Creation of a Secret World is a mark of a shift in the Virgin’s mindset. Rather than conforming to the wishes of others, checking everything for their approval, she is choosing to make a decision for herself. It is a beginning step to understanding she can create a boundary between herself and the world. The Virgin is not ready to completely change her world but she will make this safe bond with herself as a first step.
I love this moment in Ever After . Every time Danielle is with the prince she is herself, and full of idealistic values. It is the same in Bridesmaid when she is with the cop and feels light hearted and authentic (in sharp contrast to how she feels at her job). In Shakespeare in Love the SW is the theatre when she is dressed as a boy.
Stories often create the Secret World with an emphasis on the fear she feels. I want to make a big point that fear is not the important aspect. Finding the secret world is an act of self-love. The secret world is the creation of a boundary between her awakening self and any elements that might disrupt it. It creates a space of safety and appreciation, a cocoon, that is an incubator for the desired growth.
Crossing back and forth from one world to the other can be a point of fear or comedy, but it is a waste of time for the Virgin to be thinking about being discovered while she is in her SW. When she is consumed with fear she cannot blossom. The SW gives her the time to follow her bliss and develop a strong connection to her authentic self, strong enough to eventually weather any disapproval or emotional pull off centre when she is ready to present her true self to all her worlds.
Back and forth is an important aspect of the SW. Too much development in isolation can cause her to lose touch with reality and grow in a direction that makes her dysfunctional in the society she eventually wants to join. This is seen in the New Zealand story Beautiful Creatures, where two girls become so wrapped up in their world and how no one understands them that they eventually kill the mother to preserve their SW. The real horror is that it is based on a true story. Black Swan is a story where she goes so deeply into her imaginative world she can’t fully come back to her real world. Going back and forth to the SW also builds a bridge between the two. She may even end of showing a lot of other people how to cross the bridge and make the Kingdom brighter.
So when you’re writing a story, or going on your own Virgin’s Journey, find a Secret World where you give yourself (character) permission to practice self care, follow interests with curiosity, and be playful.
It occurred to me like a bolt of lightening that the Virgin’s journey is all about finding and really feeling the boundary between you and the world. The interesting thing is, when you find this boundary, by really attaching to who you are, you are suddenly free to really connect with other people. Only with a strong connection to self can you be vulnerable and let people see who you really are. Without it you always need to appease other people to feel okay in your skin. This is the big message in many romance stories from Pretty Woman, Working Girl, Miss Congeniality, to Silver Linings Playbook.
I had the most wonderful experience yesterday getting my nails done and my eye brows waxed. I dropped in and Katie made space for me (she always does). She popped Pretty Woman into the video player and there was a chorus of supportive comments from my fellow clients: ladies in their 50’s(I’m guessing), their 20’s, and two charming gay guys. “I love this movie, good choice” or some variation, we all shouted. It was like a scene out of Legally Blond. Someone else popped in who had to have a pedicure immediately in order to have a pick me up for a funeral. I learned Katie has the ability to make a lot of people feel special. We all belonged which quickly lead to expressed sympathy, shared favorite nail colours, baudy jokes about who was wearing underwear (surprisingly few given the summer dresses). We cooed at the fashion and said the big lines a moment before Julia Roberts did. “Slippery suckers!, It’s easier to believe the bad stuff, You just did.”
In Pretty Woman Vivianne won’t kiss on the mouth. This is the boundary she makes to protect herself which is essentially – don’t let people in. “I’m like a robot.” Then she learns to attach to herself through self care, including bubble baths, good food, beautiful clothes, kind relationships, and setting a boundary when Edward is disrespectful to her. Once she really sees her value she is able to be vulnerable with Edward. She was able to really show him who she is because he did not have the power to devalue her anymore. She maintains her connection to herself when Edward offers to make her a kept woman. No matter what, she knew her value. It was so beautiful we all cheered when Vivian responded to Edward saying I would never treat you like a hooker and she said “you just did”. And maybe, because she did let down her guard and be vulnerable, Edward was inspired to overcome his fears of heights and commitment and treat her the way she deserves to be treated.
In the world of love you need to first love yourself, own that attachment, which empowers you to let other people see the real you. When you have your own approval you are free from craving others’ approval.
As a bonus, I now have the most beautiful hands and feet of my adult life. It feels really good to look at them and be reminded that I value myself.
I have noticed there are a cluster of films, and songs, about breaking up, where it’s a good thing. I thought it would be interesting to look at the common themes in break-up movies. What is the take home message that is to make us a little bit wiser? First I want you to play the song by Kelly Clarkson “Stronger” to get you in the mood.
This is the heroic response to an ending. It says I am not a coward, I can be alone. Each challenge to my survival makes me stronger and more connected to myself and in particular my ability to push back the boundaries of my mortality. This is empowering.
I want to note that this works when you are talking to the ex. If you are looking for a good obstacle to love, however, it would be continuing this attitude in your new relationship. “I’m strong and independent. If you leave I will be fine. As a matter of fact leave and I’ll prove it.” This is a recipe for never finding happiness in love. Think about He’s Just Not That Into You. The women, and one guy, have to learn to recognize when someone is not seeing them for their intrinsic worth and simply give them the boot. You also have to be willing to be vulnerable and wear your heart on your sleeve when the right guy comes along.
Then there is the tough girl who has been hurt and was strong enough to get out. What she doesn’t know how to do is to admit she has been victimized by the experience and take the time to restore her healthy entitlement to love – that she doesn’t have to be tough all the time, or accept being treated badly and live with the high drama of a bad boy. To go into her next relationship she has to move her internal world from Victim to Virgin again. Whatever happened hurt. How can the protagonist be open and vulnerable and receive what a new guy has to offer? This is the theme of Veronica Mars (great tv show – I hope the rumors are true that it will be a movie) and Pretty Woman.
When a bad thing happens our inner victim feels things like “why is it nothing goes my way” or “what did I do to deserve this?” This quest for meaning needs a place to be expressed (I like journaling and whining with my girlfriends). Once it is made tangible it can be address. If the victim feeling is denied or suppressed, and let’s face it, nobody wants to admit their shadow side, it will sneak up and bite you when you don’t expect it. Can you say self-sabbotage? Hey, that sounds like Hitch.
I saw Warm Bodies last night and it is a delightful romantic-horror with unexpectedly normal moments (is this a new genre?). It reminded me of the comedy-horror An American Werewolf in London from the ’80’s. Remember that one? The film is fun to watch just for the humanizing moments when the boy-corpse tries to pull it all together to impress the girl. It is relatable and yet he has so much more to overcome than the normal awkwardness. I was inspired by his drive to carry on against near impossible odds.
The really revolutionary concept of this film, however, is that rising conflict and war is not the answer to the problem. ‘Allow the power of love to infuse all that you do’ is the take home message I got (with a battle against the skeletons on the side). It feels like we are finding entry into a whole new world.
It kind of reminds me of Avatar where Jake Sully goes to infiltrate the Na’vi culture and learns he is more at home with the alien love-driven culture than his own fear-based world. Then there is a big fight section to protect the rights of the Na’vi. Again, a love-driven plot with a fight scene chaser.
Are we in a transition phase where film makers are considering the possibility that there is a plot beyond the heroes journey? The fight scenes are still there but the hero ideal is not consuming the plot. Love as a driver is finding a bigger place in action films.
Warning: if you care about continuity this film will bug the heck out of you. They establish rules of the world like Zombies walk slowly, dragging their feet and next thing you know they are in major chase scenes and holding their own. They walked from the walled city to the zombie home in an afternoon and it took two days in a car to get back. I decided this was part of the off-beat nature of the film. It’s like they don’t care! How original.
I am sitting at home on a snowy day in May (what!?) wandering into the kitchen every ten minutes because eating reminds me of the joy of life even when it is miserable outside. Then it struck me – I am packing on a pound as a result of a profound lack of imagination. Surely there are other ways I could think of to find joy. It just takes a little attention on my part. (being slightly dramatic here)
This struck me as a profound thought. Suddenly aware of why I was eating, I am not doing it anymore. My mind has wandered to other possibilities…
I could play my favourite itunes songs. I have created playlists for all 12 core archetypes because I love to immerse myself in each world by hearing several songs in a row on the same theme. Sometimes I love to listen to new music and find the archetypal core in a song. I bet you can guess the one I play the most. My top 5 Warrior King songs right now are When I was Your Man – Bruno Mars, I’m Your Man – Leonard Cohen, I’ll Always Come For You – Nickelback, When You’re Gone – Bryan Adams (“even food don’t taste that good” is a brilliant lyric), and Scream – Usher. Not thinking about food now, are you.
Movies are another great way to get in touch with what brings you joy. Most movies take you on a journey that reaches for the light side of life. I like comedy romances on days when the weather is not co-operating. My all time favourites are While You Were Sleeping, You’ve Got Mail, Wedding Crashers, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Legally Blonde and The In-Laws (not strictly a romance but it makes me laugh). One more for luck – This Means War.
Hey, what do you know. The sun is shining and the breeze is incredibly fresh and slightly warm. I am going to put on my favourite mascara, my sunshine yellow dress and go buy some nifty office supplies – just to treat myself.
What about you? What gifts do you give yourself to connect you to your feeling of joy and remind you of your intrinsic worth? This connection to your Virgin archetype is the source of your creative power. Spend some time exploring it.
I liked this movie because it is not the classic movie about revering a Hero. It has a more mature theme which is more interesting at my age, and at any age it is nice to get some variety. I would describe this as the evolution of a Warrior King story. It answers the universal question of what does it mean to be a man (or a positive representation of the masculine in all of us). Fight is the story of the dying and Rising god. Only through going to the depths of severe loss and letting a part of him die can Whip Whitaker become the man he is capable of being. It is so interesting to watch him struggle over the sacrifices of ego and comfort it takes to live by his values.
Even the poster is fantastic. His face shows so much struggle and inner self loathing despite the prestigious pilot uniform. He looks like the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz.
Flight pilot, Whip Whitaker, rescues hundreds of people because he is a superior pilot. He is also an alcoholic, and a failure as a husband and father, who now risks being stripped of his pilot licence, social status, freedom and vices. In short, he reaches a point in his life that he has to define what he stands for.
The Warrior King is challenged to discern his highest value. Whip could be scot free if he blames the accident on the dead stewardess who was his lover. He found the moment where he knew what he was capable of. He stepped up and finished the statement I am the man who…
We all left the theatre inspired by his actions. I could feel it as I walked away. I wonder how many people thought of the story afterwards and wondered how they would finish that statement. We are all asked to stand for something every day. It is like the song, I would walk ten thousand miles to be the man who wakes up next to you… There’s a guy who has decided where his priorities lie.
I like movies that keep you thinking after the lights go on.
This blog was inspired by watching Oblivion with Tom Cruise and a couple of women. Now, I’m as big a prude as the next guy, but I’m going to say that if the driving force for the movie is that life is only meaningful when you have passion, then indeed, you need to show not tell. There needs to be a sex scene. Maybe then I would have really felt Jack’s relationship with Julia. (Is it just me or is this image phallic?)
For example, when a man reunites with his wife after decades of being apart, a woman who he loves so intensely that he can’t forget her despite having his memory wiped out, I’m not not buying it without the sex scene. It is not gratuitous. A movie is a felt experience and if the protagonist is having a monumental feeling the audience should be let in on that. Otherwise, why are we putting in the time to go on this journey with him? It can be subtle or tasteful but it needs to be more than implied if the theme is driven by love.
So I started thinking, are there Romance movies that don’t have a sex scene? Of course there are lots when you stop and think about it like Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, About a Boy, Hitch, many teen romances. Tons more. The key is to have a momentous first kiss – which is the first piercing of the intimacy boundary. You wouldn’t for example, learn about the big kiss by having a friend tell a friend. The kiss wouldn’t be implied. Also, the movie has to end when the relationship starts if you are hell-bent on not having a sex scene.
I’m not saying Oblivion is a Romance but it is a story of love. That’s what makes it an action story with a twist. Love of Earth; love as a real connection. Oblivion is first and foremost an action movie and there are fantastic visual images and some interesting new fight scenes. The best part is all the twists and turns in the plot. But the reason I would say it was not a great movie is because it has a theme of the importance of real love, the felt experience. This is supposed to be shown to be more important that the logical or evidentiary experience, yet it didn’t give us enough evidence of an understanding of love, in my view.