Take a new course in life

Media of Awakening

Although films and TV programs are often divided into the well-known genres of comedy, drama, horror, action, etc., I have long been interested in renaming some genres with more pro-social spiritual terms such as the “victory” (see blog posted on June 22, 2016) and “awakening.” What makes the “awakening” genre unique is that throughout the plot, at least one character is rising to a higher awareness in consciousness and then acting upon that new vision. He or she, in effect, “awakens” to a higher truth and then life changes.

In one sense routine films and programs showing mini-awakenings are a dime a dozen: Hollywood characters who learn from their mistakes, who figure out how to sustain relationships, who heal life-long wounds with their parents, and who mature with age are commonplace in mainstream media. And there are also many characters who deliberately go on a pilgrimage or quest to heighten their self-realization and find peace of mind. These include trips to India (think Eat, Pray, Love), to Mecca (think Malcolm X), to Thoreau’s famous pond (think Walden), and most recently to Cape Cod (Year by the Sea).

In the latest feature, Karen Allen (yes, the same Karen Allen from Raiders of the Lost Ark thirty-seven years ago!) becomes an empty nester mom who needs some down time to find herself after her husband sells their home and her son is married. Her “mecca” is a small home on an island off Cape Cod and her unintended “gurus” are the eccentric mix of local characters who help her awaken to a sense of self-reliance and transcendence.

When she arrives in her new home, Joan (Allen), has no sense of her next steps and describes herself as “a boat adrift at sea with nothing to steady me.” But each natural venue and villager she befriends seems to teach her something; like the fisherman who, when asked if he is lonely all those long days at sea, replies, “no, the real loneliness is not knowing who you are.” Joan is forced to contemplate this homespun wisdom because her own awakening is in fact to her own latent identity. Once she can hear herself think, listen to the rhythms of nature, and surrender to a higher order, she begins to act like a new person.

Once this recovery of her original childlike identity becomes seminal to her experience, everything morphs for Joan–her self-confidence, her ability to help others, and her awkward, distant relationship with her husband. We discover that, although she is not fully awakened at the end of the film, she has awakened to the process of awakening itself. Thus she is posed to make future breakthroughs and to know a full life.

In her own words she learns to “welcome vulnerability” and to “ride the tide.” Ultimately, when her best friend, another Joan named Joan Ericson, is staring at a tombstone, Ericson sums it up for Joan by noting that on tombstones there is a dash between the date of birth and the date of death. “It’s what you do with the dash that matters.”

In one sense, Year by the Sea is the director’s love letter to Cape Cod, emphasizing the beatific seascapes and local color of Eastern Massachusetts. In another sense the script is about a character’s elevation in consciousness through a season of deliberate meditation like that of Thoreau at Walden. But as with Thoreau, Joan realizes that she was not trying to escape so much as seeking to discover. In her words “I was not running away from something but rather running to something.”

So it is with awakening. We are not so much fleeing the nightmares and illusions embedded within sleep as emerging into the light of a fresh day. Awakening means discovering a new order and genuine identity.

We are not so much running away from the false as running toward the true. And it does not take a year by the sea to awaken, it only takes a consistent passion for the reclaiming of one’s primal spirituality.

One Response to Media of Awakening

  1. Okay the overall writing computes with my understanding of spirituality in a sense we extend our words as far as they can go

    Nice enter
    In reality we are particles of intelligence at the mercy of a great big wave .in tritratw amounts this day resolves into autonomic space frees of worldly choosiness, awake to the ones that guide and that shape your expansive life . Let it spread like hummus over you appreciate the time in between . The people in your life closest to you can guide you in the into personal growth . Your parents and siblings that can take a very put to place of mind a very Hale art felt and when hurt gin find a shaman to go to the ariginal hurt.

    Is open space . Experiencing the great expanse of deprecate loves very sentimental aspects determining loves expertese in a school, made for deprecate spaces.

    To feminism is basis to compute complete, space of opening light . Like gumbo in forest gump listing off all the different crabs styles. Live in attunenent with god is like living at peace with it’s key movements and so on.

    Only that which you wish for. Hire up people think forever good thoughts for all lower down to focus on the good thoughts. Manage well the grocery list of thoughts never ending that come through . Work that endlessly flows can move.

    Under good work that does move anywhere you like thus creat the open ventures of space open to the learning of urgency of self realization . Good to look at for it isn’t about approval in due time you will acquire the spirit for moving through tough times, twill

    Do now acquire a movement in the building of a great army on man can choose to love in anchored. There are directors of the film called life. It is all happening just perfectly. And to understand all the dimensions of the expanse is sometimes the best we can do. Ruud west this is Logan ❤️.

    Think of great big eagle over your head. Listen to the spirit inside you make friends that last don’t hurt yourself over any of it let it rain you down towards the sentimental.

    Try to acclaim.

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