This month, Jeff’s magic teacher and the Dean of the Magic and Mystery School writes to us about his dreams and magical formulas for life and magic.
A Muse letter from Eugene Burger:
“The first step in following our dreams is waking up.”
Hello everyone, this is Eugene Burger. The words I have quoted above came to me in Amsterdam this past spring when Jeff McBride and I were conducting our Master Class. We all have dreams, but to make them a reality we really do need to wake up and put them in practice.
Although I live in Chicago, I spend a considerable time of the year in Las Vegas where I have my own room in Jeff’s House of Mystery.
The first thing I do each day is come downstairs and have coffee with Jeff and Abbi and we share our dreams from the night before. Jeff keeps extensive dreams journals as does Abbi and it’s fascinating to see how sometimes the images and symbols in dreams find their place in our performances, shows, and even our teaching workshops. Do you keep a dream journal? Do you pay attention to your dreams? If you never have, you might find it a surprisingly rewarding experience.
I love visiting Las Vegas. Not only because I have many magic friends here, but because I love teaching magic with Jeff and Tobias. In fact, we are in the middle of a Master Class as I write these words. Last night, we took the class to see the Lance Burton show and Lance kindly invited the entire class back to his dressing room after the show for a pizza party, where he answered many questions from the students.
Speaking of dreams, Lance shared the story behind the creation of his world famous Double Levitation. On stage, he tells the audience the inspiration for the effect began in a dream, in fact it did. Lance told our students that each night before he went to sleep, he would visualize the Floating Lady illusion to the Pink Floyd song “Comfortably Numb”. After years of this creative visualization technique, he brought his dream into reality. Dreams do come true and they take a lot of work and thought and patience. That’s what it takes to become one of the great magicians of our age.
Today, we saw the Mac King Show and Mac also met with the class and parents and families between his shows. He shared some delightful stories of things that had gone wrong during his career. When these “terrible” things happened to Mac during his performances, they weren’t funny at all, but time and distance has turned the lead of tragedy into the gold of humor. As Jeff would say, “Tragedy plus time equals comedy.” This is a formula for creativity.
Have you ever had an embarrassing thing happen to you during one of your magical performances? I suspect you have. All of us have and we can either beat ourselves up and become very negative about these “horrible” situations or we can learn from them – and grow. As Channing Pollock once said to me, “Eugene, you can judge a magician by how well they cover their mistakes”. I’ve always remembered this because he didn’t say we could judge a magician by their successes or by their “perfection.” Channing was much more realistic. He wisely understood that we all make mistakes and that part of the art of magic is learning to deal with them creatively. This reminds me of something Gurdjieff said: We can’t always change what happens to us, but we can change how we respond.
It really is wonderful that Lance, Mac, and the late, great Channing Pollock have supported Jeff and my teaching by passing on their wisdom to our students.
Well it’s getting late now, and I really should go to bed so I’m alert for tomorrow’s class. Perhaps I’ll have a new dream of magic.
Good night and sweet dreams.