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Embracing Change: The Magic Of Letting Go

All right, everybody, the big colouring book and big multiplying wands bit has been a staple of my show for a long, long time. I hate to admit this… it’s basically been a big part of my show for the past 10 years. I’ve done everything with it, everything. To the point it’s even been adapted for my Halloween, and Christmas shows. It's a great 10 minute bit that uses 2 young volunteers from the audience. I perform a variation of it in practically every show I perform. Or, at least I used to.

Here’s the twist – you ready for it? I’m getting all set up on this stage to drop some magic and guess what I forgot? The colouring book! It’s like forgetting the punchline to your best dad joke. And it’s less than half an hour before we’re set to start the show before all hell breaks loose. I was in panic mode searching for extra tricks, thinking up routines to fill up 10 minutes. How could I possibly replace it at last minute?

Somehow, I had MacGyver-ed my way through the show — no colouring book needed. I headlined the evening and the audience were happy, the booker was ecstatic, the kids thought I was awesome! On the drive home I think to myself, I think I just broke up with my jumbo colouring book. Did I just fluke out, or could I actually drop the coloring book routine out of my show? Next show, I rebel: no colouring book. And the crowd went wild anyway.

Now, I don’t mean to bash the jumbo colouring-book but I also had to acknowledge the possibility that I was leaning on it a bit too much. My magic mishap taught me this life lesson – that getting older is fundamentally about realizing that you can’t cling to the crutches you’ve depended on for so long. The jumbo colouring book had become just that, a crutch.

Then the dark day arrived when I had to begin the show without it, that it wasn’t anywhere to be found. The cold experience of the unknown. It happened and the show was as successful without the colouring book as it was with it. Imagine that.

The lesson of this experience, then, was obvious: sometimes to find what there is still for us to do requires that we first let go. We must allow ourselves to be released from, or to grow weary of what we have been holding on to, so that, unwilling to say no to something new, we will be forced to say yes to it.

Perhaps the holiest place is the one where we are free enough of ourselves to let resistant parts relax their own hold on everything we think we know. To discover what might be available we must surrender to what might appear as unfamiliarity, or freedom from what is well-worn, to achieve the new.

And so, just as a magic show can blaze to life when someone lets go of a routine, so do new things come into existence in the broader landscape of existence for those brave enough to relinquish their hold on certain things and dare to use the crutch of self-confidence only when necessary. Live a little. Change a lot. Adapt. Improvise. You live. You learn. Such is the magic.

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