The following is by Brooke Shaden. I’m constantly astonished at how amazing she is, and I get so much inspiration from her words and photos:

A synonym for “magic” is “power”. How interesting that a thing which seems so intangible, which some don’t believe in, that which confounds and inspires, can be linked to a thing which we desire, believe in, forcefully take and treat as though it is the highest form of tangible prize in our life.

Power is what so many desire. It is what we are trained to seek. It is our holy grail. It is being better than other people. It is having influence over other people. Or at least, that is how power is commonly defined in society. The official definition is: “the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.”

So, if power refers to how much an individual has influence over another, then how does power relate to magic? Magic is the more whimsical counterpart to power. It is power without the ego. It is power without pain. What if we used power and magic interchangeably? What if we began wanting magic instead of power? How would our priorities change?

The official definition of magic is: “the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.” This definition is nearly the same as power, except that it specifies the use of mystery. When I visited India for the first time and showed my images to a group of young women there, they saw a girl floating to a window and butterflies exploding from the chest of a man. Their first reaction was to say: Magic. 

Images by Brooke Shaden
Images by Brooke Shaden

Magic is what we call power that we cannot understand. I am not really a magician. We know that I use Photoshop to make people fly and to alter our reality. But to some, who have not had the chance to learn such tools, it is magic. And who are we to say otherwise? I do not seek power but I do seek magic. I want the ability to influence others. I want the ability to speak through my craft and be heard in doing so.

Next time you create something, or you’re in a position to find your power, replace that word with magic. We are all mysterious creatures creating the story of our lives in ways that others may not understand. Even we may not fully understand what we do. So let yourself live in the magic. Confound yourself. Surprise yourself. Find your magic…and don’t be afraid to share your undefinable strangeness with others. You just might be more influential than you realize.