Magical Triumph Over Alienation and Shag Carpeting". He's also been called "the best undiscovered writer I've ever met" by Tracey Ullman.

(CNN) -- Do you ever wish you could snap your fingers and change your world?

As a child, I certainly did. Because like many kids, I was an outsider. And like many kids of the 1970s, I pretended to be Endora from "Bewitched."

OK, friends have advised me that this may not have been the first choice of most 8-year-old boys, since it's slightly disturbing and maybe a little pathetic. But come on, can you blame me?

I was a budding homo who was musical, gawky and deaf in one ear. Do the math. And the character of Endora represented power. Fearlessness. A take-no-prisoners attitude.

So with the help of a bedspread (which approximated the caftans Endora wore and became my magical cape -- hey, when you're 8, you gotta improvise), I would close my eyes, wave my arms and cast spells to try to change my world. It was a world fraught with an obsessive compulsive clean freak mother, limbed and limbless bullies, and a series of unfortunate life events that would challenge even the most formidable witch.

Of course, I'm an adult now. And I no longer don that tattered bedspread, mostly because it's not nearly as cute at this age. But like most of us, I still long for that mystical connection, that idea that I have some measure of jurisdiction over my own universe. Because let's face it, things can get really twisted these days.

So how do we invoke magic as adults?

I have a few ideas I'd like to share that have worked for me. None, you may be relieved to know, involves a beehive hairdo or making potions. They're just simple activities that, at least for my money, help bring me a little bit closer to the mystical element of life.

First, I try to meditate. I emphasize try because for me, being forced to sit still is a form of brutality that should be covered under the Geneva convention. As someone juggling two jobs, as an exec for a TV network and as a writer (substitute your jobs here -- career woman and mother, rodeo clown and underwear model, etc.), I often have a hard time slowing down for a stoplight without checking my e-mail.

But when I do meditate, magical things happen. New ideas. Emotional breakthroughs. Song lyrics for new gangsta rap tunes. Which really makes shutting up worthwhile.

Second, I have a dream board. Stop laughing. I think those ugly cork boards (where you tack up pictures of the things you want) actually work. Because they're a great reinforcement. I had a mock-cover of my first book up on mine before I even got an agent. And the publication process could not have been easier. I'm just sayin'.

Of course, my dream board is a rugged steel panel with magnets, which just screams manly. And it's in my bathroom, which probably seems kinda weird, but it's the one spot in the house I know I'll be in every day with my eyes open. And talk about a captive audience.

Third, I try to speak in positives. About 15 years ago, I was $53,000 in debt from some business decisions apparently made while I was either drunk or insane. I constantly reinforced my poverty with my friends as if being broke was a badge of honor, like military service or watching Ken Burns documentaries.

It wasn't until I began talking about how I was gonna get myself out of debt that it actually happened.

I talked positively about my situation to anyone who would listen. And within months, I met a wonderful woman at a party who changed the direction of my career, and in one year's time (albeit a year I had to work like a rower on a slave ship), I was debt-free. How's that for magic?

Fourth, I listen to that little voice in my head -- what is usually referred to as "women's intuition." With no disrespect to my female readers, stop hogging the glory! Everybody has intuition, most people just don't listen. I like to think of it as God whispering in my ear, although, because I only have one ear that works, I hope he whispers in the right one.

Of course, sometimes he can scream like a hog caller and we don't pay any attention. Example: Someone got me involved, a few years back, with a scam artist. I had a very bad feeling about him from the minute I met him. But I ignored it. And let me tell you, it cost me plenty.

Finally, I try to accept what is. This is not very entertaining and can, in fact, be a bummerpalooza. And, I must admit, I don't always do it without attempting to take someone down with me. After all, spreading the pain around seems like the democratic thing to do. But there really is a kind of peace in surrender, in simply saying, "What will be, will be, because I'm too freaking exhausted to try to control it."

In the aftermath of this group of us being scammed, for example, there was a lot of screaming (mine) and tears (also mine). I was constantly imagining this guy's death in a highly entertaining car crash. I twisted myself into knots over it -- until I realized that the only person my anger was hurting was me.

So I handed it over to a law firm and stepped away. And in doing so, I stopped getting sick. And I stopped yelling at random people on the street, which made for much more pleasant interactions with cops and homeless folk.

Do these tips actually work? I think they have for me. But really, does it matter? Science has shown that positive thinking speeds healing. And that meditation can improve your health.

Even if activities like these are only palliative, how much can it hurt? After all, we live in a world where every day is filled with both tragedies and triumphs. So maybe, with a little magical thinking, we can tip the scale a tiny bit toward the triumphs.

No bedspread required.

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