Amsterdam, New Year’s Eve, 1997.
As the clock in the city’s central square struck midnight, a roar of exultation went up through the crowd.
Revelers twirled through the snow, embracing and kissing and beating their drums. I stood on the side, tears streaming down my cheeks.
Staring into the cathedrals of city light reflecting off the clouds above, I prayed, “Please God, Goddess, Powers That Be, please send me someone to be with me. Let me find comfort somehow, even if it’s only for one night.”
Broke, alone and scared, this was one of many times in my life when my most desperate prayers were answered.
The next day, while trying to keep warm with cheap soup, I saw a familiar face walk by outside the café window…
…my ex-girlfriend. The one who terrified me. The drug dealer, the pixie, the whirlwind – L.
I hadn’t seen nor spoke to L. for six months. All she knew was that I was in Europe somewhere. And yet, there she was. In a fancy jacket made for the arctic, staying at a five-star hotel.
Long story short, I chased her down.
Within a month my fortunes had completely changed. The life I’d always dreamed of was actually happening.
- We moved into an apartment in the center of the city with central heating (!!) and a view of the canals, eating dinner at schmaltzy restaurants where the waiters wore tuxedos and served on silver platters.
- Rather than being closed, it turned out the School for New Dance Development (SNDO), the school I’d come to A’dam for, had simply moved into a new building, an architectural masterpiece, housing all the schools for the performing arts in the city. I enrolled in a 6-week intensive program to prepare for the audition in the spring.
- With my new dancer friends from school, I also started taking classes with a Butoh company called “Body Weather Laboratories.” I was dancing my heart out!
Everything felt easy. There I was in Europe, surrounded by friends, doing what I always wanted to be doing.
And then came the audition.
I felt sure I’d get in to the SNDO. My dreams had sent me messages, my prayers had been answered. I’d worked and I’d sweated and I’d done all the right things. And then…
… I didn’t get in. They only accepted nine new students that year. My two closest friends from the intensive were selected, but not me.
Of course, I was devastated. I couldn’t get out of bed for days. I could barely speak. My relationship started to fall apart. I didn’t want to be in Amsterdam any more. I didn’t know what to do.
I felt like a baseball that had been cracked out to the farthest, coldest, reaches of the universe. And I just hovered there, an insignificant fragment of rock, outside the orbit of any meaning.
How could I have gone through all that desire and difficulty, received all those messages, followed all those leads, only to have a big fat nothing appear at the end of it?!
Reader, if you’ve ever had a dream, something you wanted with your whole heart, something you worked for, something that seemed like your inevitable destiny, just, poof, fail to materialize, well, this message is for you. Read on.
One of the first lessons of magic, often a painful one, is that most of the time your perspective is basically…
And not only that, it’s small.
In my case, from a magical perspective, my spell had already worked. I wanted to go to Europe (Amsterdam in particular), I wanted to study dance at the SNDO, and I wanted to experience adventure.
Check, check, check. I got everything I wanted.
I never specified HOW LONG I would study dance in A’dam. I never specified that I would be the greatest dancer that ever lived. (Besides, now I know the greatest dancer is the one who enjoys it most, and, um, Sylvie Guillem).
But while yes, it’s true, magic is all about the specificity of your intention — that part is really important – that’s not ALL magic is about.
What magic is REALLY about is your empowerment.
Because here’s the thing. When Merce Cunningham said, “Dance is about dance and nothing else,” he wasn’t telling the whole story.
Dance is also about failure. Dance is about auditioning a thousand times and not getting in. Dance is about the pleasure of movement, and the pain of striving.
Dance is life. And it doesn’t stop. You never get to be permanently on top, that’s just the nature of the material universe we’re living in. Everything is constantly changing.
What’s truly important in life is that you feel empowered to make choices. To keep going. To take pleasure in your work, your life’s work. To take pleasure in simply being here, doing what you’re doing.
And that pleasure? THAT my friends, is magic.
Magic is the shift in perspective that allows you to see that right here, wherever you are, is your playground. Magic shows you that you are the agent. You are not at the mercy of an unfeeling universe.
You might not always get what you want. You might be oppressed. You might have real enemies. You might be broke and alone. But you are still powerful. You still have choices.
Magic has lots of fun accoutrements: colored candles, incense, petition papers, wands. All of that is great…
…But what’s really important about the practice of magic is how it helps bring yourself back into your body. Magic is a beautiful way to connect to the source of your power.
Since most if not all of us have been trained to abdicate our power in one form or another since birth, we can’t expect reclaiming it to be an instantaneous process.
Like dance, embodying your power through witchcraft takes practice and effort over a sustained period of time. Luckily, also like dance, that practice is a lot of fun, gets great results, and provides its own reward simply through the pleasure of doing it.
So stay tuned for next time. I’ll be sharing a simple magical practice that always helps me stop singing my songs of misery and persecution, and instead helps me strike my “power chord.” Witch power. For those about to rock!
However, if you’re feeling frustrated and don’t want to wait until my next post, book a session with me right now. Here’s what a recent client had to say about my work:
“Thank you for the powerful healing yesterday. So much was cleared away. I feel very, very strong and deeply grateful…[Today] I feel very fiercely protected.”
Strength and protection are just a click away.
Also, I’m going to be launching my Power Magic online class very soon! I know I promised it last month but things got so busy: performing at the Hammer Museum, lectures at UCLA, panels with other artists, gallery workshops… all great stuff, but it means the online class will be launching in early 2017. Keep an eye out. Power Magic for everyone!