My daughter turned 4 recently, and since it’s Arizona, early May was a great time for a pool party! (Disregard the fact that the water temperature was only acceptable to small kids who don’t mind their lips turning blue after 20 minutes in it.) I wish I had a video of the moment my husband carried out her “big present” – a giant inflatable unicorn raft. Her jaw actually dropped and the excitement was CLEAR all the way across the yard. It was one of those Mom moments where I got a little choked up watching that kind of magic firsthand.
It got me thinking – when was the last time I experienced that kind of excitement for myself? And furthermore, why does it have to be relegated to special moments only? Is it possible there are more unicorn moments in my day-to-day than I’m currently allowing myself to experience?
I had to believe the answer was YES, even when life gets “lifey”.
I decided to play with this in three ways. First, one of my love languages is “gifts” – doesn’t need to be something giant like a Corvette (although I won’t say no to that if anyone feels so inclined!), but I love little things like a notecard, a cup of coffee brought into my office, a flower plucked from the backyard before it wilts in the summer heat… So I let my partner know I was intentionally trying to cultivate some Unicorn vibes and asked if he would participate for a week. After 14 years, we’ve gotten comfortable with asking for some of what we need, so if that sounds like an awkward conversation to anyone, we’ve had almost a decade and a half to practice it! That’s an entire learning experience of its own to be able to ask for what I need, but I digress. If you’re interested in this, see if you can engage someone in your circle who has good Unicorn energy to help you out. If no one comes to mind- get creative with your own calendar and schedule out some unicorn times to treat yourself!
The second way I decided to play with this was to think about what might bring me some of that joy that my daughter experienced when she first saw the inflatable Unicorn raft. What are the things that put that kind of look on my face? Interestingly, this was a little bit harder than I anticipated. I had to really sit and think about it. The list ended up being a mish-mash of small and large items and experiences. This included things like having a completely unscheduled day, Dairy Queen Oreo blizzards, walking on the beach at the ocean, a funky new pair of sunglasses, a new journal, wind chimes, escaping to the cool pines and mountains of Arizona, glitter pens, a tarot card app, solo meditation time, getting my vehicle washed, a long talk on the phone with a good friend, going to a yoga class, and even buying new sticky notes. It didn’t necessarily mean that I was able to accomplish all of these things and the rest of what went onto that list, but it created major awareness of what brought me joy, and I found myself with a heightened awareness of when I bumped into items that were “Giant Unicorn list-worthy” throughout my day.
There was also an unintended kind of awareness that came about as well. Holy crap, I have really been operating in “GO!” mode. For a very long time. There were a lot of things on that list that could have been accessible to me that I have not made time for. On the flip side, there were things on that list that could have been Giant Unicorn Things but had become routine or mundane or simply another item on the to-do list. It was a great reminder of how I can choose to be much more present and intentional in my day-to-day life. Busy-ness is not mutually exclusive to joyful experiences! (How many more times am I going to have to learn and re-learn that lesson?!?!)
The third way I decided to play with this whole concept was where I really got to have some fun: I went searching for Giant Unicorns. This meant consistently tuning my awareness to look for these types of occurrences. And like every other time I’ve experimented with this type of intentionality, it blew my mind. My life was full of Giant Unicorns! Sometimes I cultivated the experience and scheduled something that gave off that Unicorn sparkle. More often than not, it was something that simply happened through the normal course of a day – a funny bumper sticker, something silly my daughter said, a meme texted to me by a friend, even a commercial that touched my heart and made me cry (Oh, come on, like YOU don’t cry at some of these commercials)… That vibrant awareness has stuck with me, and I’m experiencing a whole heck of a lot more Unicorn moments than I previously thought possible.
There’s no massive life lesson or incredibly mind-blowing universal wisdom I’m trying to impart here. Only that I see so many of my clients, friends, family members, and fellow human beings really getting bogged down by the heaviness of life. This isn’t a cure-all for the ills of the world, but it is something that has shifted my own perspective. And I find that as I live more joyfully, I’m able to help those around me live more joyfully, too.
One Giant Unicorn at a time.