How magic can help you rediscover what makes you happy
I begin my show by feeling what my participants feel. While empathy is an important part of interacting with others and establishing rapport, it turns out that there are good philosophical reasons to re-conceptualize feelings, not as private emotional states, but as threads that connect us together—connections that underlie language and community.
Next, I remember their past. Now, this sounds strange, but there are actually very good reasons to think that memory is a type of perception. I give a few of these reasons, but then demonstrate what it looks like. In this part, the focus shifts from what a participant is feeling now, to “I know where you are coming from.” This, is a deeper type of connection. This part can be therapeutic. It can help one let go of memories that are holding you back. In some cases, it allows for a healthy emotional release. In others, it is a fond trip down memory lane. We end with the intention to let go of the things that hold us back and to embrace in our hearts the memories that motivate and enliven us.
The final phase goes beyond what normally happens in a magic or mentalism show—just telling someone something that they already know. In this part, I strive to tell participants something about themselves that they don’t know. I intend for this to be liberating. It can help get you out of a rut that you didn’t even realize that you were in. The method that I have found to do this relies upon some traditional folk-methods regarding symbols and the meaning that we ascribe to them. This is not fortunetelling, but a playful technique designed to provide insight into your forgotten potential. The best outcome occurs when a participant has an “ah ha” moment. The most powerful ones are when someone realizes that they left behind an ambition that once inspired them and, they are reminded that they still have time to do what makes them happy.
I have had two such turning points in my life. One was when I decided to go to graduate school and study philosophy and the other was when I recalled my love of performing magic. This show combines these two to create an atmosphere where participants are encouraged to be open, to heal, and to dream again.