Do You Believe in Magic?
Do You Believe in Magic?
by Chris Johnson
I remember as a kid wandering through the ravine behind my school looking for signs of the fairy folk. There was a particular tree that had lost one of its main branches, and where the tree had been split in two, I saw an entrance to another world. I would stop and talk to the tree, asking for a way inside. I caught garter snakes there and jumped off a sandy hill nearby, rolling over and over ‘til I was as dizzy as I was dirty.
I can almost reach out and touch that small boy — the air quiet and still under the branches overhead — see the squirrels and chipmunks, and hear the birdsong. In my mind’s eye that ravine stretched to the far reaches of a magical land and beyond. In reality, it was a narrow split in the earth, with a small creek running through it and a smattering of trees growing on the banks that flanked it.
As I whiled away the hours, scraped knees and clumsy shoes, I saw adventure in the grasses and a hero’s sword in fallen branches. There was a timelessness in these daydream wanderings and how I managed to be home on time I’m not sure. I miss that feeling of wonder.
Today, everything is so fast-paced. In these accelerated times, things happen so quickly. I feel over-stimulated by media, computer, T.V., video games and virtual reality. I feel plugged in, and hooked up to the world around me. With all of the promotion and obsession with material goods and instant gratification, I can become numbed out. How can this zombie-like trance be healthy? Where is my wholeness? Sometimes I’m conscious of being manipulated by corporations, drug companies, government and politics and at other times I’m too tired to care.
When an event happens in the world it is immediately beamed via satellite around the globe and through the Web. As reporters stand by and set the stage, documents file in and T.V. stations present blow-by-blow action. The images are repeated and replayed so earnestly that it is impossible to think. The advent of the ‘reality show’ has raised the stakes when it comes to reporting on current events — evening newscasts are looking more and more like ‘Entertainment Tonight’ then credible news reporting.
I’m always on my way to someplace, leaving from where I hoped to get to so quickly. If it’s not enough to keep busy and enjoy variety, I can take advantage of a myriad of distractions. At Yonge and Dundas, our very own ‘Times Square’ here in T.O., I can feast upon the latest in hair care, celebrity endorsement, music and movies served up bigger than life. There is streaming news broadcasted on the TTC and a patchwork of billboard size ads ‘cling-wrapped’ to the walls and walkways. I have an I-Pod and can even read a book while I bop to tunes convincing myself I’m multitasking. The free newspapers strewn along the subway car will satisfy my appetite for news of the world, seeing as the article is just long enough to get me to the next stop or to allow me to surf my play list for another three-minute moment.
Today is all about the sound bite, the headline, the snapshot. Music videos and the 30-second commercial are one and the same, with product endorsement a prominent feature appearing right after a sexy wink and come hither innuendo. It whittles away at my attention span and induces cravings for the latest exercise guru or plastic surgeon.
There is an element of spiritual bankruptcy inherent in the world today. As I search for happiness in the external world, I can further disconnect from Source and feel empty inside. One definition of addiction is a craving for an experience or object to make you feel all right. It is the craving for something other than self. I am so busy consuming that there is no time to feel. What kind of world do I want to buy into? Do I want to live my life feeling fear, anxiety and anger? Or do I want a feeling of peace, a sense of cooperation, recognition there is a fair distribution of wealth, resources and ideas? I am never truly disconnected from spirit but at times I must remind myself to reach out by looking inward.
That boy — big eyes and wiry hair, holds a secret I cannot forget. There is magic in the world and all around us wild things roam. The woods and nature in general will always hold a space for that part of me that danced in fairy rings but all things magical have a price. It seems that as I grew to adulthood, the belief in magic I held so naturally as a kid, grew smaller and buried itself inside me. I’m like one of the cardboard boxes I decorated and drew pictures on, in which I stashed my childhood toys. It is time for me to awaken the magical child within.
One way to reconnect with my inner child is to allow memories and reflections of my personal history to become conscious - watching family videos, dragging out photo albums or guided meditation all help establish a healthy report with my ‘Little’.
The Total Self program at Transformational Arts College gives students the opportunity to heal old wounds and develop a connection with their own core essence, part of which is the inner child. This relationship acts as the foundation from which personal empowerment springs. Transformation begins with healing emotional blocks and issues counter to what moves and inspires them on this spiritual/emotional journey.
Total Self course #4, The Path of Emotional Healing and #8, Cycles of Life: From Child to Adult both facilitate an awakening of the relationship between our adult self and inner child. Many of the other modules of the Total Self program reconnect us to our magical child and the miraculous energies of the universe available to us.
Seeing the world through the eyes of my inner child I am humbled by the simplicity of my needs and amazed at the world and its marvels. Taking the time to enjoy my own company and truly listen for that guiding voice within is paramount. Dialoguing with my inner child and allowing him to play and laugh is truly healing and restores my “everything is gonna be alright” sense of the world.
Chris Johnson, R.I.H.R., is a facilitator of the Total Self and Spiritual Psychotherapy programs. He is a Psychotherapist for the College's Counselling Clinic and an Intensive facilitator. Chris is a graduate of Spiritual Psychotherapy, Spiritual Director and Body Psychotherapy Programs. He maintains a private practice in Toronto.