What would the 8 year old you think of your life?
Last night, I was loafing around my place and perusing the apps available to download on AppleTV. I found and downloaded the game "Ducktales", and immediately I was transported in energy to my basement as an 8 year old kid, with my best friends Keith and Brad, obsessed with Nintendo and video games in general. My friends and I used to play for hours - besting each other's scores, challenging and supporting each other to beat another and then another level, in these games that we would now think are silly and rudimentary. Man, the hours spent playing those video games. They were new and exciting - now a relic of the 80's, they seemed so modern and exciting at the time.
Also when I was a kid, my friends Jeff and Jon and I would play Dungeons and Dragons - both the tabletop role-playing game, and we would run around the neighborhood dressed up as warriors and villains. I was always the wizard - and I created an avatar for myself named "Marlin", who of course was Merlin's "not so well known brother". I was so serious about it!
I've always been fascinated with magic, alchemy, and things that are "unseen" - as a child, I knew that magic was real. And I knew that I had to find it. Master it. Own it. Do it. We would spend hours - days - roughhousing in cornfields, casting spells, defeating dragons. Sleepovers were spent late into the nights playing tabletop D&D, Axis and Allies, endless games of Risk. I longed to have mastery of magic in my life. I knew that one day I would be a wizard. While I'm feeling nostalgic for that time, there really was something magical and true about it all. We were expressing something inside of us that hadn't yet taken shape. That longing has never gone away. Until last night, I forgot that this was my very specific dream. I had been searching so hard for magic everywhere I could for the last 30 years, I forgot that was even what I was looking for.
As I was laying in my apartment - which I love - last night, feeling awash with all these memories and the nostalgia of it all, I looked around and discovered as if for the first time that I am surrounded by objects of interest I've collected over the years that the 8 year old me would be so excited about. Art on the walls that I have fallen in love with and bought, books on my bookshelf with titles like "creating magic" and the "wizard's compendium" and "the nature of clairvoyance" which are not fantasy novels, but non-fiction books I've devoured and know to be 100% true. I have a giant Tesla ball in my dining room. I have computers that were not even possible 10 years ago and tablets and smart phones. My friends are artists and photographers and musicians and psychics and actors. All of these things and people that are part of my daily life I take for granted, and they would seem - to the 8 year old me - like real magic. Did 8 year old me ever even imagine that I would spend 10 years studying at a school for psychics? That I'd be giving psychic readings? That I'd be living in Portland, OR? That I would have a 60" HD television? That I would get to see Hamilton the Musical with the original cast? That something as awesome as Game of Thrones would exist?
I began to realize that I live in the dream of my younger self. Every part of my life, from my hobbies and past-times, to the books I read, the games I play, the people I love, the work I do - producing and directing theater and events, giving psychic readings, energy healings, teaching meditation - is an expression of the dreams, interests, and passions I had as a child. I had not stopped to realize this truth until now. I've been so busy "succeeding" that I had not stopped to see for myself that I am literally "living the dream" - not society's dream of success, my unique dream. This is what I've been doing for the last 30 years, even when I (very often) had no idea what I was doing - I was creating this little life surrounded by my own oddities, curiosities, and interests. I have been so consumed with finding magic, I forgot that's what I was looking for, and I hadn't stopped to realize I had found it.
I hear all the time people talking about "not growing up" and "being their inner child" and something has always felt not true to about those statements to me - because it implies that you don't actually grow up or you are still that inner child. I'm not. My needs and wants and dreams are different now, as they should be as a man in middle age. I now long for creating something lasting, something real; holding space for others in a way that I both had and didn't have growing up. I've grown up and pragmatic in my approach to living. I long for new levels of intimacy and connection with people. I am no longer actively and aggressively individuating - nor am I assimilating; there something new on the horizon that I haven't quite seen yet.
But the truth in those statements is that we are all living in the dream we put our energy into as a child. If it was your dream you put your energy into, you might stop and look around, finding validation and gratitude in who you always have been and that you've taken those passions and made them real. If it was someone else's dream you put your energy into, you might look around and feel unsatisfied. There's nothing wrong with that, but your next step might be to re-connect to your dreams as a child and bring them into present time. You are creating your own future by the dreams that your energy is in right now. What are you actively putting your creativity into?
The same is true on the collective level. Our society is the dream we had a generation ago. All of those kids who spent hours and hours playing video games have created an entire online world where we live in avatars and virtual life - sharing and liking stranger's lives on Facebook and Instagram, meeting people online like the old AOL chat rooms, etc. The world reflects back to us our deepest dreams and untold secrets. The world is created by that which is within us. "As above, so below, As within, so without."
Your world is a reflection of that which you put your energy into over time. What did you put your energy into? Was it your dream? Does it make you happy? Does it feel like magic? It should.
Sometimes you have to hide your dream away from yourself and others, protect it from the harshness of life, of growing up, from the pain of those around you. But maybe it's time to stop, assess where you are and how the 8 year old you would consider your life. Is 8 year old you excited about what you're doing? Is 8 year old you enthusiastic about who you've become? Maybe it's time to stop fighting, stop achieving, stop trying to be more - and simply live where you are, in the dream that you dreamed years ago. This is it. Does it feel like magic? If yes, then great. If no - if you're feeling unsatisfied, then at least you know where your work is. There's always more, and it's never too late, but for a moment, appreciate where you are so you can chart your course forward.
Each one of you has a different set of passions, enthusiasms, and curiosities - and that's your energy - where your unique magic is. I don't know what your dreams are, they are yours. I don't know what your energy looks like or feels like. It may not have anything to do with D&D, or Wizards, or "Magic". Your dreams may be athletic, educational, entrepreneurial, creative, nurturing, supportive, psychic. Your dreams may be simple or complex. There's room for all natures of world in this best of all possible worlds.
What I do know, with certainty, is that if you bring more of your attention and energy back to yourself - repeatedly, and over time - your life will start to change to reflect the dream that you've held inside of you since the moment of your inception. Meditation is the way that I know to help with this, which is why I have a passion for teaching and sharing it. When you bring your attention back to yourself things will start to change. Slowly at first, but then quickly. And then one day, after days or months or years of feeling lost, angry, and unsatisfied you'll pause, feel "woke", take a look around and find yourself awash with the gratitude from the 8 year old you, thanking you for going all the way to the brink - over and over again - and not letting anyone take your magic away from you. Because it's right there where you left it - inside of you.