The World Needs Your Magic

Dr. Larry Hass
Dean of the Magic & Mystery School

“The future hasn’t happened yet….”                                                  —Annie Lennox

I am writing this Museletter on March 25, 2020. I provide the date because the circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic are changing by the day, if not the hour. My hope is to share some thoughts that will still be helpful when they arrive.

First and foremost, I want to wish you and your loved ones the very best at this terribly difficult time. Our Magic & Mystery School community extends around the world, and on behalf of the whole team, our hearts go out to you.

With this in mind and through the generosity of our paying members, for the next two months we are making our weekly online program Mystery School Mondayfree and open to all.

Our goal for the show is to create a no sales, no hype, real-time, interactive landing place for magicians and artists during these difficult days. We will have some news of the day from Jeff, Tobias, Dr. Ricardo Rosenkranz, and me, plus magic trick teaching and learning, and other content we hope will keep you smiling and inspired. At the end, we will also open a “study hall” for you to share your thoughts, insights, and feelings with us. Mystery School Monday is held every Monday at 7:00 p.m. pacific time. To access the classroom for the next two months, please use this link, which will not change: (If you go there before the meeting starts, you’ll see a note asking you to “Please wait for the host to start the meeting.” We’ll do that about 15 minutes before it starts.)

In addition to that information, I want to share some of the thoughts and strategies I have been using during these days of social separation. I do not intend them to be “advice” really, because everyone’s personal circumstances are so variable these days. But I hope some of my “notes to self”—my personal maxims for well-being—might be applicable to you. Here are some things I am reminding myself to do:

1. Give love and support to the “angels” among us. By that, I mean the nurses and doctors—and all the health care professionals—who are putting themselves at risk for the greater good. I also mean everyone who is keeping the food chain going, essential supplies coming, and the garbage picked up. I mean the police officers, fire-fighters, mail carriers, and delivery people, among so many others, who continue working to assist others. I believe in angels!

2. Hone my craft. I recognize the positive feelings and energy that come from setting small goals every day and achieving them. And there is a little extra “kick” that comes from working on my magic. That is, working mindfully on my sleights, rehearsing beloved routines, and creating and curating new routines for our students.

3. Remember the distinction between short-term and long-term. It is sometimes tempting to feel fearful and overwhelmed by the changes I am experiencing these days. But as other global crises have proven, there is a difference between the dramatic short-term effects and the “new normal” that will arrive on the other side of the wave. With magic, for example, in the short term I am working hard on what I call “no-touch magic”—magic that doesn’t require borrowing anything or having my audiences touch anything. I have joyfully discovered this last week that there is a lot of that in our literature, including magic that can be performed over the telephone and internet. At the same time, I am not abandoning my “high-touch magic,” because I know at some point the wave will go out, and my audiences will be hungry for contact.

4. Guard my mental health. Of course we are all focused on physical health, but I have found it important to: a) stay connected with reputable news sources, b) yet limit my media intake, c) stay connected with loved ones, d) get outside every day and, if possible, exercise, and e) use the well-known “APPLE” model for dealing with fear or anxiety. That is, Acknowledge the feeling, Pause (without acting), Pull Back from the urge of it, gently Let Go of it, and Explore positive things happening right here and now.

5. And finally, remember that the world needs magic right now, and it does and will need our magic. Of course, magic is diverting and entertaining. But it is also more than that. Every time we, as magicians, create an astonishing experience of the impossible, the subtext is that there is more going on in this world than we know, more going on than we expect. Each little “miracle” is a reminder that this world is a surprising place, that through art, the impossible is possible. Which feels great. I remind myself that magic isn’t merely superfluous entertainment or a way to make money. It is the art form I am called to perform that opens up a space for hope and the profound pleasure of surprise. People need this now—and they will need it on the other side of the wave. I am trying to stay ready!

Again, I wish you and yours the very best. Please stay in touch with us at the Magic & Mystery School.  

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