Legend says, the natives who first saw the white men on the shores of what was then not even called America were at first blind to them. They’d never seen ships before, so they kept saying they saw distant “clouds” on the sea. Billowing sails can certainly look like clouds and they had no point of reference for such a thing. But the local shaman, which is kind of a cross between doctor, magician, and priest in native culture (depending on who you talk to) kept seeing something different. Every day he’d go to the shore and look, opening his mind with all the power and good spiritual vibes that make you a shaman, and he saw waves that were not waves and clouds that were not clouds. Then one day, as they got closer, he saw them: ships. He didn’t even know what they were. Once the shaman saw them, he was able to tell the tribe and they, too, saw the ships.
Today, that would be like seeing the first aliens land in New York City. Would we even recognize them?
I’m not sure if this is real or just another legend from my own tribal past, but it makes sense to me. Because it’s happened to me, too, in small and large ways. I noticed it after I started blogging for a car dealership and bought a car there. It’s a Honda Crosstour–one of the less commonly-seen models. Before I bought one I had never seen one before. I feel sure I would have remembered it, because it is so striking. Yet now I see them all the time….maroon ones, black ones, silver ones, white and cream, even a blue one up the street. Up the street! How had I never seen all these Crosstours before? Is it simply that I was not conscious of this model of car before, and now I am, so I was blind to their existence?
Does that mean my car salesman, or the friend who recommended I look at the Crosstour, is a kind of shaman?
That would be cool.
Those of us in the creative field, or people who invent things or come up with new solutions to old problems, or sell things to people, are like shamans, too. We must overcome a kind of blindness to see what was not there before, so we can show others. Think of that as you practice your business. Opening others’ minds to new solutions and fulfilling their needs is a kind of magic.
What magic are you working today?