I took myself on a date, tonight.
All my friends, grown adults all, have been raving about Emma Watson in Beauty and the Beast. I had to go. I was always a big fan of the Disney films, through childhood and beyond. And I think women are depicted in better and stronger ways, as the years go by.
The music, I knew by heart, mostly. The songs from the animated film are here, Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, with Tim Rice's lyrics. Songs from the Broadway musical are included as well. A lot of the original came through well in live action.
I won't post a whole review here, but what I wanted to press on, what struck me most, was the... Life. The magic.
Without giving away too much, we should all know from this classic tale, that there is a castle with inanimate objects... that speak, and walk, and interact. And perform musical numbers at dinner time.
What I found profoundly beautiful, was was the moment when the last petal fell and the manor was suspended in darkness. The once "alive," however preposterous, objects that lived in the castle... had become inanimate once again. A chair is a chair, and that's it, right? But once it exudes essence, energy, charisma, empathy, growth... a chair is not just a chair. It is a being. A live being. And when something alive goes dark, it's powerful. Energy changes. When living energy leaves matter, it's felt. We feel it when loved ones pass on, some of us know just when the energy leaves the body. Why not when the last gorgeous wild animal of its kind goes extinct? Why not when another majestic rainforest is plowed down for industry? Why not when sacred tribal land is raped for transporting oil?
It was a perfect depiction of our Earth, its elements... nature... and how alive She is. If people can connect with and relate to a talking tea cup on a movie screen, and feel heartbroken at its silence... why can't we feel the same toward a sacred natural site? Toward our coral reefs? Are they not...alive? Or other human beings, who aren't quite the same as we are, on the outside. Or animals. Or anything at all in this existence, because it's all made of energy, which is Life.
Life force, this magical, connective tissue, runs through and tethers us all to one another. From me to you to the forest to the sea to the pulsing Sun and the stars beyond, that feed and heal us all. How powerful that is. To be aware and present to witness such a sacred, divine, force of nature that brings Life, movement, growth.
In the case of Beauty and the Beast, the people are cursed and turned into these objects, which is what animates them. But let's consider something, in real-life, for a moment.
Consider, that humans and say... oak trees... share some DNA. Which, scientifically, makes us relatives. Yes, we all come from the same stuff, originally. And it's all energy. All the time, new discoveries are made that tell us plants can communicate. That our heart's radiate energy and vibration. That energy responds to different tones and sounds and emotions, in different ways.
The film was just a lovely reminder, that all of it... our home, our planet, its objects, its creatures big and small, its waters and air and starlight and dirt.. all of it is brimming with Life. Energy. The exciting discovery, although a long-held and muted belief for some, is how energy can change its behavior based upon the attention it receives.
Is it a coincidence that in all the fairytales... Love wins? True love's kiss, or healing one's heart, or overcoming obstacles, to save... Love. Love is said to be the most powerful form of energy that there is. Love heals. Love revives. Love fights for justice. Love lifts the weak. Love shelters the poor. Love explores and seeks discovery for the greater good. Goodness, charity, altruism, giving, inspiring, supporting... these are all forms of Love. And the Light the poets write about about, perhaps, is Love. Love unconditional. Love is the balm of the living and when we know and act on this idea, the energies that are affected by Love, change in its embrace. Its attention. Just as the opposite is true.
If energy is this sensitive, and alters its behavior in response to the attention it receives, then perhaps one of the greatest gifts that we give one another, is our loving attention. Because if it's all energy, and we are all connected, through the same force, then we already are this Love.
I've rambled a bit, as I do. But I guess what I'm saying is that maybe John was right, in more ways than I understood as a teenager:
"All you need...is Love."
As some of you know (or not), I run a writer's workshop, one Saturday per month, at my library. It was just something that needed to be, the community clamored for it, so I started it. And I always look forward to it, not just for the prompts and the writing, but... the people. Who will the universe lead to our doors...today?
Today, we were blessed with Jim "Poppa" Kelly. He's written a few books on his own, already. He's an older gent, lost most of his hair and walks with a cane. His ball cap says that he served in the Korean War. His smile is full of Life, wisdom, gratitude, and humor. He smells like my grandfather, whom I haven't seen in many years. He taught me, unabashedly, how to anchor my weight, with one foot behind me in a lunge position, to sturdy myself and help lift him from his chair to a standing position. He said I was quite strong. Oh yeah... :-) :flexes: Don't let the frilly blouse fool you.
We had a small group, just three of us, so I was happy to let him ramble. Yet, it wasn't ramble. I wish you could've been there to listen.
SO much, so much he's seen. Done. Experienced. The wisdom, the perspective. Grace. From his growing up in Queens, to living on a boat, in Florida, and then back up north, parking it on the north shore, not far from here, in another old, quaint, coastal village. He just dripped with enthusiasm and gratitude for being alive, and for all he's done and accomplished in life. And his True Love. (Which is also the name of his boat.)
He explained how he met his wife of 60+ years, and I'm paraphrasing: "I met her at a dance, at the church. She was with someone else, I was with someone else. We passed each other and that was it. I dreamed of her every night. Every night for a week... and then I went back to the church. And waited, and waited... I knew I had to see her again, I knew... finally, as I had given up and walked toward the door to leave... she came in. And we danced all night. We talked, on and on. We've never been apart, since."
Something inside melted. My eyes turned glassy. Not everyone has that experience with love. Only in the movies we watch, the girl at the end of the table and I thought. But Poppa Jim says... he got lucky, the first time. Sometimes, we need to circle around a bit until we're ready.
It was moving, beautiful, open, and inspiring. So many stories to tell, I just wish you could've seen it, felt it: rapt in your chair hanging on every ounce of Truth. Nods of clarity. Smiles that come with new perspectives on repeating issues, meaning that bubbles up through confusion. The simplicity, the sheer simplicity and joy of being that this man had shown to me. It changed me.
I so adore talking with these older folks, it's always a treasure. I am full up, and writing, and dreaming with an open heart. Today's free-write revitalized my faerie story, with a new twist. A good day, a really good day, despite the cold. It's warm in here. Not hot and raging, not cold and withdrawn. Just...warm and hopeful. Blissful and balanced.
And I can't wait for next month's session to get another fix. <3
Thanks "Poppa." What a delight you are, I do you hope you come back in April.
Something horrible yet wonderful happened last night.
Lots of things have been new and different lately. At work, in the country. In the world. We are all at the beginning of a new cycle, as far as the big Wheel goes. And most times, I shrug things off, lose myself in nature, reset, and I'm just fine again.
But last night, something was off. Way deep down, and I couldn't place it. It was one of those nights when my mind is just too heavy with thoughts and what ifs and whys and why nots. Trying to figure things out. Make sense of it. Of small things, grand scale things. Life.
Knowing my son was sound asleep, I took a hot shower. I came back into the bedroom to quiet things down, slow myself down, and meditate. To go seeking...inside. And it worked. It always does, and yet I always let myself get too busy to allow myself the time.
What was different though, this time, was the letting go. Rather than pleading or praying for peace, for strength, for something to change... rather than... surrender... I surprised myself. I allowed it. All of it. Whatever I was feeling and struggling with, I let it be and I stopped trying to mess with it or remove it or heal it. I left it alone. Where I would once chant inside, "please give me strength, fill me with peace," etc... Last night, it was different. Something inside switched over and calmed itself. And this time, I said, "I can handle what's mine. I can handle...what's mine." Just like that.
For a few moments, a part of me wanted to panic. Shift, fidget, throw in a "hail Mary," just in case. A quick nod to the angels, to the Gods, the Fates, guides, something... Isn't that funny? And yet. I chose, last night, to be strong enough. To be enough. To believe that whatever forces of nature and magic were out there, were also in me. Already.
And something miraculous happened: they were. They are. I slept with a smile on my face. Peace in my heart. A calm and centered mind. Sleeping soundly beneath a blanket of proverbial white light. All I did, was allow myself to do it.
We provide ourselves with everything that we need, in so many ways. Some things are indeed beyond our control. But many things are not. SO many things... including mindset, discipline, faith, goals, desires, dreams... simply require ourselves to show up. And to trust in our ability to get through, whatever getting through means.
And once we can do this individually, we can share with each other. Allow each other to get through, the way that we allow ourselves to.
It's so easy to give advice, to lecture, to preach. It's more difficult to wish for another to get it, and to sit back, silently, and watch them learn. I have great respect for the people who can do this.
"I did not come to teach you, I came to love you. Love will teach you." - Unknown