The seduction of magic

Special skills (real and imagined) are very attractive. The promise of learning advanced sexual alchemy, shooting Reiki chi from your fingers like a benevolent Yoda, having the ninja death touch or the psychic skills to see what mere mortals cannot – and a host of other things – are seductive.

People can make a lot of money offering such skills, as there’s a huge appetite for them. In my own field, I could make way more money this way.

What I notice in myself though is the urge to learn such skills reeks of ego: the urge to be special, to impress and control others, to be unique. It’s a natural, childish urge to be noteworthy and have power over others … to use magic to be safe and grand. Who doesn’t want to be Harry Potter or Luke Skywalker? But I want to make a case for inclining oneself to the skills of a normal human adult. Simply being competent is challenge enough for a lifetime. This takes a certain honesty and humility.

My real learning edge is things like only eating when hungry and resting when I’m tired. Being nice to customer service people. Listening to my wife. Showing up to work and doing the job well. This is enough.

Not so sexy. Not so good for impressing people … but the real deal. Ordinary competence is the real magic.


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3 thoughts on “The seduction of magic”

  1. Fausta Rendall Lima

    Hi, i make my life as a healer. I read your reflection and wanted to address some of your sentences.

    Personally i became a professional healer after looking for information about what i felt, saw and experienced as a person and a personal trainer and massage therapist, that did not fit into the thought process i defended and learned from.

    I ran into your website advised by a colleague with whom i work teaching future personal trainers and fitness instructors what they need to learn for their professional life and to be present/embodied.

    What i saw from your site was quite inspiring and i felt glad that there are more people focusing in the subject of embodiment/presence with whom eventually sharing and brainstorming would be possible.

    I feel a bit disappointed as i read your piece, thus there is no space for a person like me with such embodied skills, to also be considered just… the real deal.

    Thank you for reading.


    Fausta Rendall

    1. Paul Marie-Hughes

      If you make your life as a healer then you are already considered the real deal by the people that come to you – they trust you/they would get results and I imagine not have to come back too often – if at all. The piece is written in the 1st person mainly and balanced when it talks about ‘people’. We should share in the washing up whether we eat raw from the garden or not. Every healer is an enabler first and last.

  2. Aha! Just came across this old post, and loved it. There are makers of magic, few and far between – Joseph Riggio springs to mind – but far more of us are ordinary, if joyfully ordinary. Behaving in the ways we see as good in the daily round – when that becomes ordinary, life will be extraordinary.

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