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April Newsletter: "I'm Evan. You're the Wife."

That the launching of Andrea Grace coincides with the birth of Spring makes wonderful sense. From the hours of planning and toiling through the winter months, it's with excited anticipation that Andrea Grace and nature blossom side by side -an experiential metaphor for a new beginning.

Like the two-faced God, Janus, I find myself standing in the present looking both to a fruitful future and to the winter just passed. Winter is a time of hibernation where many of us, more often than not, opt to stay home watching a movie with a bowl of microwave popcorn than take our chances baring the cold. Many of us might admit to being more interested in Hollywood-generated life than our own lives.

Contrary to where you might thing I'm going, this isn't necessarily a bad thing.

I've come to think of television and movies as Spark Notes for learning life's lessons. From the comfy vantage point of our couches we get pointers on what it means to have integrity and courage, what it means to love someone, what it means to betray those we love, or to forgive them, what it means to want to seek revenge, what it means to have loving parents, what it means to have rotten ones etc, etc. Many of us get so involved in the tv drama that we find ourselves feeling real emotions; anger, worry, fear, sadness, frustration, surprise, happiness and excitement. Along with these emotions, we experience physical reactions; we laugh out loud, cry real tears, furrow our brows and some of us chew our nails. We do all this while passively interacting with a rectangular box across the room.

If we pay attention, we notice that movies and tv shows offer us personal message(s) that we can apply to our own lives. It's like when you hear a song on the radio that seems to be singing your story. You've just had your heart broken and every song that plays on the car radio tells of lost love. It's the same with television and movies. Just in the past month or so, I can think of at least four examples of where something in the movie correlated unapologetically with whatever was going on in my life at the time.

Case in point:

No too long ago but before the scent of Spring was in the air, Evan Almighty landed in my mailbox from the mystical land of Netflix...


Before I go on, let me just give you a quick synopsis (without ruining the ending) just in case you haven't seen it yet:

Ok, so basically, Evan, a newly appointed congressman, gets called by God to build an arc smack bang in the middle of a fancy new housing community where he's recently moved with his family. Evan, unsurprisingly fights the calling. He suffers from self-doubt, ridicule, and the imminent break up of his family, but the calling can't be fought and he builds the arc anyway.

Ok, back to the story...Not too long before watching this movie, as I was preparing to make Andrea Grace a legitimate business and official career change, my nearest and dearest (henceforth known as NaD) had said with some emphasis, "I just don't believe in it." ('It' being the energy work). "I can't support you. You're on your own." Ok, I'm not going to lie. This hurt a little. Not because NaD doesn't believe in it (it's not my job nor desire to make him drink the same flavour Kool-Aid as me), but because I had counted on his support and had trusted that he would support me. The "I can't support you" translated into all sorts of unrealizable opportunities that I would miss out on from financial planning to not approaching him for an opinion when it came time to pick out paint colours for my new space.

So there we were on this wintery eve, sitting side by side with with a dog or two sandwiched between us, and about half way through the movie, Evan's wife, thinking he's nuts, decides to leave Evan to his delusion, bad hair and burlap cloak. She packs the kids in the car and heads to her mother's. On the way, they stop for lunch at a Diner. God materializes as a waiter. When Evan's wife orders more fries, God takes the opportunity to start a conversation with her...

"Excuse me, are you all right?"
"Yeah... No. It's a long story"
"Well I like stories. I'm considered a bit of a storyteller myself."
"My husband - you heard of New York's Noah?"
"The guy who's building the arc!"
"That's him."
"I love that story. Noah and the Arc. You know a lot of people miss the point of that story. They think it's about God's wrath and anger. They love it when God gets angry."
"What is the story about then, The Arc?"
"Well," God takes a seat. "I think it's a love story about believing in each other. You know the animals showed up in Paris? They stood by each other side by side -just like Noah and his family. Everybody entered the arc side by side."
"But my husband says God told him to do it. What do you do with that?"
"It sounds like an opportunity...Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience, or does He give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prays for courage, does He give him courage, or does He give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm, fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?"
God gets up to go and the scene finishes with him saying, "Well, I gotta run. A lot of people to serve." Evan's wife looks down at her basket is full of fries.

This was one of a handful of scenes where I found myself puffing up like a Fugu fish at the smack-on-the-head synchronicity of the movie's message. A voice in my head was loudly shouting at NaD, "ARE YOU GETTING THIS?" I sneak a glance over but I don't see any lightbulb floating over his head. So I say, "I'm Evan. You're the wife." I get a blank look, a couple of blinks, silence and then the face turns back to the television. The message I wanted him to get was that in spite of the fact he doesn't agree with my mission, he has been given the opportunity to man-up and love and support me anyway. These were thoughts I took to bed with me. I tucked them in tight feeling snuggly safe in my blanket of self-satisfication at having gotten NaD's message.

Then it hit me.

Square between the eyes.

It was a kicker.

I realised that it wasn't that I had gotten NaD's message. I realised that it was MY message to be got. It had to be for the simple truth that it was me who got it! I felt a shiver as my smug blanket started slipping off. I realised that it's MY job to love NaD just as much when he doesn't support me as when he does. I was being shown that I am being given the opportunity to practice patience, courage, love and great faith in the process. This is my journey not his. This was an opportunity to learn how to be supportive of him in the face of no support.

I also came to see that like Noah who found help in the animals he was building the arc for, I was being presented with an opportunity to look for support elsewhere be it in a friend, a family member, a colleague or most profoundly, in myself. This was an empowering lesson. I realised it was me who needed to man-up, not my NaD.

So let me now sum up with two tidy ideas:
When something catches your attention like a conversation in a movie, an exchange between two strangers in the supermarket, two children fighting, or even the way a leaf blows across the yard, dig a little deeper to find the message in it for you. Take a minute to understand that you noticed it for a reason. Also know that it's your message. It is not a message for your partner, neighbour, coworker, child, friend, sibling or parent.

There will be times when you've got to do what you've got to do even when your family, friends, coworkers and anyone who's opinion you care about, will not support you, will discourage you and may even ridicule you. If you want to join a pole dancing class, go join one (anyone reading this whose interest is peeked, email me, I can hook you up :)). Or maybe, you have an inkling to make like Lizzy in Eat, Pray, Love and travel to faraway lands. Well, my dears start making plans! Even if India or Indonesia won't fit into your budget or lifestyle, that's ok the simple point is to follow your truth. Don't NOT do something for fear of what others might, or will think or say. Who cares what they think? Do what makes you happy as long as you don't hurt anyone else doing it! As Joseph Cambpell says, "Follow your bliss"!

Alrighty then... This concludes my very first newsletter. Let me leave you with this thought for the month;

"May we always get our messages and may we use them to find our truth."

Happy Spring and Namaste!


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