Tag Archives: Magic

Location, Location, Location

The Juggler

The other day I saw an interesting show. Downtown, they have this park where there’s a section that is blocked off for street performers. I’m no sure how they decide who gets to perform where, and when, but they do have some sort of system in place. It’s not like some areas where there’s a prime street location, and the performers have to fight for the spot.

Sometimes you can find videos online of street performers actually getting into fistfights over a particular piece of real estate. If you make your living as a street artist, which many of them, it can cost you your livelihood if you let your competitor get in and take your spot.

Back in the days of the gold rush, there were certain rules regarding “claims.” If you made a claim on a certain area, then you were the only one that was allowed to find gold in that area. It wasn’t really enforced all the much, more like a general agreement among the gold diggers themselves. If one particular person would “jump claims” too much, then either the authorities, or the general population would self correct, effectively eliminating the “claim jumper.”

Territorial disputes have always been a key reason for countries going to war, as far back as recorded history. Resources, which are always scarce and in limited supply are worth fighting and dying for. It’s no secret that countries, even today, that have valuable resources such as gold and precious metals are much better off than countries that don’t have any resources at all.

Much has been written about the struggle for control over resources on a smaller scale during the middle ages. For a while, the de facto means for keeping property was to keep it in the family. The term “real” in “real estate” itself is a version of the word royal, meaning of course royalty. Real estate means land that is owned by the king, or the ruling family. In the middle ages, all of the land was owned by the rich people, and the peasants had to pay heavy taxes in order to be able to farm the land to eek out a meager living.

There was quite an interesting battle that slowly took place over several generations with regard to this. Generally speaking, the eldest son would inherit the land, and subsequent resources (which included all the people.) The second and third oldest sons usually didn’t get much of anything, unless they were in the good graces of their oldest brother. The daughters were hopefully married off into a rich family.

In poor family, then, daughters were much more valuable than sons, as they at least had the potential to “marry up” into a rich family. But in rich families, eldest sons were the focus of attention.

But over the course of time, some interesting things took place. As Ridley points out in “The Red Queen,” the second sons had two choices. They could accept their fate, and hope they stayed in favor with their older brothers, or they could join the monastery. After a few generations of this, these unimportant, younger brothers became the leaders of the then very powerful Roman Catholic Church. And what did the Church regulate most? Sex, and marriage, the very thing that kept them from inheriting the valuable land and resources.

Pretty soon there were religious laws which forbid marrying of cousins, which were generally favorable to wealthy families as it kept the land and resources intact in the family line. As things slowly changed over time, and with the Church inventing new ways to keep wealthy families from staying wealthy, the church itself became a formidable force.

The late middle ages, whole countries feared the Pope, the new King of Kings, as he could excommunicate entire countries with one decision. These unimportant younger brothers had slowly transformed the Catholic Church into one of the most powerful entities the world had ever seen. All by subtly changing the way that land and resources were kept and distributed.

There have been many studies of animals that indicate mating behaviors are extremely dependent on the male being able to adequately defend its territory. Study after study shows that in many species, whether they be insects or gorillas, the males that can hold and maintain physical territory get all the girls, while those that can’t are cast out, banned, with little chance of ever reproducing.

Being able to hold and defend a small piece of dirt is no insignificant thing. To this very day, thousands die day in and day out to defend pieces of land.

Which is exactly why the city set up a lottery system to see who got that particular spot in the street performer zone. I guess they had the performers pass some kind of test, or provide some kind of reference to quality, then they divided up the times and the spaces by lottery. I suppose that is a good way to do it. I think they are working one some kind of a feedback system where the performers that generate the most crowds are given preference, while those that are less “entertaining” are given the least popular times and places.

But the juggler that I saw was the most amazing juggler I’d ever seen, either in person or on TV. He had this completely spellbinding routine, where he would start juggling things, and then start talking to whoever was nearest to him. Then he would take whatever objects that person was willing to give up, like a cell phone or a set of car keys, and start jugging them, all the while telling this long winded and mysterious metaphorical story about all these tangents that didn’t seem to have anything to do with anything else, except for what maybe came before this.

But the stories always incorporated elements of whatever he happened to be juggling at the time, whatever these things are.

Remember What the Fortune Teller Said

I was walking down this shopping arcade the other day. It was on of those streets that have a covered roof, and they don’t allow cars on the street. There are even signs up that say you have to walk you bike, but many people ignore this rule. Which is fine with me, because I’ve never seen anybody crash into anybody else. I suppose it would be a problem if they were riding fast and weren’t looking out where they were going, but so far, so good. They have many shops on this street; the most popular are clothing shops. Probably a fair distribution of men’s and women’s clothes, from professional to trendy. A few coffee shops, a couple of ice cream shops, and several eye glasses shops. Your typical downtown, modern shopping arcade.

I saw one shop the other that I hadn’t noticed before, and I had to take a look inside. You know how when you see something, you immediately become interested, and you tell yourself that you have to look inside this to find what’s inside. And the more you look, the more you want to find out more. Which is exactly why I thought that very same thing.

So I looked inside, and there were several hundred different stones and crystals. Some were made specifically for jewelry, or accessories. How they take something and craft it to be ornamental and put on display. And then there were other stones, which were still in their raw form. Many different crystals. Stones that were more for their symbolic use rather than their ornamental use. Perhaps even metaphysical, as they had several charts on the Chakras and which stones went with which Chakra. (Lately, my favorite Chakra during meditation has been the Sacral Chakra.)

This reminds me of a psychic I met at a party several months ago. She said she was only an amateur, hobbyist kind of psychic, as she didn’t do it for a living. More for party tricks. She had a deck of Tarot Cards, and I asked her to give me a reading. She dealt all the cards out, and gave me an interesting reading. While I don’t remember the specific cards she dealt, I remember what she said about them, because it was absolutely true:

You have had some trouble in the past, and you are afraid that as you move into the future, these same things will trouble you. But you don’t realize is that some of these troubles form your past can actually turn into benefits if you take them as the experience that they were meant to be. And when you think of your future, you are looking forward to some things, but others you’d rather not think about, and perhaps even wish that some things that are coming in your future would just disappear, while other things that you would really like to happen, you are afraid that they won’t.

I asked her how she knew that from the cards that were dealt, as the cards were fairly ambiguous. She again shocked me with her insight:

Meaning is illusory. What you meaning you give is really a reflection of what is inside you. As you change within, so you will change without. The meanings you give will change over time, just as you will change over time. What you think is fearful today, may be funny tomorrow. And what you think is funny today, may be fearful tomorrow. Never trust the meaning you give, only trust your experience.

I was pretty amazed that such a “hobbyist” psychic would have such insight, but there it was. She said her real job was a very popular hairdresser at a local salon. She’d worked at one of those places where all the hair technicians are independent contractors, and they have to pay to use the shop. She had been there for several years, and was always in demand.

I ended up buying two crystals at that shop, one for my third Chakra, and one for my fifth Chakra. In hope that they would bring me what I was after. Sometimes I carry them with me, so I can remember what the fortuneteller said.

There is Magic Inside

I was walking down the street yesterday, minding my own business, like I normally do. Well, almost normally. Most of the time at least. And I passed by this very small flower shop. It was a flower shop that I had passed by several times before. I don’t know what it was that caused me to go inside. I certainly didn’t want to buy any flowers, as I wasn’t going anywhere that warranted a gift of flowers to anyone.

The first thing that struck me was just how large the flower shop seemed on the inside. From the outside, it looked like a small shop that could only hold maybe a few dozen arrangements. The front of the store was not that large, and on either side were rather looking storefronts, so you would never imagine what you could find inside until you really look. The first thing I was reminded of is the scene in Harry Potter (book four or five, I can’t remember) when he went to watch the world Quiddich Cup, and he went inside a tent set up by the Weasley’s. It was small on the outside, but enormous and filled with magic on the inside. That’s what this flower shop was like.

Inside were incredible arrangements of flowers I’d never even seen before. The colors were tantalizingly fantastic, and the way the proprietor had arranged them was absolutely breathtaking. I won’t even begin to try and describe it, because one, I only know the vocabulary of about six colors, and two, I only know the names of maybe three flowers. Bu suffice it to say that as soon as I went inside that shop, I started racking my brains for a reason to buy an arrangement or two and a reason to give them to somebody.

I started talking to the proprietor of the place. She had been in business for about ten years, all in the same shop. She had done several renovations to maximize the small space she had to work with, and the results spoke for themselves. She had originally been a high level executive assistant, pulling close to six figures a year (and that was over ten years ago,) but something about her job was less than satisfying. She wasn’t able to find happiness answering the needs of others. She was well respected, well liked, had enjoyed several promotions over the course of her career, but something was missing. She wasn’t able to choose her own direction.

So she looked around and found the flower shop for sale. She had always had a penchant for arranging things. But up until then, she had always been arranging things according to the criteria of other people. Like when you’ve had enough, and you need to choose things that are important to you. You feel a need to set your own course, and not have to follow the orders of others. You need to be yourself, whatever that may be. And she found it in this shop.

She said that at first the money was less than a quarter than she made before, but really enjoyed it. She could find ways to express her creativity in a way that gave her that special kind of satisfaction that you get when you do things your own way.

And of course, as time went on, and her shop became more and more successful, she started to earn more money than she did before. And not only that, but she is now able to set her own hours, choose her own arrangements, and feel really proud of her work.  Something she suspects never would have been possible before.

It’s kind of nice knowing that there are still people like this to model yourself after.


Pools of Magic

So my plane, or rather the plane I was riding in, was coming down for what I hoped was going to be a routine landing.  I had never flown in a plane this small, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t just a tad bit nervous. It was only a 8 seater, and I happened to be the last aboard, so I was sitting up front, next to the pilot. While it was really exciting while we were flying above the island.  Gliding around clouds. Able to look down and see the water as it looks really different from this angle. You can see all the way through. 

Kind of like when you fly on a commerical airline. Like when you are flying over a city, the residential part. And you can look down, and see how everything is really well organized. Especially if you compare the experience you can remember, now, of when you drove to your friends house for the first time and when you looked around. Everything seemed strange and out of place. Were you supposed to turn right at the gas station, or left? Everything seemed so difficult back before they were putting talking GPS maps in all the cars. How were we able to find your way around?

Another thing I think is really cool when you fly on a commerical plane, at least when you remeber to ask for  window seat. It sometimes is frustrating when you forget to ask for what you want, you know? But the interesting thing to me is how many people have swimming pools. When you look down, they are obvious. Which is another wierd thing. If you are still confused, and driving around looking for your friends house (assuming you took the right turn back at the gas station), you can’t tell who has a pool, and who doesn’t. You can’t even tell who has lawn furniture. But from a different perspective, things you wouldn’t have noticed before turn into things that you can’t miss.

It’s like when you meet somebody for the first time.  You can’t help but to look at the outside. Thier clothes, their speech patterns, they way they gesture with their hands.  I had a friend who told me that it was really important to keep an open mind when meeting people. She always said that although it’s really easy to judge by looks, its much more useful, if you want to be resourceful to kind of withhold judgement for a while. Give the person time to get comfortable, you know, like when you are able to express yourself without worrying about what other people think. She said that this was the best way. If you do this, you can really develop good relationships with people.  And that is important, right?

Of course the plane landed safely, and we all got off, and unpacked our bags. I had probably the most enlightening vacations of my life. At least up until now. How about you? What insights did you discover on the most enlightening vacation of your life?


Magic in a Bag

So there I was, sitting there in the coffee shop, in a nice corner spot. The kind where you can periodically stop what you are doing so you can look up and really pay attention, watch all the people walking around, shopping, eating, enjoying their Sunday off.  I noticed something out of the corner of my eye, and for reasons I’m probably not aware of, that particular movement seemed to stand out of all the flurry of movements, so I naturally turned my head so I could take notice. There was a young female employee of the shop standing facing a middle aged guy that was sitting down.  She seemed to have a look of professionalism on her face, and he a look of boredom. Perhaps his wife had dragged him shopping with her, perhaps he was a little light on sleep. We’ll never know. But as she leaned over to get closer to him, as there were plenty of people around chattering about, I saw an interesting phenomenon take place.  I noticed her eyes, and as she was talking to him in what appeared to be a polite professional tone (judging only by her facial expressions and her body langauge), they shifted back and forth between his face, and the bag that she was holding out for him to take. And as she did so, his face turned from passive disinterest, to mild curiosity, to a look of honest appreciation.  Now I’m not sure what was in the bag, perhaps some exotic coffee beans, or maybe a personalized mug, who knows.

Kind of like the shops around my town, they organize some special new years specials, where all the shops that participate put together bags of secret goodies for ten or twenty dollars. The fun part is that you don’t know what’s going to be in the bag. Of course it will be related to the kind of store of course, but you never know what will be in the bag until you open it up. And they all look the same, so you really can’t tell from the outside.

Like when I was a kid, we used to have lots of presents under the tree at christmas time, but you never know if you were going to get something cool  until you decided to choose a gift  to open.  And of course, most of the time we could expect to be really happy  with the present we got.

Which was what was wierd at the coffee shop, because the guy didn’t really know what was in the bag, only that the girl had decided for him that it was something of value.  Now I don’t if you are able to understand this, but this guy, who could be a doctor or a lawyer for all I know,  was able to transform his own emotions from boredom to appreciation over a mysterious brown bag, simply by choosing to pay attention to the words of a most likely minimum wage earning young lady.

Can you see the magic in this? Simply by assuming that there was value in the bag, she was able to, using only her words and expressions, move the middle aged man from boredom to curiosity to appreciation.

How soon will you be able to find something of value , and with only words, move somebody else to appreciation?