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  • Katarina Guzman

A Story About Being Present

What if you had complete control over how fast you lived your life?? Most of us might say we would want to slow it down. But what about the parts of our lives that we find difficult... when we are mourning...when we are trudging through the last year of school....when we are waiting for summer....

Have you ever heard of the tale "Peter and the Magic Thread"?

When I was in grade school I happened upon it in one of my many story collections. It was one of those narratives that never quite creeps out of your consciousness after you let it in.

For me, Peter and his thread were always lurking there, popping up whenever they could to remind me that they hadn't faded away.

Stories are like that sometimes.

In this tale, Peter is given the chance to be the owner of his own life thread. It appears as a golden ball of thread which he can tug on if he wants to skip ahead a few seconds, hours, days, or even years in his life.

You guessed where this is going... *spoilers ahead*


You can find a version here on Scribd if you have a membership or here.


Peter ends up yanking on that golden ball quite often, and in the end he regrets it.

It turns out spending your days waiting for the next thing to happen isn't quite the same as living it.

When I first read this tale it had a pretty big impact on me. Maybe not for the reasons you might think...

Even though the ending of the story is pretty clear that tugging on your thread isn't the way to live your life, I still wished I had my own magic ball of thread.

Every time I was faced with something challenging in my life, which was pretty often when you are the anxious type, I would think about Peter and his magic thread. And I would wish that I had that in my hands right then.

Just... one... small... tug...

I think it is very human to want to speed up our lives at times. Fast forward to graduation... fast forward to vacation time... fast forward to lunch...

Yesterday I found the story "Peter and the Magic Thread" on the internet and I read it for only the second time in my life.

And it hit me that I had been unconsciously tugging on that life thread for most of my life! That magic ball of thread managed to weasel it's way literally into my unconscious. No wonder I kept thinking about it over the years!

Being present is a practice. Not only in the happy times but in the uncomfortable times as well.

The byproduct of unconsciously speeding up our lives, of putting our heads down and simply waiting for it all to be over, can cost us.

Our growth is dependent on how we handle difficult situations. How we reflect on them, how we consciously engage in the stories we have woven around and through them.

I still struggle with wanting to pull that thread every now and then...

But consciously putting one foot in front of the other, being aware of your surroundings, and maintaining a steady pace, is what will allow you to eventually see that fork in the road ahead of you... and to take control over which road you take!


"I should like to live my life again as if for the first time, but without your magic ball. Then I will experience the bad things as well as the good without cutting them short, and at least my life will not pass as swiftly and meaninglessly as a daydream."

~Peter and the Magic Thread, a French Tale



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