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Christmas Eve, 2016

A difficult year draws to a close.

Setting religion aside, the next few days are, to me, the most holy. A time for gathering, reflecting, giving (hopefully of self) and uplifting. It should be, anyway. A boy can still dream, even at fifty-one.
A day of forgiveness, laughter and redemption.
But mostly … MOSTLY … a day of Love and Hope.
I still have my faith, as abstract as it may seem.
And my Hope is … that there is Love where You are.

Merry Christmas.
The best of days to ALL of You.

Mr. h

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Failure is Not an Option

“It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.” ~ C.S. Lewis

 

My Friend, I have some news to share: You are going to fail.

That sounds kind of harsh, but I know you want the truth from me.
It’s a part of the journey we are on. Gird yourself and prepare: it will come along.

Failure will happen to you.

In following  your road, you will make some mistakes along the way, in fact you need too. Some really big ones.

This is how you grow. There can be no creation or growth without some pain. It will shape you, mold you. Like refining silver, you have to purge the impurities. It’s going to be hard, but it’s the only way.

To paraphrase the movie ‘Apollo 13’, ”Failure is not an option.” That’s very true, failure is not optional … in fact, it’s a necessity. Don’t fear failure. Since I’m quoting art, how about this one: “Fear is the little death.” (Dune) To fear failure is to lose the battle before beginning it. Fear tells us to keep ourselves bottled up and protected. It tells us to play it safe. It warns of impending failure. Fear lies to us, deceives us into thinking that if we fail, our dreams are over.

Sorry. It’s just not true.

Failure Brings You Closer to Your Goal

Here’s the truth: Failure helps you succeed. It shows you what not to do or when something doesn’t work. It is the fertilizer for experience. In my career I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded, if you want to keep a record. I’ve been fired, mocked and even booed off stage more than once. I’ve had my phone, my lights and my water cut off. I’ve had my car repossessed and evicted from my home. If i hadn’t been to the bottom, I sincerely couldn’t be as grateful as I am. I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this to you.

I’ve been robbed, protested, preached against, assaulted. I’ve been cheated, swindled and lied to. I could fill a book with promises that have not been kept. Show biz. Because of my faith, I can say that I’ve forgiven all of these. I believe in the greatness of the human spirit. I’ve failed, and I’ve kept on down the road.

Failure is the potential of success, not yet fully realized.

So Now What?

You need to keep dreaming. Keep moving down your road. What we have is this moment; so treasure what it holds. Keep breathing.

When you stop dreaming, you become afraid. You get paralyzed, and that is where you really fail.

You will mess up. You will fall down. On your face. Hard. It will hurt.

“The righteous man falls seven times but rises again.”

Not once, not twice — but seven times. Getting back up produces character and character produces hope.

With failure comes perseverance. With perseverance comes success.

Keep failing, keep learning. Failing means you’re doing. And if you are doing … you’re growing.

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Cruel Serendipity

“Please tell me how you did that.”

I hear this more than any other audience utterance. I suspect more and more, as my career in this wonderful craft continues, that people want to believe that, at least at some level, what I’m doing is real. Real magic, supernatural power. They long to have faith in something greater than themselves. This is one more reason not to tell them: exposure of the work would only spoil the fantasy. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. I’ve had people believe so strongly that they attribute my skill to being ‘in league with Lucifer’. Yes, in 2016. Some demon at my command … finding lost cards.

I am convinced that most magicians, the ‘buy the latest fad’ group, especially, are looking for real magic also. The one trick that will solidify their reputation and shoot their career into the ‘big time’. The big secret is … it doesn’t exist. There’s not an effect or a routine that will create real magic.

But real magic DOES exist.

It happens in the feeling, love and hope you leave with someone. If you are an entertainer, you are giving relief to the weary world, some of whom may just be barely getting by, longing for love and hope … and here you are, with your gift.

Sometimes, the situation is more dire.
I was busking in uptown Charlotte on a recent Saturday night. There was a game happening at the arena and several good sized events, so the crowds were happy and large. I was feeling great. About 10PM a woman came up the sidewalk with three children in tow. The oldest of these was about seven. The woman was very clearly under the influence of something. She hustled the kids up to my table and told them to watch my show, then sat down on the sidewalk and promptly went to sleep.
I couldn’t wake her. Security couldn’t wake her. Meanwhile, all I can think to do is entertain the children, keep them distracted. An ambulance came, and mom got help … I pulled cards and coins out of little ears and didn’t panic. The kids went with the police, mom went with the ambulance.

I stood there with a broken heart and cursed the universe. I cried and felt sorry.

Later I realized the truth and the magic of this. I was there at just the right time. I had a specific set of skills that helped those children deal with a horrific situation. I was precisely where I was supposed to be at just the right time. I could ‘what if’ for hours, but because I was there, I made a difference. Did I save a life? Did I save four lives? I don’t know – what is important is: I was there and I gave love, hope and a measure of peace where there was none. That’s real magic. That’s stone into bread.

You have within you the seeds of hope and love. Have them ready, be generous with them. Fly your flag and use your gifts.

Make Magic Happen.

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intermission

*a note to myself (and anyone listening) about emotional instability, seeking professional help and the unequaled gift of loving friends.

Progress isn’t a race to the mountain top, so give yourself permission to go as slowly as you need to.

You’re doing the best you can — which is pretty damn amazing. You’re doing great, I promise.”

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On My Death

A casually morbid post. Nobody panic: I’m not depressed or particularly sad at the moment. There’s just some thoughts rummaging around and … well, this is what I do.

I’m at the jumping off point of an adventure. New Orleans for the weekend, performing for the art gallery folks, then off to the Magic Castle for a week and finally FISM. After that … well, we’ll see. NOLA, Hollywood, Italy. I’m happy and excited to share my show, my vision. I have no illusion about winning, but that’s really something I want to write about separately.

Today I’m thinking about death. The finality and the non-finality. This may seem random, because it is.

I’d really like a broken wand ceremony. And I’d really like for my friend Tony Miller to execute it at CRF. My friends and extended family there have provided a great deal of magic in my life and I think the setting is appropriate.

In that death is a genuine physical ending … do as you will with my remains. In my whimsy, I would ask to be cremated and have my ashes strewn into the wind and surf near what used to be Scotch Bonnet pier on Topsail Island in North Carolina. My childhood, my ‘coming of age’ and the realization of who I am all happened there. There’s real magic in that place.

In that death is a great vast unknown … I hope that my consciousness continues, that I get to explore new truths. Who knows?

Don’t mourn me. Celebrate what we had. I did my best to spread joy and love. At times I failed utterly, usually to the people I’m closest to. Loving me has meant having to share me with the world, and that can be real hell.

Enough with the maudlin. I’ve got some decades left to live, in theory, and I’m going to continue to strive for more: more excellence in my art, more love in my life and more joy in my soul.

I’ll share these things with you.

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Born a Rebel.

historical-jesus

Your temples are full of gold and pride.
Come outside, come out to the sweltering heat and the bitter cold.
To the rain, the mud and the dirty places.
Let us preach to each other in the wilderness.

Befriend the whores and the thieves.
Listen to the liars and the artists. (They are one and the same)
Share your dreams and accept gifts of flowers and gloves.
Give your love to all, at least as much as you are able.

Make wine from water. Be sure to drink from your neighbor’s offered cup, and share yours with the man who has no cup of his own. Love freely.

I’m a heathen and a pagan. I’m a dreamer living in my own dream. I don’t believe in your god. I’m not sorry about that, anymore.
I am solely on the side of Love. And the heart of the message from the Rebel.

Love one another.

And maybe you’ll read this and think I’m just waving my flag.

… or you could Love. Like the Rebel Jesus.

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More (Much more) on This, Later

by London Reese TheArtofLondon.com

by London Reese
TheArtofLondon.com

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