Making Magic Happen with Christy Tennery-Spalding

We’ve all got different definitions of making magic happen. What’s yours?

Making magic happen is about seeing the magic that is all around us. How incredible life is! Being present with the moment and what is allows us to see that magic. The magic is in the slowing down.

Remembering that we are all in this together. That we are all interconnected. When I remember that and feel it in my bones, it lights me up. It makes me brave.

Of the things that you’ve accomplished in your life, what are you most proud of?
I’m very proud of the healing that I’ve done in my own body and life. Giving myself the gift of loving myself well and treating myself with respect has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve accomplished. I’ve had a lot of therapeutic issues to work with, and I am so proud that I meet them with love instead of criticism.

I live a great life that I’ve, in some ways, been dreaming into being since I was in middle school. That feels amazing.

When you’re taking on a big new project, or you’ve set your eyes on a new goal, how do you actually, you know, make it happen?
Remember that it’s not about me. It’s about what I’m here to do and who I’m here to serve. I’m not a teacher to hear my own voice. Usefulness is my guide.

I begin with the end in mind and work backwards, mapping out all of the smaller steps along the way. It’s kinder to myself to give myself small victories along the journey to stay motivated and set myself up for success.

What books/tools/products/apps have helped you on your journey?
My altar — adorned with crystals, found objects from nature and other sacred talismans — is the physical centerpiece of my practice. I light candles, meditate, burn sage and consult my guides. I love my deck of Medicine Cards, given to me by my teacher.

The books Trauma Stewardship by Laura van Dernoot Lipsky and Close to the Bone by Jean Shinoda Bolen were game-changers for me. They are the two books I recommend most highly for people who do change-making or caregiving work.

Hiking has been a big gift to me the last couple of years and I try to get into the woods as often as possible. Hot water is also really regenerating for me. Frequent time in the woods and in water is essential for my healing and my soul.

Nutrition-wise, ghee is my best friend. And I’ve embraced juicing at home and really good dark chocolate (I love Wei of Chocolate which incorporates flower essences).

For expression, Instagram is by far my favorite app.

Most of us living big, challenging, magical lives have met our fair share of naysayers. How have you dealt with that?
Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of Bikini Kill, once said at a show, “All girls to the front. All boys, be cool, for once in your lives.”

Haters will always be, especially if you’re doing world-changing work, but as far as I’m concerned, they can step to the back and be cool. I put the people who love me in the front of my life, where I can see them. Ultimately, I believe in kindness and self-care and liberation. “The Haters” seem kind of boring to me.

When you have moments of doubt or get distracted, how do you refocus on your goals?
It’s a lot like meditation. Every moment is a chance to start over. If I’m just feeling fussy, I treat work like a meditation, an invitation to be curious and mindful with what’s going on.

If I’m truly overwhelmed or frazzled, I take a break and come back. I fill myself up with what brings me joy: great music, a walk, some yoga practice, chatting with a friend. Then, I create an action plan of a few really do-able action steps to let me get my feet under myself.

What’s the most magical thing going on in your life right now?
I’m in a constant state of falling in love all over again with the life I’ve created. Things are coming to fruition and I’m reveling in the moment.

What’s particularly magic is that I’m building new leadership muscles. I’m being called to take on some new roles that are demanding a new level of commitment and presence. It’s a treat to be stepping up for people and projects that I believe in.

If you could build a perfect day from scratch, what would it look like? (Where would you be? When would you wake up and go to sleep? Who would be with you? What would you eat/drink/do?)
My perfect day would begin early, and by drinking coffee with my husband, hanging out with our cats and connecting about what’s going on in our lives. It’s my favorite ritual and it sets my day off on the right note. There would also be waffles.

I would spend some time sitting meditation, practicing yoga, writing and cleaning our home.  Getting that grounding, introverted home time. Probably chat on the phone with a long-distance friend. Maybe paint or read poetry for a while.

Then I’d head out for a hike in the redwoods with friends, have a picnic by a river. I love filling my home with treasures from the natural world, so finding a feather from a stellar jay would be perfect.

Afterward, I’d collaborate on a home-cooked dinner with friends and eat it outside. I would finish my day in a hot tub with a glass of wine gazing at the stars, or sitting around a firepit sharing stories.


BIOChristy Tennery-Spalding


Christy Tennery-Spalding is a yoga teacher, activist and healing arts practitioner. She works with caregivers and change-makers to develop self-care practices that are custom, intuitive & feasible. She lives in Oakland, California, where she enjoys frolicking in redwoods and soaking in hot springs.

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Image credit: Gary Pepper Girl