Finding magic after being the magician's assistant.

I think I may know a little too much about love.

When I say “love” in this context, you should know I’m talking about something very specific.  Perhaps I should have said “falling in love” or “romantic love” or “infatuation.”

If we’re talking about a greater kind of love–like unconditional love–I can confidently assert my near-total ignorance.

But the other kind, the kind that makes Hollywood a lot of money and makes teenagers do really stupid things like stand outside a girl’s window holding a boom box blasting Peter Gabriel over their heads?

I know way too much about that.

I know about the role dopamine plays in creating a state that’s not unlike inebriation.

I know the technical elements that, when they’re in play, reliably trigger the state.

I know what will prevent it from happening.

card-trickI’m like the magician’s assistant of love.  I’ve seen behind the curtain.  I know all the parlor tricks.  The mystery is pretty much gone.

This is a particularly difficult state of things for someone of my personality type.  Enneagram Fours aren’t called “the tragic romantic” for nothing.  We tend to orient our whole existence around romantic love–and I absolutely did, for the first two or three decades of my life.

Let’s just say that like all enneagram trances, this one didn’t work out well as a long-term life management strategy.   I discovered this with blindingly painful clarity at the end of my 20s.  So I got myself educated.  I became wise to the ways of love.

It ended up being a serious bummer.

I am like a magician’s assistant who got into the career because she loved the idea of magic and mystery.  The problem is, viewed from that close, magic loses its mystery.  It effectively becomes a very showy set of engineering problems.

It’s not terribly romantic.  You might even say it’s tragically un-romantic.

I’ve spent a lot of time and energy over the past seven or eight years mourning the loss of my innocence in regards to that particular kind of magic.  Without magic and romance to imbue it with mystery and vitality, reduced to a set of chemical formulas and actuarial tables, the world can look flat and lifeless.

Here’s the thing I realized over the weekend: I still believe in magic.

I believe that good things happen–miraculously and far beyond the laws of probability.

I believe the human heart is capable of a absolutely unexplainable acts of compassion, selflessness and heroism.

I believe the human heart is capable of being transformed into something that’s not wholly self-centered and self-destructive.

I still believe in magic.

I just know that infatuation (and other parlor tricks like it), aren’t it.

img courtesy Kyknoord on Flickr

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