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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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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Resident Evil

Talking About Evil by Nigel Summerley and Rowena J Ronson

NS: Is there such a thing as evil, independent of human beings. Is the idea of the devil rooted in some sort of reality? Or is it a way of expressing an aspect of humanity – an internal flaw?

RJR: I am not sure what you mean by ‘independent of human beings’, as I am not a believer in heaven and hell or ‘God’ and his antithesis, the devil. But there is no doubt that evil exists in humanity. It is interesting to question whether it is a flaw or just born out of the survival instinct. What do you think?

Charlotte's Web (RJR)

NS: I am not a believer either. But there does seem to be a widespread belief that evil exists as something separate from us, something that we can succumb to or be taken over by. But perhaps this is an excuse – like the scapegoat that was blamed for evil things and then driven away or killed. The potential for evil may well be within us all, no? It seems more likely that it is a psychological/self-centred flaw. But why do you mention the survival instinct? Is it that we are prepared to push our boundaries to encompass almost any act – if it is linked to self-preservation?

RJR: How easy it is to think of it as separate from us. It is such a great way for no one to take responsibility for anything. In saying that, I do believe in possession, so in some instances I guess evil can be perceived as a separate entity. I believe we are all capable of anything, yes. But I am not sure we are all capable of evil, although I guess we are all susceptible to being possessed. I am sure you will have something to say in answer to that comment! There is a difference between self-preservation and evil, surely? It may be born out of survival, but it is not what motivates it…

NS: If you believe in possession, then it seems like you are having it both ways… Evil is not separate but it can possess us…? Either it is separate or it is not, surely? I agree that we are all probably capable of anything – or certainly we can never know for sure what we may be capable of. Self-preservation at all costs must lead ultimately to violence – and perhaps also to evil? First, I think we need to clear up this “possession” thing. If we are possessed, what is it that possesses us? And if it is separate from us, what is it, what is its nature and where does it come from? Could we go into this a bit more?

RJR: I would say that it can be separate and it can be part of us. I believe that evil spirits can possess us. Or have I been watching too many films? I also believe that one can be possessed by good spirits too. So in answer to your questions, I believe we can be possessed by spirits, be they evil or otherwise. I am guessing you don’t share my belief?

NS: Saying that evil can be separate from us and part of us seems to be contradictory, although I suppose it is not necessarily so. If you feel that we can be possessed by spirits – either evil or good – then what is the nature of these spirits? And again, this seems contradictory because you were saying earlier that we sometimes look to blame an outside agency for the way we are or the way we behave. I think there is something in this feeling of “possession” but perhaps it is possession by thoughts or feelings that we like to think could never be a part of us?

RJR: I agree that most people do not take responsibility for their feelings, thoughts and resulting behaviour. I am not sure we are conditioned to do so. It is only when people are in crisis and they do some personal development work that they learn the skill. I have learned in life, and I work with my patients with the model that we need to take 100 per cent responsibility for our behaviour. We cannot take responsibility for how the person in the dynamic with us reacts, as that would be controlling and would imply that they should be responsible for our behaviour, which in turn is disempowering. Evil is something else, though, isn’t it – or would you put aggression and lying for example, under the evil umbrella?

NS: Yes, it’s far easier to blame someone else or something else for our behaviour. There may be something in the self-preserving, self-justifying nature of the brain that predisposes us to that? Awareness of what we do and what is being done to us presumably holds the key to placing responsibility where it belongs? Aggression or lying (and other types of “bad” behaviour) could be described as evil or not, depending perhaps on the context or the degree or the result. But I wonder if evil is a mystery that we cannot solve. Is it a word we use to describe aberrant human behaviour stemming from the more primitive actions of the brain and from lack of awareness? Or could it be something that “possesses” us from outside. The latter seems unlikely, doesn’t it? But then what lies behind the way the human brain and behaviour have developed? Is it too fanciful to think that forces of “good” and “evil” may have been involved in our emergence as human beings?

RJR: The idea of forces of “good” and “evil” being involved in our emergence as human beings makes no sense to me. Is there a religious explanation that you are referring to, and if so, can you tell me more?

NS: Not exactly a religious reference, although I suppose that is the basis of much religion – the idea of the opposing forces of God and the Devil. And that can be a metaphor for the human condition. I suppose I come back to the question of whether or not there are forces of evil and good at work in the universe? And is life born out of that? Or is the universe ‘detached’ – neither good nor evil. Or is it good/evil? Or are good and evil ‘human’ terms that have no real meaning in the universe?

RJR: There are opposing forces throughout the universe. In fact, everything exists through polarity, light and dark, but that is not the same as good and evil, is it? Or is it one and the same? I agree the concept of good and evil is human terminology. Other animals are not evil. The reptilian and oldest part of our brain provided us with our basic survival animal instincts. It is from the more evolved parts of our brain that evil has manifested. When we observe animals it is all too easy to project human emotions on to them, but a cat is not evil if it scratches you. We all hear of stories of people who seem completely heartless. I watched last night the new film Monument Men. Forces of good and evil are clearly seen throughout.The selfless men who helped rescue our culture heritage from the nazis. The gold collected by the nazis from the teeth of the Jews.

NS: I am left thinking and feeling that ‘good/evil’ is a red herring. The terms good and evil are simply human creations. There is darkness and light in all things – and perhaps if we are aware of the darkness within us, we will move and act more in the light.