Magic Beans, Elvis And Feeling Like A Sucker

Magic Bean! (This might involve elves.)A few years ago, a sweet friend sent me a Magic Bean.

Which is basically a bean.
With a secret message inscribed on it by elves.
Stuck in a can of dirt.

You water it. It grows. You see the message. There is rejoicing.

I dug the idea.

But I was pretty sure absolutely nothing was going to happen.

I mean, hello.

It’s a bean.
In a can.

How long do beans last anyway?

Plus I was pretty sure that whatever magics they used to imprint the secret message on the bean probably killed it in the process.

Bean killers.

So, in my head, the chances of it ever actually growing?

Pretty much none.

Dirt. Water. Elvis.

But I loved the idea of the Magic Bean.

And I was crazy curious to see what the secret message was.

So I read the instructions. And cleared a space on the windowsill.

And I watered that brightly colored can of dirt faithfully.

Every day I’d check on the bean.

Skeptical. Hopeful. Mostly skeptical.

And, day after day, nothing happened.

Not one single sign of life.

I figured Elvis had pretty much left the building.

But I kept watering.

Even though I totally felt like a sucker.

Pure fabulousness

Then one day I saw a little something poking through the soil.

What is that?

Ho. Lee. Shit.

That bean was growing!

And it didn’t just grow.

In no time, that wackypants bean shot up out of that can and twisted its way up up and around the curtain rod.

I couldn’t believe it.

What were the odds?

I mean, hello.

A bean.
In a can.
Exposed to mysterious elven message-imprinting technology.


But seriously fabulous.

Hey sucker, nice dirt!

Getting your Thing out into the world is a lot like a Magic Bean.

Less because of the elves.
More because of the Elvis.

You’re watering. And hoping. And watering.

But there are no signs of life.

It totally looks like nothing’s happening. All you have is a brightly colored can of dirt.

Oh, and that sneaking suspicion that you’re a sucker.

But here’s the thing.

There’s magic shaking out that you can’t see.

Things soaking up the energy + effort you’re putting in.
Bits and pieces coming together.
Stuff that’s starting to sprout.

But you don’t see that until the metaphorical bean pops through the soil.

And that’s the whole point.

There are things happening deep down in the ground of your Thing that you can’t see right now.

It’s mysterious. And magical. And frustrating. And scary.

All of it.

All at once.

Behold the bean

I know it’s super easy to get frustrated when you’re watering your ass off and it still looks like your sweet Thing is going nowhere.

I get that.

I’ve been in that place so many times I’ve lost count.

But I also know this:

You can’t really know what’s happening in that can.
And there’s always more happening than you think.


Sometimes it just takes time to see it.

So keep watering. Every single day.

Even – especially! – when you’re skeptical.

And eventually you’ll see the bean.

Probably sooner than you think.

It will be fabulous.

There will be much rejoicing.

And each time this happens it gets a little easier to trust that some delicious nugget of awesome is getting ready to pop up any day now and be all, Hello gorgeous! Here I am!

In the meantime, deep breaths.

And keep watering.

Are there bits of your Thing that need water?
What makes it hard to keep watering?
How has watering paid off?
Do you believe in elves?
(Ok. You can skip that last one.)

Flickr credit – m-gem

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19 Responses to Magic Beans, Elvis And Feeling Like A Sucker
  1. Alexia
    February 24, 2011 | 10:52 am

    I know who would love one of those beans… Thanks for the reminder of persistence and patience. I have very little of both 😉

    Are there bits of your Thing that need water? Oh yes… lots of it. There’s a new thing I just stuck in the ground and I’m feeling the impatience!

    What makes it hard to keep watering? I want it to happen NOWNOWNOW! *sigh* but I know if I stop watering, it will never happen…

    How has watering paid off? The creativity keeps coming. When I think I’ve reached the end of it, it keeps going 🙂

    Do you believe in elves? Um. of COURSE! How dull would the world be without elves? 😉

  2. tracy
    February 24, 2011 | 11:19 am

    totally believe in elves. and elvis. and magic.
    but it’s so great to be reminded.
    sometimes, that’s all it takes.
    because i forget.
    so thank you!
    thanks for reminding me.

  3. Patty K
    February 24, 2011 | 11:45 am

    I’m hoping my magic bean will respond to the occasional deluge of water, followed by periods of drought.

    Hey! Maybe my bean is a cactus! That thought makes me happy for some reason.

    I really needed to hear this this morning. Thank you, Fabeku.

  4. Tia Sparkles Singh
    February 24, 2011 | 11:51 am

    Clapping my hands in glee and grinning lopsidedly 😀 😀 Eeeee! Magic beans! Love the analogy and am reassured #ThatIsAll and #ThankYou!

  5. Joely Black
    February 24, 2011 | 11:51 am

    Schrodinger’s bean! I love it 🙂

  6. Grace
    February 24, 2011 | 12:03 pm

    This. Is. So. True.

    I’ve felt like I’ve been watering that bean forever. The temptation to dig it up and check the roots has been overwhelming. (But what a way to kill the poor thing!)

    And finally, I’m starting to see signs of real life. Dunno ’bout clambering up the curtain rod, but … something’s moving, momentum is happening.

    So yeah. Persist. I see so many people who give up just when the bean was about to sprout!

  7. Susan T. Blake
    February 24, 2011 | 12:28 pm

    Elves and Elvis together in one blog post. What an odd but fabulous combination! Thank you for the reminder to keep watering. 🙂 And trusting.

  8. Amy Crook
    February 24, 2011 | 1:35 pm

    This post is so timely, and so wonderful – the reminder that there’s something going on underneath, but the surest way to make sure your tiny sweet thing doesn’t succeed is to stop watering it before it can break through and start shining.

    Thanks, tater.

  9. Taryn
    February 24, 2011 | 2:26 pm

    I needed this post today. Thank you. And of course I believe in elves! :p

  10. Paula Swenson, Dream Advocate
    February 24, 2011 | 4:37 pm

    Of course I believe in elves, and watering, and magic created by believing in things that can’t be seen, YET. . . . thanks for telling it so very, very well!
    *peace + joy*

    p.s.I happen to know that elves believe in YOU 🙂

  11. Roger
    February 24, 2011 | 4:47 pm

    Elves? Nah, what a ridiculous notion. The very idea that there are these little pointy-eared beings who help in ways no one sees is … wait, what?


    Excellent post Fabeku – with or without elves. Always better with elves, though. And Paula is correct – elves do believe in YOU! 😀

  12. Do Mi Stauber
    February 24, 2011 | 5:36 pm

    Oh, so perfect for me right now. Watering watering watering and waiting. Patience is not my main virtue. Thanks for the reminder that the real momentum is happening way down deep. That’s the place I always need to pay more attention to anyway…

  13. shana
    February 24, 2011 | 5:58 pm

    “hold the bean” love that! your words always seem to hit me so deeply. hey, maybe be-hold the bean…thanks you & big hugs

  14. Briana
    February 24, 2011 | 6:28 pm

    That wackypants bean!

    This is such a great visual, tangible reminder. Thank you. Much rejoicing!

  15. Angel
    February 24, 2011 | 8:30 pm

    Oh, Fabeku…. my Inner Ms Sassy Pants L-O-V-E-S these types of reminders… and she wanted me to thank you for putting them out there for us on a regular basis… (so, thanks dude! :-))

    Holy sass… there are so many bits of my thing that are in need of some regular watering right now… and what the hell is my problem that I keep forgetting? I keep freaking out b/c I feel like I’ve not yet (quite) hit my stride… and what if (when I do) I’m rejected for it (high school all over again… ICK!)??? Ohhhhh I just don’t know about that. Talk about some serious suckage 🙁

    So I’ll water, and then ‘forget’ for a bit… back and forth. Flood or drought, neither of which is beneficial to that delicate little bean…

    Hmmm… need to figure some ways to water regularly and with care. Food for thought.

    I’ve never been a big fan of elves, myself… (nor of Elvis… I’m gonna get some boo’ing for that one, huh?? ;-)) but am all about fairies (aren’t elves and fairies in the same family anyway???).

    My (and Ms Sassy Pants’) thanks for another great reminder!!

  16. Joan Bright
    February 24, 2011 | 10:01 pm

    I do believe, IdoIdoIdoIDO believe… fairies, elves, ghosts, and my “thing”? well….I quit my day job this week…I have another temporary day job lined up that will leave my nights and weekends free…and I am telling people and they are asking me to do drumm-y things and ohmyGODDESS it’s like I just got my can…with the bean in it…and I’m finally opening it and beginning to water…updates to follow. Aaaahhhhh! I’m not as much scared as I am very excited. This post is perfectly on time for me…as usual, Fabeku, you’re perfectly in time! Thank you! <3

  17. LynnH
    February 25, 2011 | 1:23 am

    One year, we moved a very old peony bush to a more sunny spot. Peonies thrive in sun and pine for more light when they don’t get it.

    So we moved the bush maybe 4 feet. And it just flipped out.

    Leaves shriveled and fell. I pruned away as many as seemed prudent, to help it deal with the shock of a move.

    The leaves continued to shrivel and die. Until one night I clipped back all but one single cluster of leaves on a single stem.

    I could not take the broken heart I would have felt, had that last leaf not made it. I babied it like no other plant in my history (I have never been a big plant person but I love gardens).

    Every morning, I would water that peony leaf. When I started, that leaf was always actually flat on the ground, as if it had already given up.

    It was like watering a stick. There was no promise in that leaf at all.

    In an hour or so after I watered the stick, I would notice that it had gained enough strength to come an inch or so off the ground. I have never been so happy to see such subtle change!

    Of course, I had to go to work during the daytime. I would get back home around dark, and again that poor leaf was flat and lifeless against the dirt. Once more, I would wter the stick.

    Nothing happened that year to indicate that my watering was worth the time. The snow covered it along with the rest of the garden, and I held no hope that I would see my precious stick the next spring.

    Amazingly, it did come back, with a few other leaves to keep it company. It took about 3 years to really look healthy, and now 7 years later it is huge and bold.

    The moral: Water the stick. (Keep the faith, keep doing your part.)

    Thanks for your story. Loved it.

  18. Glad
    March 2, 2011 | 4:48 pm

    I’m in the current state of being a bean waterer and watcher. I know that dirt (lots of dirt) must be pushed up first, then the sprout peaks out.

    It’s slow work, pushing up all that dirt. But, I believe. And I water. And watch.

    Thanks for the sweet reminder that I’m doing it right.

  19. Fabeku
    March 9, 2011 | 10:32 am

    @Alexia – Psst. I don’t have a ton of patience either. I have to constantly remind myself. I also love what you said about the creativity + how it keeps coming. Word.

    @Tracy – Elves! Yes! Elvis + magic, too.

    @Patty – Holy crap! Bean-as-cactus. I dig that. A lot.

    @Tia – Lopsided grins FTW!

    @Joely – Schrodinger’s bean. That goes straight into Top Three Favorite Blog Comments Ever pile.

    @Grace – That urge to dig? I so get that. Sometimes I have to sit on my hands + fight the urge. And big big yays for seeing signs of momentum!

    @Susan – The elves/Elvis thing is kind of like a bowl of weirdness gumbo. Wacky. But delicious.

    @Amy – Totally agreed. And, like Grace, I’ve seen way too many stop watering just before their Thing is ready to burst through. I’ve done it myself, too.

    @Taryn – Totally welcome. (p.s. I love that one fabulous side effect of this post is learning how many people believe in elves. Elves!)

    @Paula – I heart that elves believe in me, too. Sweetness.

    @Roger – Obviously your elve-ey minions alerted you to this post. That rocks. Thanks for stopping by.

    @Do Mi – Yeah, the deep down stuff is so important. And so easy to forget when we have our eyes on the soil. Which is a totally normal thing to do, really.

    @Shana – Be-hold the bean! Perfect.

    @Briana – Big welcomes. Happy it landed.

    @Angel – The flood/drought pattern. I know that one. And I think you’re right. When you find your groove, that kind of shifts. It becomes easier to water it a little each day. And you’ll get there. Really. (p.s. No booing from me about musical tastes. I mean, hello? I love Barbie Girl by Aqua. So clearly I’m in no place to judge.)

    @Joan – Right on! Go you! Here’s some extra lurve as you sweet Thing starts to grow. So excited for you!

    @Lynn – I. Love. That. Story. Water the stick. Yesyesyes. Thanks for that.

    @Glad – But, I believe. And I water. And watch. That’s it. Right there. Beautifully said.

    Lots of water + love + goodness to all of you + your many sweet + varied Things.

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