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My Adventures as a Sorcerer's Apprentice
Lead with your imagination.. and the world will follow

by Jeff Salz

"There is no such thing as magic," said Eduardo Calderon. He lifted a beefy hand and tapped his forehead. "It is all right here." With a laugh, he turned and walked away.

I had come to the tiny fishing village of Las Delicias, Peru a month earlier to study with one of the greatest shaman healers of our time. During those weeks, I discovered that the efficacy of Eduardo's work was unquestionable. Every day a stream of healthy, satisfied customers bearing thank you gifts appeared at the door of the cement-block shack that was his home. His visitors had been cured of a variety of ailments - from the evil eye and misfortune in love to leukemia and lymphoma. Even filmmakers from the Harvard Medical School appeared to capture Eduardo in action.

Yet, toward the end of my sorcerer's apprenticeship it dawned on me that the storm of folks who schooled and swarmed daily around this enigmatic pot-bellied, mischievous-eyed fisherman seemed to be missing the boat. Magic wasn't what Eduardo did. Magic was what Eduardo was.

With his heavy-set, powerful physique and long-black pony-tail, he looked more like a Hell's Angel than one sent from heaven. No casual glance could ever discern that Eduardo had studied for the priesthood before dedicating years as a student at the School of Fine Arts in Lima. In fact, at various times Eduardo had made a living as a fisherman, businessman, professional weightlifter (representing Peru in international competitions), stevedore and sculptor. He was a linguist, black belt in judo, a poet, and a certified nurse. But most of all Eduardo was a student of human nature, an intellectual and psychologist who understood the workings of the mind. It seemed to me that my host wasn't super human, but a superb human; an individual who had risen so high above the limitations of culture, class and geography that he seemed to possess "magical" traits that, with enough hard work and inspired self-discipline could, conceivably, belong to many of us.

These thoughts were confirmed one afternoon as we sat in the shade of his veranda escaping the stifling mid-day heat. I noticed how his casual air would stiffen into a near-theatrical formality as an ex-patient approached to offer thanks for the healing he had experienced in Eduardo's presence. I questioned him about the change in his demeanor and he replied: "When it comes to working magic, I need to have my visitors believe in me enough for me to be able to get them to believe in themselves." Then, lowering his voice to a near whisper he delivered a sly wink: "The truth is: they do all the work."

The lesson is this: to be a shaman, you've got to be a showman. To work magic you must engage the power of the imagination. Yours. Theirs. I have seen this principle at work in the lives of successful people countless times. A "shamanic leader" helps others to bring out the best they've got by holding up a bold and shining vision of what that might be. The "shamanic problem solver" imagines how the world might be and then finds ways to make it so. The shaman brings out the best in the world around her by being the best she can be in the world within her.

That Yankee by the pond, Henry David Thoreau, wrote nearly a century and half ago: If you have built castles in the air.that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them. The Way of Adventure insists we do both. A castle built in a parking lot is just another road-show attraction. A castle built in the air is mere fantasy. In the construction work, magic and adventure merge.

Doing what others consider impossible is how adventurers lead. Doing the impossible is why leaders are always adventurers. Doing the impossible is the only way to guarantee personal and organizational success in today's wildly changing times. It is the way of magic. It is the way of adventure. As we push past the known into the unknown, proving the skeptics and cynics wrong by turning the impossible into the possible, magic and adventure become our daily fare.

Want to work some magic? Just ask yourself: What is the dream that, through dedication and steady effort do I most want to turn into reality? What steps can I take today to begin the process?

Abracadabra.. Now take those initial steps and look around. See? You are well on your way!

Copyright Jeff Salz. All Rights Reserved.

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