Let's stop hiding our magic because we're afraid.

It’s time I admitted something about magic. Something I’ve kept hidden, because I thought maybe I’d be misunderstood (worst feeling ever), or be laughed at, or given the look that even I reserve for things that are just ‘a bit too woo.’ I may lose or ruffle some of you here, but that’s okay. It’s the novel-length response I want to say when someone’s like: “so…you, uh, cater?” If someone less verbose than I can wrap it up in one sentence, I’m all ears! If you’re a fan of verbose, snuggle in.

So many women I know and love and am magnetically, undeniably drawn to, who are also entrepreneurs, have this one particular quality in common that I recognize readily from having worked with them personally. Their offers combine skill, intuition, humility, grace, empathy, personal experience, compassion, subtext, strategy, beauty and, importantly: room for what’s wild and unknown. They mix these qualities in a cauldron the rest of us would recognize as a profession (songwriter, photographer, style coach, creative assistant, therapist, florist, store owner, to name a few of many I’ve been personally, indelibly, touched by).

To be unironically honest about it, what they do is nothing short of MAGIC.

I say this because working with them transforms you on a level so deep, it’s the one you usually have to access via emotional submarine during intense meditation (or really good drugs).

I’m a bit of a collector of these magical types of souls. I want them around me because I like how it feels to be inspired and seen by them. I feel personally compelled to (literally) feed them. They are the type of people who feel like kindred spirits; stand by your side; tell the truth, and are willing to hear the truth about themselves, too, which is what ignites the magic tenfold. Know of any such women yourself? Please share in the comments! Knowing and learning from one another and drawing close in community is what has the power to heal. It’s what will ultimately shift what is hurting in how women are showing up (creatively, professionally, personally, globally).

I can sense this magic so profoundly in the work these women do, because it transcends their professions, just as the results their clients experience do. Working with each of them has changed my life and my relationship to myself as a woman, and that is incredibly inspiring and uplifting energy to be around!

These are women who have answered a calling and pursued it, and there is deep magic in that. A whole unending wellspring of it.

So, to my coming out with it.

My friend Liat* calls me a ‘Food Witch’.

Here’s the thing: she’s not wrong.

*Magical photographer. If her recently published Iceland series collab with model Yulia Chepiga doesn’t move you or make you want to weep with the beauty of this earth and the human body, I’m not sure what will.

I can’t tell you how good it feels to settle in for the ride of following a calling. It’s not easy for me, Sonja, the very fallible human with rent to pay and personal blocks to overcome and no real idea what any of this means or where it’s going, but it is easy for my soul, and that allows me to get out of my own way and make room for what I am calling (and now owning as) ‘magic.’

When I am in the kitchen, I am not simply cooking. I am transmuting energetic essence into flavours and textures and combinations that make you feel things. I am creating spaces to serve this food that are beautiful and intentional and collaborative. They are specific and kind and welcoming and inclusive. It’s my brand of magic.

That’s a fancy way of saying I am loving, not cooking. This loving is a love for what I do (I seriously thrill at preparing food – the other day I wept in the grocery store thanks to some baby onions that were just too perfect for words. Real tears.), but it is also a love that I am intentionally folding in to my own journey and that of working with my clients.

This love looks like:

  • Having my recent client, Erin (a wizardess of words and publishing), tell me she wanted her event to feel ‘literary’ and ‘a bit vintage’ but also ‘contemporary’. I spent hours poring over the kinds of foods you might have found at an ivy league creative writing faculty lounge cocktail party in, say, 1972 (#superniche). I immersed myself in the ‘world’ of that story she wanted to tell – bypassing all the weird things made with gelatin and weiners – then re-envisioned the classic foods for a contemporary taste and presentation. Because it matters. People ate at her event, as they would have had there been cheese and crackers, but since even the food felt like her and what she’s created (this incredibly beautiful book – you should check it out!), anyone attending felt more connected to her, her work, and one another because of it. Details resonate.
  • Beaming at my starter anytime I make something yeasted. It literally feels like I am preparing a warm bath for a sweet child as I heat up the milk to the right temperature and sprinkle the yeast on top. I whisper and coo and encourage it to grow and thrive. Yes, out loud. It always responds.

It looks like:

  • Granting wishes with my ‘famous’ ginger cookies. Call it a placebo effect, if you like, or the fact I use organic butter and tenderly roll them in homemade vanilla sugar, but these cookies have granted people homes, jobs, partners, entry into college programs and more. I like to think they deliciously give people permission to believe in their dreams for a moment, even if just for the fun of it, and THAT is the thought the universe responds to in kind.
  • Talking out loud in the grocery store. Literally being like: “Who wants to come home with me tonight?” to the produce section. Filling my cart with those that respond.
  • Respecting what an event is truly asking for and listening to that. Actually listening for the answers. I’ve had clients suggest things in the past: how about some crudites and crackers and hummus for lunch at our workshop?* Something simple and efficient. But the event wanted to nourish the workshop attendees, who would be digging deep into intense therapeutic brain science work and likely need some grounding. I researched the science behind foods that both grounded energetically and promoted positive brain activity and interpreted the menu accordingly with tropical chia parfaits and superfood granola and rice bowls that hit all the right notes. Not only did the attendees have a boost in energy for the afternoon session, they all sat together at lunch and connected instead of a hurried ‘lunch break’. This is what lingers as an effect beyond the food itself. Connection. I guarantee the science would back me up on that one.

*(on ‘The Neurobiology of Belief’ – a workshop where science meets magic! Changed my life.)

And also:

  • Paying attention to where there is love and doing MORE of that. Honouring it. Paying attention to when and where the love ISN’T flowing in my life and in the mirror that is my business – the areas that feel stale, crumbly, rotten, spicy-angry, or bland, and infusing them with attention, compassion and a creative spirit. Creating safe spaces for others to do the same and eat well while they’re there.

 

It’s not ‘me’ or ‘mine’, this magic.

I would never claim that – it’s universal! However, it is something I now consciously make room for and am also now prompted to admit (thanks Heather, for your “where’s your magic?” exercise that prompted this response).* I am one of its countless unique stewards, an opportunity that is open to anyone who answers. It’s something I see my friends make room for and then their clients make room for and then suddenly there’s so much space – for dreams, connection, new ways of looking at the world, new pieces of art that move the soul, new feelings to be felt, new spaces to be transformed in and freedom to be found on the other side.

*Heather is a branding and marketing spirit animal who approaches business strategy from a place of alignment, not tactics. She, in part, facilitated this ‘coming out’ party thanks to being the kind of person who knows exactly which questions to ask so that you get resonance and truth, not fillers and excuses.

It strikes me as remarkable, if not unsurprising, that the default is to keep this magic hidden. Fuck that.

While magic is not exclusive to the feminine journey, the particular brand of important magic to which I am referring is available via connecting to the wild and sensual feminine within. We all carry a space for that feminine, regardless of whether we acknowledge it or not. In light of the recent public exposure of how women and the inner feminine have been subdued, gaslighted or violated (putting it mildly here), I see an opportunity here to add to changing this narrative by no longer staying hidden. To no longer cower for fear of our particular brand of personal or professional magic being a threat or ‘too much.’ To embrace, without shame, how it shows up as intuitive, real, raw, full-spectrum emotionally attuned passion and feeling.

My own relationship with my inner feminine is herself the safe space that welcomes me when I think fear thoughts about what it means to bring her to the table (literally, in this case). She’s the one I have learned to turn to when hitting ‘Publish’ (on truths, feelings, blog posts like this one) feels scary. Fuck, she feels things (alllll the things) and that’s allowed!!

Embracing this magic is about the willingness to love and receive love. This journey starts within (always within) and embarking on it only ever brings about healing, even if it starts first with destruction and discomfort.

Definitely speaking from experience here. So many women practicing getting in touch with their own magic have seen me through to acknowledging, accepting, and riding the rocky sea of what it means to fully share my own.

Praise them! Amen to them.

Seriously, though. Click on any of the highlighted links in this post and participate with the magical soul(s) behind them. Your life will change for the better for knowing them. That’s a guarantee, because they value knowing (and loving) themselves through following what the tugs of their souls have called them towards, and those tugs be potent, dear Nurturers.  And, lest you think I had missed the point of Heather’s exercise, I can guarantee the same if you click here. 😉

Let’s. Stop. Hiding.

Much love,

Sonja

P.S. Featured photo of my strategy Fairy Godmother Jessye at Nurture Spring 2016, taken by Amber, who sees inner magic wherever she points her lens.