CRAP! It is mid -February already and I still don’t have a first blog post for the year. SIGH… well…until now. I could go into a lot of the reasons I have not been posting. Top among them is that I have been doing some soul searching and assessing what I want for this next chapter of my life.
For the month of February I have been doing an exercise in digital minimalism. More or less it is cutting off my social media habit and finding other things to focus on instead. I could do a blog post on that sometime down the road. I am observing in myself some disturbing programing that I am sure you too likely are affected by too. I will eventually return to my social media hopefully with a different relationship and approach to using it more like a tool than as entertainment or as I have come to think of it "info-tainment."
Though you would not know it by the lack of new blog posts, I have been writing a lot. Sometimes though when you sit down to write you find yourself down a rabbit hole that starts as a question and then turns into a messy blob of self-discovery and mental detritus. That said, I have learned a lot about myself writing these things out, but I don’t believe that you, as my readers, need that kind of peek inside my sometimes-tangled brain. I want to write about things I think you will find helpful, relevant and in line with to purpose this blog serves for me. So sometimes we wait.
Let me share a little bit about what I have also been looking at with my own changing life. Thanks to COVID-19 I have, for now, retired from my work as a magician. Leaving any career is difficult but leaving your career performing magic has a lot of challenges of its own. There is a lot of identity wrapped up in owning and living the title of “magician”. You get used to the attention and the reaction of disbelief you get from others when you say what you do for a living. I admit that I liked getting a little ego boost for having that title. Magic is something I do though and not something I am. That has been the main lesson. None of us should be wholly defined by our occupation or any one skillset that we are notable for. There is a deeper person inside. I will continue performing magic casually, but will not be performing for hire for a while it seems. So what fills that vacuum?
While I used to say that “magic is my real job” now I will have to be cool with my other job being my “real job”. The work I do at the University of Colorado Health Sciences is creative and rewarding in other ways. I am technically on the front line of medical school workforce as I work directly with medical students. I am a clinical educator. I teach communication and exam skills to medical students through simulation. Not as sexy as "magician" but maybe as unusual?
I have been able to find a lot of sanctuary and security in my world of tenkara. Tenkara continues to be a guide and center point in my life. It does infuse and influence my work in the wood shop as well as my lifestyle and goals. I do really enjoy working and creating in my shop. My tenkara line holders, fly bench spools, and tenkara level lines, continue to be available. I have also started working on some other products that I hope to offer in the spring. My dear wife also has plenty of work for me to do in my wood shop too to support her Etsy store. I expect that with the down time ahead still I will be updating my Etsy store
I am hopeful and intent on approaching a post-COVID world with a new outlook. We all have an opportunity to create some positive changes our lives. We are well beyond the point of needing just a little healing. We need some deep healing, fresh air and a fresh outlook. This is a good time for change in our personal and/or professional lives. We can focus on what is important and give those things our attention. We can change our outlooks and remove the negative practices and habits we have picked up and replace them slowly with healthier living. I hope that you will join me in discovering how to live our lives better and with more intent and responsibility to each other and the planet.
I close here for now but will be filling this blog with lots of good stuff. I hope you will join me on this journey and I also thank you for your support over the years. I return to instagram in March and I am planning a big sale of all the cool things I have been making in my shop. Let's take on this new year with renewed hope, healing and a clear direction for the future.
Dennis Vander Houwen lives in Colorado with his patient and supportive wife, talented artist son, a smart older dog, a new river puppy, and a very lucky cat.