I believe that you and I are not as different as we believe, I believe that at an inner level, you and I have all the skills, wisdom and power that we need to make changes to our lives. To live congruently with ourselves, to live an authentic life in balance with ourselves and our needs. We have an innate calling to become all that we already are, ourselves made perfect. I also believe that when we choose to make those changes that are in alignment with our true self, be it by ourselves, with the support of another or in groups that we witness something that is both profound, beautiful and transformative. At that moment of change, something happens, that something I call magic.
I can hand on heart say I believe in magic. But let me expand upon this, how I come to this belief and what I mean by this.
From early on in my life I have always had a fascination with magic, the mind and the idea of reality. By the age of eleven I found myself reading books on hypnosis, psychology, spirituality and esoteric subjects such as shamanism & ritual. I had an interest in the work of secret societies and a fascination with belief. I first hypnotised someone in junior school, the second time at senior school at about age 12, this occasion got me into a little trouble, who would have thought teachers believed in spells? As time moves on I started to explore meditation, self hypnosis expanding my knowledge and experience, willing to explore many different areas. I am not going to go into lots of detail, that is a conversation we can have when we meet some time. I merely tell you this so as to show you that these areas of study have been a part of the majority of my life. Not, as my mother had thought, "just a passing phase that I would grow out of."
I spent a number of years working with children with behavioral issues. During this time I was introduced to the work of Psychologist Carl Rogers. Forgive me a digression. Have you ever looked at the underlying purpose of the world of real magic? From secret societies to the founders of the modern day witchcraft movements all were engaged with what was known as the "The Great Work." Put simply, a journey of self discovery upon which the soul aim is to become the very best expression of yourself possible. Also to be found in yoga and the underpinning of religion. In the writings of Rogers I discovered the core belief that all life has at its most basic fundamental level the call to grow, to become the very best it can be, mirroring the age old pursuit of humanity. In eastern spirituality this would be called self-realisation, in the western world and therapeutic world this is known as self-actualisation. The journey to becoming a fully functioning human being. In discovering this it felt that all belief, practice, religion etc had at its goal this guiding principal, about being the very best that we can be. Over millennia the approach to this personal development was de-mystified, dumbed down. Yet the process stays the same, self discovery leading to self transformation. At the end of the day there is little difference between the process of ritual and drama therapy. The acting out of certain ideas and principles to increase understanding of the meaning and purpose of beliefs, ideas and a given reality.
I trained as a person centered counselor. For me one of the most intriguing statements and driving factors has been from Carl Rogers reflecting upon his work,
" I am compelled to believe that I, like many others, have underestimated the importance of this mystical, spiritual dimension. "
I had seen the beauty of the person centered approach in action. Not just in the therapy room, but in groups, retreats and workshops. I saw for the first time what I chose to call real magic. That when given the right circumstance, when valued as an individual a person can find within all the resources that they need, all the possibilities to change, to become more than they thought they could. That is the moment of magic, that is the moment where we connect to something more than our own concept of being human, a personal alchemy, transforming the individual. It is a moment of beauty, it has a profound grace to it where, real healing and growth occurs. At the end of the day whether you choose to call it change, healing, growth or magic does not really matter, what matters most is it is real, it can be experienced, you and I can experience those moments of transformative growth.
By the time I was training as a counselor I also found myself running retreats all over the UK and into Europe. Personal and spiritual development weekends drawing on techniques ranging from meditation, group discussions to utilising shamanic techniques and ritual drama to lead people to realisations and profound moments of change. At the this moment in time, looking at myself, looking at how I can bring change and transformation to others, I stopped. I got to the end of my Counseling Diploma and became a magician. Sleight of hand, mind reading and card tricks. It was at this part of the journey that hypnosis also re-emerged. I had gone from helping others create those magical moments of realisation and change to creating moments of magic that at the heart were performance trickery. On the other hand as with anything there is always a method that leads to the moment of magic. Be it therapeutically, transformationally or a moment of reality challenging performance.
Magic as a profession has been very good to me. I have met amazing people, performed for the famous been invited to some wonderful locations. Yet at the back of mind there was always something that was missing. To move myself forward I decided to seek a mentor. For any magicians out there I would offer a couple of words of advice. Firstly, when looking to develop your magic/ performance and if you want to create something different other magicians are not always the best place to go. They think like magicians, so you will only get more magician ideas. Step outside and seek guidance from performers from other disciplines, that way you may hit on that one idea that really makes you stand out from the crows. Secondly, always be careful what you wish for.
I decided to go and see Jonathan Chase (https://jonathanchase.com), I had been studying hypnosis more and more and felt that this was something that I could draw on, uniting it with my magic. I was asked why I wanted mentoring. As well as the hypnosis training I told John that I loved performing but something was missing, like there was something else I am meant to be doing and I wanted to uncover what it was. I did, and it was not magic.
Since then I have submerged myself in hypnotic learning, at the same exploring the parallels between modern ideas about mind, reality and human development with ancient systems of mind and belief. The Dalai Lama in an interview once said that the west had developed a science of the physical world and the East had developed the science of the mind and human potential.
What makes you come alive? What things do you do in your life that even the thought of fills you with energy and excitement? Really give it some thought and then when you realise what it is, do more of it. In some ways I feel like John deconstructed me and rebuilt me with a new vision. Reflecting that I had as much enthusiasm about magic as someone going to the day job, well it was, was it not? Yet when I talked about helping people on their personal and spiritual journeys, talked about the retreats and workshops that I used to run, something was ignited in me. I left with what at the time was quite a scary thought. That after 15 years of performing, it was not what I was meant to be doing. To step back into development and transformation work with people would be a huge step, lots of work on myself, lots of work on creating a brand new direction. I resisted the idea on and off for several months, but at the back of mind, somewhere within the depths of my being I knew this to be right.
You see for me, and that is the only way it can ever be. When you step into that communion with another human being. Step into that place that says, I believe in you, you can be more than you believe you can, something shifts. I have felt that shift many times before. In counseling sessions with clients, in humbling moments of connection at retreats and when working hypnotically with people. Carl Rogers talks about the almost mystical element that appears when two people are communicating at that deeper level where change is facilitated. That place is where real magic occurs, that is the moment where lives are changed.
In the following weeks, months years I wish to share with you my own thoughts on personal transformation, healing and growth. My ideas around hypnosis, change work and the beautiful moment that I call magic. It would be great to hear your thoughts and ideas as well either via the website or you can find me on
Until next time, be the magic....