This Strange Engine

“Every artist was first an amateur.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson



The featured image is of a tool I use for my work. Chances are you have one very much like this. My cards are not special; they are just like yours. But my cards have aided in my business. They have helped me pay my bills, finance vacations, buy groceries and clothes for my children. More, they have enabled me to travel to places I might not have ever seen: Zurich, Munich, Berlin and Barcelona. At its simplest description, the deck is just a stack of paper, 52 sheets of paper in a stack. web services Without a guiding hand, that’s all it will ever be: a stack of paper, gathering dust in a dark drawer.

I have practiced many thousands of hours in the techniques I use to entertain and educate with a deck of cards. I have a passion for the stage, I have a passion for energizing and inspiring people. I cannot paint, I cannot sing well or play a musical instrument. Oh, I can sit a the piano and play a song … I can pick out the notes, but I cannot make music. It was given to others to write songs, make poetry, design buildings. My vehicle, my instrument to accomplish these things is This Strange Engine: My Deck. The pen is my friend, the art of the story is my companion, but the deck (in my hands) expresses what I have in my soul.

What is your gift? Do you know, have you sought it out? As a child, what were your dreams? Are you living them now? So many questions … let’s look at it this way:

Knowing your gift is the key, the very first step. In a very real way, it defines who you are. I’ve seen the popular meme lately that “you are not your job” … but that is simply not true. What you dedicate yourself to is exactly who you are. It’s usually one of the first things people ask about you, and the last thing they say about you after you die. So … Who Are You? Think about these things. Here some questions I use to help define myself and the curious:

1) What draws people to you? Is it your leadership ability? Your loving nature? Your ability to create fun wherever you are? The way you listen? Your quality for sharing a story or a joke in a way that everyone can enjoy it?

2) What have you been doing with yourself? What is something you have been doing all your life? Your Gift is a path that has been with you since childhood. Looking back, what is something that has always been easy for you and, when you’re doing it, makes you feel alive and inspired?

3) What are you afraid of? We all have anxieties and fears in ourselves that come from being wounded earlier in life. Our gift tends to be the opposite of this fear as we try to heal ourselves and others around us. I love being on stage and telling my stories, but I have wrestled all my life with questions about the worthiness of my own potential. What have you wrestled with?

Be honest with yourself. Write down the answers to the questions above and really focus on them. Put away your fear for a moment and relish in the ‘what if?’. Look seriously at your gift, realize that this is the direction your path begins and (if you are ready for a change) pick it up and apply some passion, some dedication to it. Find out where it takes you, and don’t stop there.

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