Do you like movies? Me too.
What are your favorite movies? Have you ever stopped to consider why? What is it about these movies that inspires, moves, touches, or captivates you? Is it the place, the people, the events?
What do these movies you love say about who you are and what is important to you? The answer might surprise you, for you are within those films you love. The deep, true, blissful you.
I love this technique of introspection, not only is it easy but it's a lot of fun, too. What you will gain is a deeper insight into yourself. Knowledge you can use to build a better life for yourself. Without further ado, let the star take the stage (you're on):
Take a seat on my sofa...
Before we begin you'll need some tools. A notepad and something to write with. Since people are interested in other people, if you don't mind sharing a bit of yourself, you can use the Comments box after the article as your notepad for this exercise. If you're shy, you can always create a commenting account with a generic username so only you will know it's you.
Now, let's start. Tell me when it all started...Oh, sorry, wrong client. Okay, finding your bliss from films, right...
Take a moment and jot down a list of films really move you. We want movies that inspire, captivate, motivate, stir, and touch you deeply. We're looking for just the best movies, not ones that are the most fun but ones that you feel deep inside. Don't make the list too long, I'd keep it under ten unless you're a real movie buff.
For each movie on your list, think about that single movie. Bring the film to mind and make some notes about what you love about that movie, whether it be a specific character, theme, or quote, the way someone moves, behaves, or talks, the action, or the artistry. Whatever moves you, note it down. It might be just a word, a feeling, a sentence, or a few paragraphs. Write whatever strikes your imagination. Do this for each movie.
Once you have finished your writing, look it over. What are the common threads that run throughout?
Write down keywords for each of these threads. These words are your words, important keywords to describe your dreams, desires, and the sources of your bliss.
These are words you can use to build a better life for yourself - a foundation for following your bliss, wherever it is. Take your bliss words and write them someplace you'll see them often, on a sticky note on the refrigerator, mirror, or computer monitor. Put them someplace you'll be reminded of who you are and what motivates you until these words become the words you live by. Once that happens you'll be on the path to bliss.
Now, let me share my own experience with this process, just to give you some idea of how it works:
Just taking the first few films that come to mind, in no particular order, my list is:
50 First Dates
Considering that I hate slapstick and find 90% of Adam Sandler's movies unwatchable, who would have thought I'd put 50 First Dates on my list? I know what it was, though. I needed a kind, sweet, and supportive lover. Not only is Lucy (Drew Barrymore) beautiful but she is kind, funny, joyous, creative, and sweet. Henry (Adam Sandler) gets the girl and he gets to follow his dream of sailing to Alaska to study walrus mating habits, with his new extended family to boot. Now that I have the girl and I'm following some of my dreams the story has lost a little of its attraction for me. It's still a sweet film and the sailing still looks pretty good. Side note: Never buy sailboat needing as much repair as the one shown in the film - you won't have time to get the girl or enough money left to sail anywhere.
I love this movie for the beauty of the co-created art and the valuing nature theme. The story is predictable and uninteresting to me but the setting is gorgeous. James Cameron's vision of an alien planet isn't seeming so far-fetched with all the recent planet discoveries taking place. I like the natural lifestyle presented, though, if observed carefully, there must be many challenges in this traditional lifestyle. Beyond all this, I also am inspired by what was possible to create with a central vision and collaborative execution. Many people were involved realizing Mr. Cameron's dream - another step forward in what I see as the future of art, collaborative art.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
J.R.R. Tolkien's perennially popular books are done fair justice by Peter Jackson's movie renditions, if a bit too battle-heavy for my tastes. Battles not withstanding, Tolkien's brilliance is in drawing out common aspects of human nature into separate characters. Gandalf the wizard is my alter-ego. I guess that's why a write WisdomWebsite. Ahh, to have his powers. Oh well. I'll settle for being half as wise, if I ever get there. Only time will tell. I admire Gandalf's intellect, deliberative nature, curiosity, courage, strength, adventurousness, compassion, and connection with the natural world. I also find a connection with Galadriel, Queen of the Elves (Cate Blanchett), for her beauty and strength of character, two traits I am attracted to in women. It was not a bad experience to be seated less than 6 feet away from Cate Blanchett at an unrelated performance some years ago. Yes, she really is that pretty. Here's one of my favorite bits of wisdom from the film (and books, of course), only 24 seconds:
Star Wars IV: A New Hope
For me, Star Wars, particularly the first film (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope), is less about a character and more about the hero's journey. George Lucas studied Joseph Campbell's Hero With A Thousand Faces and formulated his own space fantasy around the universal themes. There is something to love in all the protagonists. I think this one speaks more about the need to follow my own adventurous path, wherever it leads. I'm curious to watch it again to see how it influences me now. For some insight into George Lucas' vision, watch this video on the mythology of Star Wars. Good stuff (56 minutes).
I love the way the protagonist, a magician, regains the girl he loved as a child using the true magic of intellect, courage, and illusion to discredit her princely suitor. Both the beginning and endings of the movie are places I would like to see myself, a peaceful life set in beautiful nature with a beautiful lover. The beginning presages our hero's bliss, the ending it's successful attainment. It doesn't hurt that the wonderfully integrated score is by Philip Glass. I found this viewer-created clip that really touches my heart, maybe it will yours as well:
Utilizing only amazing imagery by Ron Fricke and evocative music by Philip Glass, former Christian monk Godfrey Reggio's vision is realized in heart-rending fullness: Life out of balance. Koyaanisqatsi (a word derived from the Hopi Indian language) shows how our modern existence is disconnected from our basic human nature. Although I've included the movie trailer below, this film is so visceral that it is best experienced rather than described. Life is still out of balance. Watch this movie, if you haven't. Re-watch it, if you have.
Joseph Campbell is distilled to his essence in Sukhavati. Stumbling upon this video while channel-surfing one day was a life-altering experience. Perhaps more than any other single event, my exposure to this video set me on a path of exploration into the possibilities of living a more fulfilling life through wisdom and a connection to the "spiritual" side of life. This beautifully produced best-of video is packed with meaningful insights throughout. So much so that you'll need to keep the pause button handy just so you have time to absorb what you just heard before another brilliant insight is tossed your way. I had to watch Sukhavati a few times just to hear all the ideas. Sukhavati connected my non-mystical nature to the mystical wisdom of the ages and, later, gave me inspiration to pursue my bliss. I still find this video relevant, though now more as a reminder than a tutorial. Here's just one bit of wisdom from the video that I struggle with every day:
So what are my take-away messages here? I can see some clear threads running throughout.
Nature, love, beauty, curiosity, adventure, bliss, peace, a good woman, wisdom, strength, compassion, self-confidence, intellectual pursuit, and the imbalance of modern life.
All of these are keywords I have associated with following my bliss for years now.
Now you know quite a bit more about me.
These words are my talismen. For within these word are my bliss.
When I make decisions for myself, small and large, I have these words in mind. In this way, my choices follow my bliss and I remain on the right track. If I fail to consider what truly matters to me then I wind up off course and unhappy.
That's A Wrap
I love this technique for gaining insight. There was my life, waiting for me on film. I only needed to look. I had heard that the camera reveals all. Who knew you didn't need to have it pointing towards you?
If you're interested in seeing any of these films, click on the images below to go to that product on Amazon.com.