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LIFE: Build Your Story

PROACTIVE: “I’ve always believed that the world is what we make of it.”

Movie quote from: Contact (1997) – Ellie Arroway (Jodie Foster)
In the opening minutes of the movie Contact, the camera scans back from the Earth, passing planets, stars, and galaxies, until the view illustrates our own insignificance in the vast universe.  It is a great metaphorical foundation for the key message of this movie – there is no inherent meaning to our lives.     We must create that meaning ourselves.

REALITY "We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented."

Movie quote from: The Truman Show (1998) - Christof (Ed Harris)truman

Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) lives an ideal life in the beautiful and secure town of Seahaven.  He has a great job, a loving wife, and everybody knows and loves him.  He has no idea that his world is actually a huge Hollywood set populated with actors portraying characters in his life's story.  Set in the skies over Seahaven lives Cristof (Ed Harris), the man who writes and directs the script that is Truman's life.  The Truman Show is an intriguing consideration; is it wise to seek a deeper understanding of the reality behind the reality we perceive?

SAMENESS: “After living in the dark for so long, a glimpse of the light can make you giddy.”

Movie quote from: The Good Girl (2002) - Justine Last (Jennifer Aniston)

good girl

Justine Last (Jennifer Aniston) works a mundane job at the Retail Rodeo.  She goes home each night to her stoned couch potato husband and follows the same routines, deadened by the unending repetitiveness of her days.  Justine feels confined by her obligations, gathering meaning from nothing day-to-day.  This makes for an explosive situation in the film The Good Girl, especially when her comfortably numb existence gets a glimpse of her untouched emotions.

TEENS: “She’ll outgrow it, dear. It’s just the age…the age where nothing fits.”

Movie quote from: Rebel Without a Cause (1955) – Judy’s Mother (Rochelle Hudson)

DeanAt the precise moment the western culture was inventing the concept of a 'teenager', Rebel Without a Cause flickered onto the big screen.  James Dean's character Jim Stark personified "the age where nothing fits" - uncomfortable at home, posturing for his peers, disconnected from his past, uncertain about his future.  Change the clothes, change the cars, and the Rebel story is an icon for the youth of today.  As the movie elegantly illustrates, only one thing ensures a young person will survive and thrive in those turbulent teen years. 

APATHY: "I don't think I can continue to live in a place that embraces and nurtures apathy as if it was a virtue."

Movie quote from: Se7en (1995) - William Somerset (Morgan Freeman)

sevenFew things are more destructive to the human soul than apathy.  Any workplace, community setting, or relationship that "embraces and nurtures apathy" is a dead place, a place where things won't grow.  Unfortunately, in today's world, apathy has become cool.  This cannot be good for the human condition.

FLOW: “I have all these thoughts bouncing around in my head, but with a brush in my hand, the world just gets kind of quiet."

Movie quote from: The Notebook (2004) - Allie Hamilton (Rachel McAdams)

notebookA subtle aspect of the romantic film The Notebook is the importance of painting to Allie, played by both Rachel McAdams (young Allie) and Gena Rowland (elder Allie).  When she paints, Allie is in the zone.  In psychology, this is called 'flow', a state of mind where you are completely immersed in the activity at hand.  Flow is good for the soul.  However, as The Notebook illustrates, flow can be difficult to attain when you're living with someone who has other plans for you.

FUN: “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and ‘snap’, the job’s a game.”

Movie quote from: Mary Poppins (1964) - Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews)

poppinsIn the 1964 film Mary Poppins, there's a problem in the Banks family.  Everybody is too serious.  Mr. Banks is a pompous banker who hardly knows or cares for his children.  Mrs. Banks scampers about keeping things structured for her husband while pursuing her own quest for female freedom.  Nannies pour through the house, none of them able to give the unstructured children what they really need.  Into this mix comes the magical Mary Poppins, as played by the Oscar-winning Julie Andrews.  She teaches them all how to appreciate life and enjoy each other.  We all need a spoonful of Mary Poppins now and then, reminding us quite literally to 'lighten up' in our day-to-day life.    

FREEDOM: "It's only after you've lost everything that you're free to do anything."

Movie quote from: Fight Club (1999) - Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt)

fight clubIn Fight Club, the Narrator (Edward Norton) is a lost soul, uninspired by the veneer-thin values of his consumer-centric life.  Into this detached existence comes Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), the polar opposite of Norton's apathetic character.  Durden takes him into a full-contact, chaotic world that re-aquaints him with a sense of unbounded freedom.  But is he really free?  What does 'being free' mean and do we really want it?  This film pulls no punches as it explores the implications of absolute freedom.

LEISURE: “In the good old days, before television that is, people constructed the pleasure of life for themselves."

sleuthMovie quote from Sleuth (1972) - Andrew Wyke (Laurence Olivier)

In the film Sleuth, Laurence Olivier's character offers a very wise thought about the value of leisure time.  He tells Michael Caine's character, "In the good old days, before television that is, people constructed the pleasure of life for themselves."  This differs from the habitual practice of most people nowadays.  The great majority get home and just watch.  This is not the best way to use our free time.  That time away from work may be the secret to discovering a fulfilling life.

WHOLEHEARTED:"I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special."

Movie quote from: Steel Magnolias (1989) - Shelby (Julia Roberts)

magnoliasI am always impressed by people who seek to experience all life has to offer.  Undeterred by personal challenges or life's obstacles, these individuals expect full value from their days.  They are 'all in', wholeheartedly pursuing the life they desire.  In the film Steel Magnolias, this spirit is personified in Shelby (Julia Roberts) and supported by an all-star cast of spicy Southern belles.  The character Truvy (Dolly Parton) tells us that "laughter through tears" is her favorite emotion.  This is the core emotion featured in the film as a group of straight-up friends live with the drama and great laughter of wholehearted lives.

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