Double Take

'When you've seen beyond yourself, then you may find peace of mind is waiting there. And the time will come when you see we're all one, and life flows on within you and without you – George Harrison


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A Step Beyond (and my thoughts on the film Her) by Rowena J Ronson

A Step Beyond (and my thoughts on the film Her) by Rowena J Ronson

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There is something so inspiring about an excellent script beautifully portrayed by exceptional actors. When I know that one of my favourites is starring in a new film I get very excited at the prospect of losing myself in the characters and really being taken in and over. I saw that Joaquin Phoenix was the protagonist in Her in 2014, but only just had a chance to watch it – and he did not disappoint.

His vulnerability is so believable and appealing that I was mesmerised, even within the opening scenes. And this same energy was something of a parallel process within the film too.

To cut to the chase, as our technology encourages these days, a personalised program is created, an artificial intelligence, aptly named ‘OS’, or operating system. With the gender of your choice, she, in this case, speaks and interacts with you as if she were a person at the end of a phone. She can think, feel, communicate and learn but she doesn’t have a physical form and obviously is not human. This actually reminded me of modern relationships reliant on modern technology!

Also unlike a real person in a 21st-century relationship, with all the many distractions that fill our lives, the OS ‘operates’ by being 100% present all of the time. Dedicated to its ‘operator’, it becomes the closest friend you could imagine – one who listens and loves you unconditionally and only wants the best for you, but at the same time has no limitations, no stuckness and a boundless ability to evolve.

I could see the appeal of having this kind of connection. It seems almost cleaner and more real when compared with meeting someone through the same medium, a dating site on a computer, because on that forum we have no clue about the person’s history, their intentions and their ability to be present and connect deeply.

The film shows many scenes of people walking along the streets having their own conversations and experiences with their OS, and not connecting to others at all. But it was also interesting to see all of them smiling and seeming truly happy. Phoenix’s character Theo’s OS, Samantha (with Scarlett Johansson’s deliciously dulcet tones) develops her relationship with Theo while nurturing one with herself. She knows clearly that it is important to have her own needs met and so she role-models the perfect scenario where she is communicative, caring and supportive, and also really clear about her own personal development and what her needs are from life and from her relationship with Theo.

But what happens if we keep evolving and being open to the lessons we can learn from our experiences? What happens if we do not feel we are limited to just this lifetime and what we imagine this lifetime to be from our limited perspective? What would happen if we allow ourselves not to be limited? What journey could we go on then? What would it take to create that shift in paradigm?

The answers to these questions came for me in this film and I hope I have said enough for you to watch it and let me know what you think. I was not disappointed and I have woken this morning feeling my mind’s unlimited potential if allowed to tap into my higher self, my purpose and universal connectedness.

There was a message for me in the film about not being limited by relationships and the importance of developing the relationship with ourselves, and beyond, with the universe. Amy Adams’s character at one point in the film speaks of the socially acceptable temporary insanity of falling in love. I liked the way she phrased that and I am sure we can all relate to that amazing sensation of freedom when we surrender to our feelings and chemicals, when we can truly experience that open space within and our ability to connect with another and with ourselves.

Falling in love does feel like we have opened the door to another dimension. The film also illustrated the power of interdependence and how are relationships are real and beautiful, but in the spaces in between, when we are not connecting with people, we have the potential to connect with ourselves and with the universe.

Her is a thought-provoking piece which, because I was open to its resonance, has internally created a shift in my consciousness, and for that I am grateful.

From now on, I want to be open to the other dimensions that are clearly here but which we have trained ourselves not to see, and I am truly excited about the potential of this journey.

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Talking About The Movie Click, And Gratitude by Rowena J Ronson

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Talking About The Movie Click, And Gratitude by Rowena J Ronson

Since discovering Shadow Work and stepping on to ‘the carpet’ to do a process last month during a wonderful workshop in the West Country, I have been much more aware of my shadow and have been welcoming its presence to create a healthier and more balanced emotional life. I remember joining a new therapy group a couple of years ago and when I first did some ‘work’ the group reflected that I seemed ‘very together’ despite a huge amount of stress in my life. And they questioned where my fear, anger and grief were being held, as they sat uncomfortably experiencing those emotions themselves, due to my lack of expression, as is common in group therapy work.

And now, visiting a darker place in myself, I am much more aware of those shadowy fears, resentments and dark broken pieces within.

So last night, in an unconscious attempt to bring these broken pieces into my awareness, I decided to revisit the 2006 Adam Sandler film Click. I had a clear space to watch the film on my own so I would not need to edit my response – so I could truly be present to experience whatever emotion it triggered for me.

The film is about a family man who is unable to prioritise time for his family due the pressures of work, ambition, earning money and a boss who clearly did not respect his boundaries. As a result he worked all hours and his wife and children experienced the rough and raw end of his irritation, anger and inability to commit to quality (or any) time with them. This had become their way of life and no one was happy as a result.

The Universe then offers him a vision of an alternative life where all his wishes could come true. He could skip the parts of his life that he doesn’t enjoy – to relieve impatience and monotony, ill health and arguments and instead selfishly do the things he thought he wanted to do instead. He manifests a remote control that can mute, skip, rewind and fast-forward his life whenever he choses. And as a result he isn’t ‘present’. The film describes this state as being on autopilot and I wondered how common this is in people’s lives today.

The modern day version sees families sharing a meal with each member wrapped up in their own little virtual world on their mobile telephones. People spend their lives looking forward to their next holiday, when they will earn enough to really start living, when they will find the perfect relationship so they will feel complete, when their kids will grow up and be less demanding. When, when, when. And all the while they will resist living in the present and truly appreciate what is real and available in their lives to be grateful for NOW.

So the film, as planned and predicted, did make me cry A LOT, and some unexpressed grief was released. It reminded me of the speed of time and how we are here for such a brief spell. Everyone and everything is always changing as we live in a dynamic ‘energetic’ world, which is good in some ways but really painful in others. Our parents are destined to not be with us forever and so with their inevitable parting, our times with them become more and more precious and significant. This button got readily pressed for me in the film as Sandler’s character’s father passed away while he was busy fast-forwarding his life. It brought home to us both, how no one wants to be left with unresolved issues with their parents that forever lie in the realm of regret. And how easy it is for us to take our relationships so much for granted, as if those around us will be here indefinitely and therefore each interaction holds less importance than it ‘should’.

Our children’s early years come with immense challenge and they can feel overwhelming, relentless and unrewarding especially when the going gets tough. These years, and the mirror our children hold up for us, offer huge opportunities for personal growth. And again, how easy is it for parents and children not to be actually present and in relationship with their family, themselves and their surroundings.

Our time here is precious. Every day is a blessing from the Universe. Gratitude for all we do have makes our life so much more rewarding. And being truly present creates unbeatable life learning and rewarding experiences. Be very careful what you wish for……. Click click.


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Talking About Dawn of the Planet of the Apes by Rowena J Ronson

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Talking About Dawn of the Planet of the Apes by Rowena J Ronson

Issues of leadership, conflict and deceit came up for me as I watched the long anticipated sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Rise ended with the simultaneous escape of the apes into the Redwood forests of California with the virus, created in the scientists’ labs – ironically tested on these fine animals – spreading its deadly infection globally throughout the human race. I started watching Dawn holding my allegiance with the apes.

They seemed to be living a peaceful existence, in harmony with nature, and without the necessity for destroying the planet’s natural resources. Their needs were simple and in tune with their surroundings, their communication subtle and respectful. Conflicts were handled with ease and their leader, strong and compassionate.

In fact it was their leader, Caesar, who really captured my attention. He was a commanding and powerful autocrat who led his tribe with wisdom, fairness and integrity. And if his authority was questioned in any way, he would show his disapproval with his stance and emotions without reserve. I knew he listened to both his head and his heart, and therefore possessed an intuitive nature. and I felt I would be able to trust his decisions if I was a member of his team. I also suddenly had renewed respect for this authoritative choice of leadership. I questioned my more democratic style and the benefits of being open to new ideas.

The other interesting observation I had while watching the film was how my allegiance tended to shift from ape to man and back again. Once I really listened and could see the situation from the perspective of any particular aspect, I would then feel myself edging towards that side of the seesaw. Back and forth I went. Each time, my focus and aspirations were for the rise of the oppressed although in truth, both sides were oppressed and oppressor concurrently.

I find myself experiencing similar feelings watching the current propaganda spilling out across the world about the conflict in Israel and Gaza. The speeches, letters and articles full of opinions, perspectives and fabrications are compelling and manipulative by intention. It is nigh on impossible to see the wood from the trees or to feel real trust for whatever argument is being promoted, and indeed justified, at any one time.

In the age of innocence portrayed during the dawn of Dawn, Caesar said, ‘Ape must not kill ape’ and I wished for more peaceful times, where life was respected and being a member of one’s own race was experienced as an honour and a privilege. Russell Brand speaks of universal connectedness and asks us to question our paradigms in order to make subtle yet monumental shifts in our consciousness. I like his style.

And I would recommend watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes for whatever lessons you might learn from the experience.


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Reflections on The Double by Rowena J Ronson

Unknown-1Reflections on The Double

by Rowena J Ronson

The Double (2013), directed by Richard Ayoade and written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky over 150 years ago, asks of us a very relevant question, even now. If you feel you are living the life of Pinocchio, and your wish is to be ‘a real boy’ (or girl), what ingredients would you use to create your own Double – the person you truly want to be?

Would the real you be more confident and push themselves forward in relationships or at work; would they make sure their voice was heard and allow themselves to be seen? Would they be a somebody whom people remember rather than a nobody whom people ignore? Would they stand up for themselves and not allow others to walk all over them? Would your Double be observed and admired by others, would they make each day count? Would their life have meaning, adventure, love and no regrets? Would they be happy?

And would you stop yourself there, or would you further potentise your Double to flip from assertion to aggression, from confident to arrogant, from pushing yourself forward to penetrating beyond other people’s boundaries as well? In having more respect for yourself, would you then lose the necessary respect one needs for others? Would you let go of your grasp on reality as you delude yourself about your own self-importance?

This rather unusual film got me thinking about the many possible lives we could lead in this lifetime if we make different choices in how we view ourselves and how we consequently behave. It also got me thinking about how we view others who seem to have a life that we wish we could have, if we only believed we could. Do we find ourselves inspired by those who have more confidence and a higher self-esteem or do we feel angry and envious?

Double Take welcomes your thoughts on this curious and deep-delving piece and asks you to reflect on what your own Double might look like inside and out….


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Reflections on Blue Jasmine (2013) by Rowena J Ronson

Crocodile Fears (RJR)Reflections on Blue Jasmine (2013) by Rowena J Ronson

I had been wanting to see Woody Allen’s latest offering for a long while, but it was only this week that I, at last, managed it. And it was well worth the wait, as the film, in every accomplished way, met the formidably glorious high standard of a WA great.

For me the theme was lack of integrity, and how we can be dishonest in so many ways. We can lie and cheat in business and life; we can live with someone who lies and cheats in every way imaginable and convince ourselves that it isn’t happening; we can pretend to escape from our old world and forget our past in the romantic delusion of a new relationship in order to cheat our desired future of the truth; we can be married and have an affair but not tell either partner the truth to satisfy our own needs. Blue Jasmine opens for us a story of such dishonesty and deception and shows how devastating the consequences can be, but still in that light-hearted Woody Allen way that marries tragedy with comedy in an ecstatic entwining.

The film got me thinking about the condoners in this world, the quiet ones who go along with dishonesty, turning a blind eye if the duplicity serves them too, living the lie themselves with concrete justification to counteract their own guilty consciences.

I quote Shakespeare: ‘To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.’ How many of us live by this adage in this day and age and do we do so congruently in all aspects of our lives? Double Take welcomes discussion on this topic.


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Reflections on ‘The Book Thief’ by Rowena J Ronson

UnknownI have not been so emotionally charged by a film in a long time, so full marks for The Book Thief (2014), as it delivered as powerful an impact as reading the book itself several years ago. Watching the Nazis burning books before their energy turned towards actually killing the Jews, was a reminder of that an inevitable precursor of the extermination of knowledge, freewill and self empowerment of the curious and questioning mind.

I write this sitting in my home which is filled wall to wall with books and I am grateful for these times of freedom, at least here in England, where I can read whatever I like, where I can live however I want, say what I feel like saying, and have complete control of my choices.

But I also wonder about the growing dark side that such liberty brings with her. Many now ‘live in the moment’ – that misused, manipulated aphorism, believing that there are no consequences for their actions. They over spend, over indulge, disrespect others and the planet and live a selfish existence, just because they can.

It seems to me that instead of the rationed, poverty stricken, controlled and fearful place where we resided in Europe 75 years ago, we have shifted so much the other way that now the excess is causing another kind of devastating destruction.

I encourage all to go and see The Book Thief and perhaps then reflect on how lucky we are to be free to read, and indeed write, whatever we wish, at least in this country and in these times. And to think further how to use that very same liberty and freedom of choice to care for ourselves, others and the planet with more thoughtfulness and consideration.


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August: Osage County

August: Osage County (2013)

august-osage-county-poster3-405x600Excited we were, my friend and I, to go and see what promised to be a rich and emotionally charged feast of ‘fucked up’ family dynamics portrayed by formidable and favoured actors. Unfortunately, our August trip to Osage County seemed heavy and humid, much like the Oklahoma weather they described, but the depth we desired left us wanting.

The actors – Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Sam Shepherd, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper and more – did deliver artistic perfection, as we would have expected they would, and we certainly felt transported to the family home and the drama that ensued. The issue was more in the likability of the characters, and how the darkness of the film offered us no silver lining, no obvious lesson to take away to make positive our cinematic experience. We were just left withan unsettled dissatisfaction, a hopelessness, that wasn’t so easy to shift.

I guess it is all comes down to expectation. The trailer seemed to pull out the few comical aspects of the film, touted as ‘dark, hilarious and deeply touching’, which for me was misleading. I thought it would dispense a mix of depth and delving with a subtle helping of irony,but instead the film took a deep dive into darkness and the lighter tones were few and far between, bringing little Sunday afternoon relief from the heat.

Perhaps the film transmitted a parallel process. Each character in the family almost definitely felt the hopelessness we did, living the lives they were. So in that way, the film conveyed its message profoundly. And if I had had that expectation, then perhaps I would have felt less disappointment. And that clearly is my personal lesson to learn from Osage County.

Rowena J Ronson