January 31, 2009
Dumbo’s Magic Feather

“Use the magic feather,” Timothy the mouse guides Dumbo, who is afraid to open his ears and fly. He puts the feather in Dumbo’s trunk and says with absolute conviction, if you hold this, you will have the power to fly; just open your “wings.”

Many people have offered us “magic feathers” throughout our lives. Very well-intentioned parents, teachers, and elders have said, “work hard, and you’ll be rewarded.”

But what happens when the magic feather slips through Dumbo’s grasp? He believes all his power to fly was in that feather, and without it he is paralyzed with fear.

When we lose a job, an opportunity, or anything else that felt like the roadway to our desire, we seem to act like we have lost our magic feather. “Without [fill-in-the-blank], I will never be a writer or a famous performer, or I won’t reach the financial goal I set, or I won’t get that apartment I wanted.” And this is the way we use our disappointments to block our future success and keep ourselves small – by making certain circumstances into magic feathers, without which we cannot function.

Once we have identified our “magic feather,” we put all of our stock in that. Essentially, we give our power away to it.

Then, suddenly, we find ourselves high up on a platform with hundreds or thousands of people watching, a little mouse in our hat yelling, “Fly! Fly!” A gust of wind has swept the magic feather from our grip. Frantic and terrified, paralyzed by the loss of that feather that slipped away just as easily as it had come, we stand there, frozen. Everyone is going to be disappointed in us. Maybe the circus master will hurt us or leave us without sustenance. Or, if we risk the leap, quite literally, we fear instantaneous death.

But the truth is this: “The magic feather was just a gag – you can fly!” Timothy shouts this desperately, trying to get Dumbo to simply stop clenching and open his ears.

As we let go and trust, we see it is our own strength, our own essence that allows us to fly. It is not that lost job that would have brought us to the feeling of wealth and abundance we seek. As soon as we release the job as the magic feather, there is room for wealth and abundance to come in the best, easiest way possible. Through our natural gifts – no matter how freakish they may appear on the surface – we naturally take off. Because it wasn’t Dumbo’s magic feather, but the giant ears he had so fearfully tried to hide, that let him fly.

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