Sunday, January 2, 2011
Some small magic
From Christmas, sent by my sister, Tracy Gallup's A ROOMFUL OF QUESTIONS, which opens with following quote:
"...be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not seek the answers...Live the questions now."
-Rainer Maria Rilke
from Letters to a Young Poet
Among the questions we are asked to love is at least one to which I may have an answer. Is magic in every one of us? Yes.
We've discussed here Carl Sagan's belief that we are star stuff, Shakespeare's description that we are such stuff as dreams are made of. How is it possible to be that and not possess magic?
Instead of rising each day, secure in the knowledge that we will either witness or accomplish at least one impossible thing, we shuffle magic to the bottom of the pile. It surrenders its place in line to health insurance forms, an oil change, radical hair loss, phone calls we don't want to take. Lime deposits, using the last Swiffer dust cloth, fatigue and the narrowing of vision that comes from the task being alive conspire to dim our memories of our true natures.
This is not show business magic, we are not going to escape from straight jackets in sealed, water-filled tanks. We will not go "presto change-o" with a very large silken cloth and show you the empty spot where Jumbo the elephant just stood. Illusion is skill. Real magic is simply part of us. We arrived with it in our satchels and no amount of distraction or forgetfulness will change that.
Magic is our accessory, it is our super power, our salvation. When it is alert and present, our lives expand, senses and dimensions increase. Our unsteady heartbeats normalize, our brain chatter quiets, we become peaceful and serenely, foolishly happy. We are home, for the moment nothing else matters.
With crazy genius luck, one dose of magic will stretch until the next. For as long as it lasts, we can walk it like a high wire above ordinary concerns which will seem to resolve themselves. To sustain magic takes intention. It requires a single-mindedness for which everyday life leaves scant opportunity.
So we learn to treasure it, to recognize its least obvious forms, to shelter its tentative flames and keep them burning.
Magic, of course, is all about questions. They are the place it begins and the core of its nature. What we are allowed to know is that it is. And that it is us.