I usually think of freedom as unbounded. Arms wide open, heart wide open, nothing in my way. It’s a nice vision.
Conversely, however, I’m beginning to understand how the boundaries that I choose and agree to, ones that I can shift as I grow, keep me feeling safe and free to focus on what really matters to me.
Today, on this day of Independence, I don’t need freedom from bondage. I need boundaries to set me free. The more freedom I have to choose, the more work and energy it requires. Freedom of choice requires at least some freedom FROM choice (as sung about in the above video accompanying the song by Devo) – things that have already been decided and don’t need to be re-evaluated from all angles each time.
The symbols of freedom we use aren’t without their caveats either. The bald eagle is not a happy-go-lucky type, but rather stern and focused. The California state flag is not a teddy bear, it’s a grizzly bear. Fireworks must be carefully controlled to avoid burns and fires.
Unity of the Oaks at Hollywood Bowl for Fireworks, July 3, 2015
I work for an organization called “Unity” — a concept that means there is no opposition. So how can I say “no” to anything? This is my current struggle.
Unity is not just my work, it is also my spiritual path, and the bulk of my social life. As the third generation of my family in Unity, it’s part of my family identity. It’s my course of study and my career path. It’s my emotional support. It’s infuses my entertainment and inspiration, my past, present and future.
And yet, in this place where Unity is everything and with my heart open wide, I say no to a lot in the process, because I’m exhausted. I say no to socializing with old friends, to creative hobbies, to a regular exercise routine and to meditation time. By saying “yes” to everyone else, I say “no” to myself.
“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside. ― Stephen R. Covey
For example, I spent a whole day trying to coordinate events for work, and found that all the nice people I work with were happy to do whatever would work for anyone else. Finally I had to make the final decisions so I could get something done. Then I was angry that it was left up to me. But isn’t that what we ask of freedom? The freedom to determine our own path? Freedom to have it our way? But it can get out of control.
Creating boundaries for myself is actually rather painful. I want everyone to be happy and I don’t want to be a source of disappointment. In the 12 years I lived in Sri Lanka, I saw the havoc created by this same cultural proclivity. Westerners felt that they had been lied to when the product or service they’d ordered for a specific date and time wasn’t ready. But the shopkeeper wanted to tell their customers what they wanted to hear, so they’d leave happy. It’s not sustainable though, since the happiness turned to anger when reality set in.
I can’t sustain my preferred joyful, bubbly, way of being when I become the one who has to repeated say “no”, or when I’m exhausted from trying to meet everyone’s expectations, by saying “yes” to everything.
Today, I cannot celebrate any freedom but the freedom to shut the door and shut everyone out. To think, to sleep, to rest. I’ve enjoyed too much freedom and now I’m miserable.
So instead, today I will set new boundaries for myself to conserve my energy to enjoy something – friends, family, events, church, community, work, goals, career, studies, travel — anything.
Our Founding Fathers laid out some good guidelines. The one I’ll focus on for myself is the separation of church and state. If “church” is about faith, then “state” is about the logic of material reality and getting things done. Separation of faith and logic. When my work hat is on, even though I work at a church, I declare my freedom to say “NO”, graciously and without anger or apology. I choose to be present without being permeable.
It all comes down to me, really, I can’t blame anyone else. I do have and claim the freedom to make my life what I want. But I alone must have the strength, courage and clarity of mind, heart and spirit to direct my energy into what I want to create, and to say NO to what I have no affinity, attachment or investment in. So that what I love will grow and sustain me, and leave me energy to share with others that I love.
We’re all on a spiritual adventure called “life”, but sometimes we need a book, TV show or movie to show us what our inner landscape can look like. This week, our Pop Conscious gals look at the travels we take through books like Eat Pray Love, The Celestine Prophecy, and Way of the Peaceful Warrior translated to film…and how these books and films inspired Malayna’s spiritual adventure novel, Echoes Across Time. We’ll also explore the deeper lessons of adventure-genre movie franchises like Indiana Jones and The Mummy, and whatever else feels like an adventure at any given time. It all boils down to our own Hero’s Journey!
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)– not Noah’s, but Biblical nonetheless – supernatural + adventure
“Subtler and more interesting, however, is the ark’s biblically based propensity to protect itself when needed. In a fascinating mixture of judgment and mercy, the film’s finale features God saving Indy and instead of Indy saving the ark. When the Nazis sacrilegiously lift the lid, the wrath of God pours out. The entire party of evildoers is horrifically melted and incinerated, then spectacularly (and rather tidily) disposed of in a celestial pillar of fire.
While such gimmickry never appears in the Old Testament, there are many stories of God protecting the ark from falling into the wrongs hands. In 1 and 2 Samuel, a disrespectful handler is killed, a false god is decapitated, three Philistine towns are inflicted with a deadly plague and, most pertinently to Raiders, 70 Israelites are put to death for peeking under the hood. I’d say “put to death” is a pretty apt description for what happens to the Nazis at the end of Raiders.”
Temple of Doom (1984) – Filmed in Sri Lanka! India’s spiritual heritage, British-Indian reference…Thugee cult and Kali
Last Crusade (1989) – Holy Grail, Arthurian Legend, Joseph Campbell & Hero’s Journey,
Crystal Skull – (2008) – South American –
From National Geographic: “There are perhaps a dozen of these rare crystal skulls in private and public collections. Some are crystal clear, others of smoky or colored quartz. Some are actual human size and of very fine detail, while others are smaller and less refined. All are believed to originate from Mexico and Central America.
Many believe these skulls were carved thousands or even tens of thousands of years ago by an ancient Mesoamerican civilization. Others think they may be relics from the legendary island of Atlantis or proof that extraterrestrials visited the Aztec sometime before the Spanish conquest.
An adaptation of James Redfield’s novel about the search for a sacred manuscript in the Peruvian rain forest.
Through a mysterious set of coincidences, he finds himself on an adventure to Peru in search of ancient scrolls, known as the Celestine Prophecy. The prophecy and its nine key insights, predict a new awakening that redefines human life and provides a glimpse into a completely spiritual culture on earth. Resistant at first, skeptical and unsure, John finds that each step he takes, each person he encounters leads him to a new awakening. It is only in this letting go that he finds his destiny and comes to understand the meaning that had escaped him when his adventure began.
Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives
Way of the Peaceful Warrior is based on the story of Dan Millman, a world champion athlete, who journeys into realms of romance and magic, light and darkness, body, mind, and spirit. Guided by a powerful old warrior named Socrates, tempted by an elusive, playful woman named Joy, Dan is led toward a final confrontation that will deliver or destroy him. Join Dan as he learns to live as a peaceful warrior.
Film – Nick Nolte – Peaceful Warrior (2006)
The 4-Minute Peaceful Warrior Workout Premium on-line course by Dan Millman from Daily Om.com
KEYWORDS: “Prophecy” = spiritual adventure – belief in something that was written about before, fate, a journey, steps to be taken, Divine order revealed (mind-idea-expression)
Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)
The Lego Movie (2014)
Left Behind (I) (2014) (The Rapture?)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003)
The Matrix (1999)
Cloud Atlas (2012)
Lego movie – An ordinary Lego construction worker, thought to be the prophesied ‘Special’, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil tyrant from gluing the Lego universe into eternal stasis.
Left Behind – the rapture refers to the belief that either before, or simultaneously with, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to earth, believers will be raised from the earth to meet him in the air. Rapture = Latin “carrying Off”, Koine Greek “caught up”… First Thessalonians and how it relates to interpretations of various other biblical passages, such as those from Second Thessalonians and the Book of Revelation.
And Toto, Too:: The Wizard of Oz as a Spiritual Adventure
Do you believe in Dog? And Toto, Too: The Wizard of Oz as a Spiritual Adventure And Toto, Too elevates the familiar and much-loved film, The Wizard of Oz to a higher plane. Nathan G. Castle weaves his own story into the timeless classic with warmth and a delightful sense of humor. At first glance the book’s approach is slightly unconventional and perhaps a touch irreverent, given that the author is a Catholic priest who bravely shares his belief that God loves everybody wildly, extravagantly, beyond belief — and beyond belief systems. In praise of And Toto, Too Scotty McLennan, Dean for Religious Life at Stanford University says, “Father Nathan Castle touches us deeply, right where we are, with a completely unlikely claim — that the tiny, unimpressive dog, Toto from The Wizard of Oz is God on earth — or at least the canine face of God on earth!”
Rev Kristin Powell on Soulstream here on Unity Online Radio did a series about The Wizard of Us: Transformational Lessons from Oz by Jean Houston. Part of why we love Rev. Kristin…
The 13th Disciple: A Spiritual Adventure Hardcover – by Deepak Chopra
When a solid gold reliquary missing from a church in Belgium suddenly resurfaces in America, a young newspaperman begins to investigate the story. At first, it seems like just another case of a treasure stolen during World War II that has resurfaced. But it soon becomes apparent that much more is at stake.
Hidden within the medieval reliquary is a gold box that holds a sacred relic—a single finger bone—from an anonymous saint. Why would the remains of someone unknown to the Church be considered holy? The search for answers leads to a shocking discovery—a dangerous secret known only to a small band of people. If one touches the reliquary, a sacred vision is received—a vision involving a young girl who had a chance encounter with Jesus just before he was crucified.
My choices = Anne Rice books, Anne McCaffrey – being in tune with nature – dragons or crystals. Piers Anthony – Magic in the earth and each of us, express it differently.
Magical Realism – Writers don’t invent new worlds but reveal the magical in this world, as was done by Gabriel García Márquez who wrote the seminal work of the style, One Hundred Years of Solitude. In the binary world of magical realism, the supernatural realm blends with the natural, familiar world.
Vicarious – If something is vicarious, it delivers a feeling or experience from someone else. If your child becomes a big star, you might have a vicarious experience of celebrity.
Vicarious comes from the Latin work vicarius, which means substitute. If you have vicarious enjoyment, you have a second hand thrill. You might get vicarious thrills of adventure by reading your friend’s letters from overseas.
Gotta use some imagination – one of your 12 powers
Tina Turner – What’s love got to do, got to do with it? What’s love but a second hand emotion?
Cousin Violet, Dowager Countess – “I’m too tired for an evening of second–hand emotion.”
Echoes Across Time
Mara is a woman on a mission to follow the unraveling trail of meaning behind her symbolic dreams while trying to save her best friend from self-destruction. Part spiritual adventure, part feminist fairy tale, this modern-day myth takes you through a mystical series of events from America to India, and on to Sri Lanka spanning four generations. Along the way it offers metaphorical explanations for simple mysteries of our lives that make up our identities. From seemingly inexplicable friendships to exotic mixed ancestry, Mara finds the purpose behind it all. Ultimately the tale offers insight into how each of our souls has at least one connection that echoes across time.
Jonas Seaman – Destination Wedding Photographer – a cross-cultural/spiritual adventure. It’s kind of like Carlos Castaneda meets Dora the Explorer. I could especially relate to the character of Mara, because she’s constantly having to surrender herself to the mystery unraveling around her, and to what seems to be the guidance of a higher design. It made me take a look at my own life, as if every seeming random event might have a reason or a meaning, even long layovers in airports. Also, I really like how Malayna Dawn introduces in the story many different cultural and spiritual viewpoints. Throughout the book, the character of Mara seems to keep a keen focus on the similarities of differing cultures and religions, rather than be critical of their differences. That’s so refreshing, and needed in this day and age. Overall a great read. I’d recommend this book to anybody who likes a good, fast paced mystery and archaeological adventure story…
Prayer doesn’t have to be serious! With guest Gregory Stahr and engineer Jeff Comfort.
In honor of World Day of Prayer on September 11, Malayna will be broadcasting from Unity Village while Stacy shares her experiences from the Youth of Unity Spiritual Leadership Conference in Arizona. We may have a guest or two from Unity Village, and we’ll talk about all the different guises prayer may take (yes, you can pray while rockin’ out …) and how to be conscious about it, so we’re not praying for what we don’t want!