Affirming tomorrow

I’ve been going ’round and ’round with a few people on Facebook who believe New Year’s Eve marks the beginning of a new decade. I say it doesn’t. They say it does. But, no matter.

Whatever is being marked by New Year’s Eve can be marked with a symbolic step toward your hopes for 2020.

My symbolic step was to open a doc file containing the first two chapters of a novel I’ve been blocked on for the better part of the year. My symbolic step was writing a new beginning. Now, my mind sees the book as underway again rather than stalled.

I still don’t know whether my radiation and hormone treatments got rid of the cancer. Tests near the end of January may give me a clue. But using a Cancer Navigators program called iThrive, I’ve taken steps to improve my diet, my supplements, and other things that should have a positive effect on my health.

Perhaps most of us are in this boat at the end of a calendar year with plans for the texture and ambience of the following year. Affirmations work best when we take symbolic steps to jump-start them. Those who want to quit smoking, throw out their last cigarette. Those who want to quit drinking “too much,” throw away the last inch in a bottle of booze. There are a hundred ways, perhaps a million ways, to add power to the affirmations we’re making for tomorrow.

They need not be earthshaking because small steps can lead to large results. Whatever your hopes are for 2020, I hope you realize them.


Magic: the ‘Catch-22’ of using it

Most magic is fairly easy if all you’re looking at is a set of directions. It can become more complex if it’s so-called high magic and requires a complex ritual. It can become challenging if multiple preparations are required, including herbs, candles, purifying oneself or one’s house, and other activities or ingredients that one may wish to hide from friends and family.

Regardless of the approach one takes, the one aspect that cannot be overlooked no matter how perfectly one follows the directions and prescriptions for an intended result is belief. Magic requires belief in order to function, or, as some might say, your beliefs create your reality. One point I emphasized in my three hoodoo novels is that when a conjure woman does a spell, she doesn’t look back–if she throws it into a stream or lake, for example–because looking back to check on the spell signifies doubt.

Those who don’t believe in magic think that the necessity of belief is “convenient” for those trying to convince you magic is real. That is, if you don’t believe, it won’t work. But how can you believe, if you’ve never seen it working?

I believe I’ve written here before that a lot of those who hoped The Secret and other books related to the “law of attraction” would change their lives for the better were disappointed with the results. Why? They didn’t seriously believe the process would work. Perhaps some of them wished for changes that seemed so logically impossible that even the enthusiasm they felt after reading a book like The Secret wasn’t strong enough to extinguish their doubt.

Most of us are “programmed” by society or our ever-hopeful (or partially cynical) belief systems that small changes are more likely to happen in our lives than huge changes. We believe it’s more likely that we’ll find a dollar bill on the street than win a Powerball lottery jackpot. This suggests how we should proceed with magic. Since small changes seem more logical to us, we can focus our magic on small changes. That is, rather than trying to use magic to become suddenly rich, we can use it to do better financially this month than last month. Instead of trying to heal ourselves or a loved one from a dread disease overnight, we can focus our intentions on feeling better than the day before.

We can accept this, so we’re less likely to doubt our first experimentations with magic. That’s what we build on. When those seem to work, we can focus on a result that’s slightly more challenging.

Of course, our overall belief system helps or hinders our magic. If we think that Murphy’s laws rule the universe, we will be less successful than if we are generally positive and tend to see the best in other people until proven wrong. Or, if we spend ten or fifteen minutes working on a spell intended to help a loved one feel better, but then spend the rest of the day worrying about them getting worse, we’re undoing our magic because our energy is more focused on something negative than something good.

When it comes down to it, magic is part of an individual’s approach to life. One has to be open to new experiences and systems of thought that are outside the everyday realm of logic to make magic work. If you want to make magic a part of your life, you need to make your life a part of magic; that is, begin with meditations and interpreting dreams and reading about those who’ve had transcendent experiences. No surgeon goes into an operating room thinking, “This procedure isn’t going to work.” S/he has many years of education and practice before stepping into that OR. Likewise, magic requires (usually) an equally time-consuming and diligent study of how the world works and how the self works before you can do what looks so easy in the Harry Potter books and movies.

Like any other discipline, magic and medication seem to work better when people learning about them are content with taking baby steps first. Nobody takes one piano lesson and then expects to play at Carnegie Hall the following week. Yes, if you truly believe, you can change your life in an instant. But we’re brought up in a science and technology world where logic is the prime mover of the universe, so large-scale belief on the first day one encounters magic is a hard row to hoe. Over time, and with patience and practice, we can prove to ourselves that magic works. We may never convince our friends, but then that’s not really important because seeing the universe in an alternative way is our path, lonely as it may be.

We can all conquer that “catch-22” about magic and belief if we devote time and effort and faith to our studies. It’s not an easy path, yet I think it’s a wonderful path.


My hoodoo novel “Lena” is currently on sale on Amazon for 99₵.


Goals: How can you hit a moving target?

How do we reach our goals if we keep changing them in mid-stream?

Whether we’re using law-of-attraction techniques or project management techniques, we must at some point stop changing where we’re trying to go.

In her Nonprofit World article “Do You Know Where Your Goals Are?” Michelle LaBrosse cites “feature creep” as a common blockage to meeting goals. While she is writing for a nonprofit project team or board of directors, most of us are going to recognize this blockage in our own lives:

Feature Creep: You keep adding new features, trying to make the end result better, but time is running out and your team is restless.

I know people, writers included, who create a plan to write a book (go back to school, buy a new house, start a business) who just can stop tinkering with the goal, or some part of the plan, for so long that sooner or later all the timeliness and passion are gone.

It’s easy for this to happen at a nonprofit or any other volunteer group effort. You want to be democratic and give everyone a say. But once you start moving, some people keep wanting to have another say and another one after that. If you shut them down, they accuse the volunteer leader of being a dictator. Meanwhile, those who are ready for action are getting bored and are missing meetings.

LaBrosse’s solution:

Use a change impact matrix. Plan to freeze the project at a specified time. The earlier this is done, the faster your project will move.

While that matrix can look very formal to a project manager, we can simply say that when deciding upon the goal and creating the plan in the first place, we need to understand impact of prospective or probable change along the way; is a change after the goal or project should have been nailed down of great or of minimal importance and, either way, what does it do to costs and the timeliness of the effort?

A lof of people–and groups–appear to keep goals as moving targets because it allows them the luxury of never having to commit to anything. They’re in a continual state of “mulling it over” whether “it” is a personal decision to change jobs or a nonprofit’s decision to re-do its out-of-date bylaws. Those who are doing this mulling it over often believe they are being proactive and that they are on the move.

Actually, they are blocked. They’re in infinite limbo because they are refusing to say THIS is what I’m going to do. Flexibility and adaptability are important, but we’ll be happier, I think, if we look at the number of moving targets we have and lasso a few of them and tie them down.

If you’re interested in easy-to-use information for your nonprofit and a subscription to Nonprofit World, contact

Copyright (c) 2008 by Malcolm R. Campbell