The other day someone I'm friends with on FaceBook had a terrible thing happen to him. I met the person at a conference, I think (there was a lot of alcohol involved at that con, and when I got home, he was on my friends list, so I think I met him there), and we've sort of been in parallel lines ever since. I don't know him well, but I see the events of his life passing on my FB wall often enough to feel like, hey, I know that guy!
When I saw that he was going through some shit, my first response was, whoa, dude, write that shit down, HUGE OPPORTUNITY here! A magician has a traumatic event, releasing lots of alchemical heat, triggering the solve phase of the Work! Write an essay, capture the process, and consider publishing it/presenting it at conferences! Think of the chance to show people how magicians can be opportunistic when otherwise traumatic shit happens to us! Think of the example you can be to our brothers and sisters! Think of the children!
And trust me, I know how insane that might sound. I presented it with an apology in case it was tactless, but I gave him time to process it first, I didn't hit him up the day it happened. I showed some restraint.
But yeah, my first reaction to magicians going through hell, "Congrats! Awesome! Whatcha going to do with this? How's it impacting your Work? Did you... did you do some Solar rites or something!? Is it K&CHGA stuff?!"
I get all excited about people's trauma. The magics, they have gotten into my brain!
And it's a good thing, I think. In the worst case, the dude will think I'm nuts and unfriend me. In the best case, he'll go all Bodhisattva awesome and turn this traumatic event into an example of total bad ass alchemical magery. He's had a reframing experience that's going to kick off all kinds of self-revelatory phases. He's going to be emotionally and psychologically soft and malleable. He can choose how he reframes his future experiences consciously, picking how he wants to spend his XP.
It's like one of life's "Qualifying Events." For your insurance policy, generally you can only change your health plan once a year, unless you have a qualifying event. Otherwise everyone would buy the cheapest coverage until they were sick, and then get the higher quality package when they get sick. It screws up the odds game the insurance companies play, so they control the variables.
But sometimes shit happens, and you can change your policy. You get married, and you qualify to change your plan to get coverage for your spouse. You have a baby, you can choose to go on family coverage. You get a divorce, you can ditch the spouse and pay less. These are Qualifying Events, the Shit Happened clause.
You get to change your choices when Shit Happens. Your neurological and psychological settings are temporarily readily reconfigurable. You can imprint on a whole new path for your life, because the traumatic event has given you a new perspective, and you see that now you have other options, other choices to make. You can be anything you want, which was true before the event happened, but you might not have realized it. You've been through a trial, and you survived, and you can spend your XP however you want.
When my house burnt down, I learned this lesson pretty well. Over the last couple of years, things have been pretty high-heat, pretty regularly in my life. This week has been amazingly hectic. If you knew the levels of shit I regularly deal with on a daily basis, you'd be appalled. I realized this week, I deal with it differently than most people. I take advantage of it, I see the softened edges and I peer into the cracks to see what lies within. Who am I? That's the ultimate question, and these things often leave you with no other choice than to dig in and answer that question. It's the point of the Solve stage. And it's going to happen anyway. So fuck it, might as well use it.
So, yeah... Congratulations on your recent trauma. May it lead you to the accomplishment of your true Wills, the Great Work, the Summum Bonum, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness.
You lucky son of a bitch.