Monday, June 14, 2010

Becoming a Miracle

Each and every one of is is a miracle waiting to happen.

I'm not talking about that foo-foo, every-child-is-special type of miracle. Nor am I talking about the Mark-Kaufman-showed-up-when-he-said-he-would type of miracle. I'm not even talking about the I-got-home-and-found-no-horizontal-spaces-covered-with-Iris'-stuff type of miracle. I'm talking about that out-of-the-blue, impossible solution to an intractable situation type of miracle.

And yet, most of us never manifest even a small portion of our miraculousness. We may be too busy to do so. We may not see how miraculous we are. We may be oblivious to daily opportunities to miraculize a situation.

And yet, as we recognize the miraculous potential in each of us and seize upon the myriad, daily opportunities to manifest it, we can transform the world.

It Ain't No Thang
Over the past few years, I've come to realize that one man's miracle is another man's think-nothin-of-it. Driving past someone longingly looking down the street from a bus stop and pulling over to give him a ride can be difference between someone him getting that much needed job and not getting it. Handing a twenty dollar bill to the elderly lady desperately searching her purse in front of you in the checkout line can be the difference between her eating and not eating tonight. Returning someone's gaze and smiling as he sits on a bench considering whether or not to end his life can completely transform his outlook.

Most miracles go unnoticed by the miraculous, but may become stories handed down for generations by the miraculized. The problem is that we tend not to recognize our miraculous potential. Since it's no big deal for us, we assume it's no big deal for the person we might have helped.

Showing up for your kid's school play, no big deal, right? Spending an another five minutes to shovel your neighbor's stoop... Walking those extra portions of lasagna and salad down the street to the elderly man you see every day on your way to work... Calling a coworker at home for no reason other than to see how she is doing... No big deal. And yet, these simple actions can make a huge difference to the other person. They can feel miraculous.

Keep It Simple
One of the reasons we see so few miracles is that we assume miracles take time and/or money and/or effort. A key to successfully unleashing and sustaining the miraculousness within is to not try to be miraculous. Instead, start by looking for opportunities to simply extend what you're already doing to encompass someone else. If you're getting together a group for lunch, ask someone whom you're never invited before to join you. If you're going to be in the car for an hour, rather than calling all the same old folks, call someone whom you've thought about but simply don't know how they're doing. If you're picking up some flowers at the florist, pick up an extra bouquet for the elderly woman down the street.

By keeping miracles simple and integrated into what you would do anyway, you can establish and maintain amazing levels of miracle productivity. And since miracles tend to be hit-or-miss, you can increase the number of you-inspired actual miracles by sheer production volume, even if your hit-rate doesn't improve.

Pay Attention
Another key to creating miracles, one that will increase your hit rate, is to pay attention. Everyday you encounter opportunities to be a miracle that you simply don't see, even when they're staring you in the face. The opportunities are often accompanied by a little voice saying something on the order of, "Hey, why don't you just..." And yet, we move on leaving the miraculous potential unfulfilled.

So, once you've recognized that you are a miracle and that miracles are easy, all you have to do is actively look for opportunities to be a miracle. They're everywhere!

One way to do this is to simply look up every once in a while and actually notice the people around you. In the coffee shop, waiting for the subway, at the office, at the market, look around you and ask yourself, "Hmm... anyone here looking for a miracle?"

Alternatively, you can start with the activity itself. This was a favorite approach of my mom. She'd just start cooking and as she did so, think of people she knew. One person would stick in her mind and she'd send my dad out the door with a packed up meal, ready to eat.

And of course, there's just the people who come to mind via divine-or-other-inspiration.

Don't Just Sit There
OK, so there you are all miraculous and everything and you spot a could-use-a-miracle type. What do you do?

Well, you sit back and say, "Hmmm... what if he doesn't really want me to give him a ride?" or, "What if she's insulted or embarrassed that I offered her a twenty?" or, "What if she wants more than what I can give her?" Right?

No. Just do it. The would-be-miraculized can always say, "No, thank you."

When you have the two necessary ingredients, miracle-er and miracle-ee, start miracle-izing. You don't have to be forceful about it; just offer.

The Advance Course
Once you've got good at everyday miracles, you may want to expand your repertoire. The easiest way I've seen to do this is to offer your specialized skills to people or groups who could not otherwise afford them. For example, if you're a skilled carpenter, you may work with a group that helps lower income families restore their homes. If you're good with computers, you may offer to help struggling businesses to build websites. The skills that you take for granted on the job, things that you consider to be quite simple, may be impossible for someone else.

The Caveats
Not all miracles are appreciated by the miraculized, or at least not in the moment. Taking away the car keys from an inebriated friend (or father for that matter) often receives other than 'thank you'. If you provide miracles on a regular basis to a single individual or single group, your miracles might get transformed into expectations and entitlements. And of course, some miracles go unappreciated because, although they seem miraculous to you, they're not necessarily miraculous to the miraculized: think hand-knitted, eight-foot-long, pink and yellow scarf for your eleven-year-old nephew.

Ready to Be A Miracle?
The following are simple guidelines to becoming an everyday miracle.
  1. Recognize that being a miracle is all a matter of perspective. What comes easily to you may make all the difference in the world to someone else. Remind yourself that you are a miracle (or at least a potential miracle).
  2. Regularly remind yourself that you want to be a miracle.
  3. Look at any situation as a potential opportunity to provide a miracle. Pay attention to the people that you encounter. Look for the opportunities to extend the benefit of activities that you've already undertaken.
  4. When you see an opportunity, keep it simple. Don't make it a big deal or overly complex. Just go with what first comes to mind.
  5. When it all comes together, act on it before you have time to rationalize it away. The would-be miracle-ee can always say, "No."
Wishing you a miraculous Monday,


  1. I feel quite miraculized by your miraculous qualities to play with your words in such a miraculously playful way. I am giggling miraculously interesting weird sounds while reading this post written by a miracle-er, whom is clearly are a miracle in itself! It inspires me to bring myself to incredulously new heights like creating-a-house-without-any-horizontal-spaces-covered-with-Iris'-stuff or lris-can-cook-for-dinner moments! Love you...


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