The magic in the rabbit hole
Got me thinking about where I’m at right now.
And where I was a year ago.
Where I want to be a year from now.
Got me feeling like, Alice, a wise young lady who also has no idea what’s going on and tends to be a bit silly.
I am trying to use the opportunity to be more mindful. More aware. In a subtle way. Trying to watch the patterns as they transpire around me. Again and again and again.
It can be hard to pause long enough, be mindful long enough, to see the patterns in just our daily habits. Heck even minute to minute sometimes!
How could we possibly see the patterns over the years?
When a whole year has gone by it’s both hard to feel like anything is different or like anything is the same.
I’m back to the same questions. The same old unsolved puzzle that I put back into the box last year. The questions that stick in me like fishhooks:
What am I doing?
Why am I doing this?
What is the point?
What is this all for?
Who am I?
It would be a straight up lie to say I know the answers to any of those questions. I didn’t a year ago and if the trajectory continues, looks like I’ma show up empty handed a year from now, too. At the very least, late.
But, despite not having any of the answers I seem to want, something is happening.
Even though I don’t ‘know what I’m doing,’ I still feel like I’m getting better at it. Refining. Making more informed decisions, based on data I’ve collected over the year(s).
Getting to know ME on new levels.
I’m *trying* to avoid repeating the same mistakes over and over.
I’m *trying* to set intentions and veer towards them.
I’m *trying* to let go of the idea that I’ll ever get the answers to any of my questions.
Because I’m coming to find that the #magic is in the unravelling of the story, in falling down the rabbit hole seemingly perpetually running late.
The best moments of this past year have been the times where I’ve surprised myself.
Or better said, where life has surprised me.
The magic comes when I stop seeking answers. When I stop *trying* so damn hard and just allow. When I paint the roses red and let the paint drip all over the floor.
The best moments of this past year are magical and surprising because - shockingly- I could never have predicted them. I couldn’t have dreamed them in my wildest imagination last year on my birthday, when I was ‘setting goals’ ‘creating intentions’ ‘reflecting on the patterns,’ wondering ‘Who am I?’
So this year’s birthday realization is that the magic is the unknown part. That getting closer to the answers is like learning the secret to a magic trick. Like learning the contents of a ‘Drink Me’ via: once you know it, it’s no longer fun.
Magic is when your favorite artist who is now deceased is somehow still coming out with new music. And in life’s twisted ironic ways, he sings, ‘Everybody live a little, everybody die. But that’s life.’
Magic is using the word silly so much that it has somehow replaced a whole lot of other words in my vocabulary (and thoughts) for better and worse. So much nonsense comes out sometimes it’s like Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Now most things I do are ‘silly’ instead of ‘so fucking annoying,’ ‘shitty,’ or ‘wtf is wrong with you.’
The magic is in noticing that a year ago I wasn’t so silly, or maybe I was and I just didn’t define myself as so.
Magic is realizing I’m not taking everything so damn seriously. Which is good in a world where ‘we’re all mad here.’
Magic is repeatedly coming back to these questions, and finding no answers, just more questions. The rabbit hole gets deeper.
It’s looking back to a blog I posted last year around this time that is pointedly related to all of the same bullshit (silly?!) questions I don’t have answers too. And looking back at MY OWN SILLY QUESTIONS and being inspired to question more still.
It’s like the Dalai Lama says, ‘ Remember sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.’
Somehow all the ridiculous seeking. All the silly goddamn questions that I myself have already asked, are part of the unfolding of the mystery now.
And since I can’t seem to find any answers to these questions (or make it on time to tea parties,) and who I am keeps changing, I’ve started to question the magic itself.
Got me feeling like Alice in a big old Wonderland.
What IS magic? How can we measure it? Where does it come from and why does it happen?
But, just like Alice, when I try, when I really try to break it down into the simplest parts. When I try to approach the magical things with a scientific method to collect data, to understand, the actual magical content disappears. It’s elusive. It’s like falling down a dark rabbit hole to find a caterpillar smoking (opium?) and talking in confused dream like phrases that amount to mostly nonsense anyway.
When you try to take the magic out of the larger context, you lose out on the perspective. When you try to figure out what's going on, and get to the bottom of it, you fall and fall and fall and fall until you crash onto a table with a million little vials, each labeled ‘drink me.’
When we figure out the secret to a magic trick, it just becomes mechanical.
Instead of filling us with enthusiasm, passion, intrigue, we now know how the little cogs fit into the bigger wheels, so we lose interest. Toss them atop the pile of other empty vials that offered no real clues.
Silly Nene, if you get the secret to the magic trick, it’s no longer magic.
All we can really do, if we want to get closer to the magic, closer to answers to the questions like ‘Who are You,’ is to enjoy the magic as it spirals around. Willingly jump down the rabbit hole. Enjoy the unknown and the unfolding. Enjoy the tiny vials of ‘Drink Me’ and ‘Eat Me’ and the different adventures that present themselves in what seems like no particular order. Say hello to Walrus and The Carpenter and learn how to play the antiquated but peculiarly silly Game of Croquet.
We can only just enjoy putting together the miscellaneously collected pieces that present themselves in our lives, on a constantly revolving, everchanging basis, and laugh at the funny incomplete puzzle they make.
No need to lay claim or try to carve the inklings of answers into stone, or complete the puzzle, even. Just notice the sun and moon continue to rise. And the seasons change. And time goes on. Constant transformation. The rabbit hole never ends.
During all this passing of time the moon and sun are going around the earth. The earth around the sun. The sun around everything else. Everyday and every month and every year. There’s consistency, patterns, routine.
And the answer to the question, ‘Who are You,’ seems to be about how easily you allow the magic to exist without trying to define it, to grasp for it. Without trying to interrupt the puzzling sensations for the sake of ‘figuring them out.’
It seems to be about how willing to jump into the rabbit hole you are.
How willing to keep falling you are.
How many tiny vials you are willing to taste.
Magic is having profound respect and awe, and a sense of humor about the fact that NOBODY has any god damned idea what they are doing. And anybody who tells you they do, you should promptly run away from because they tend to be the Queen of Hearts type, who might ‘off with your head.’
It’s seeing that Thursdays really are the best day of the week if for nothing more than the anticipation they bring and awe and wonder of what’s to come. It’s wondering ‘which way I ought to go.’ And accepting that that depends on where you want to get to.
And of course, since we don’t know where that is, it really doesn’t matter which way you go.
And the more we try to find the way out of this rabbit hole, instead of accepting the mystery and confusion and opium smoke, the more frustrated we become, the further we are from understanding it.
Who are You? is a lot about how we handle the unknown.
How we handle the fact that ‘magic,’ for all of its good and bad, like ‘sillyness,’ is part of the experience.
And sometimes the best thing we can do is sit back and watch the O-rings blow in our face from a stoned blue caterpillar and be amused by the way he asks us:
Who are YOU?