Print Posted by Brent Marchant on 08/31/2016

Want To Change Your Life? Watch a Movie!

Want To Change Your Life? Watch a Movie!

Must we accept life as it is? Or can we successfully alter it, preferably to a form more to our liking? For those who practice conscious creation, the philosophy that maintains we shape our existence through our thoughts, beliefs and intents, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

As previous articles have shown, conscious creation (also known as the law of attraction) maintains that we have an infinite number of probabilities for reality creation at any given moment, and the existence that ultimately materializes depends on whatever thoughts, beliefs and intents we choose to make it possible. And, since we always have a limitless range of manifestation options available to us, we’re by no means “stuck” with what we create. We can always employ our power of choice to change what we get.

Much of the time – especially when we manifest results we dislike – we feel limited by what we’ve created, believing we have no choice in the matter. However, given that we always have the power to choose at our disposal, we also always have the power to change our minds about what we want to materialize.

The power of change, like the power of choice, is one of our fundamental birthrights, and we can use it to work wonders in the realities we each create. To be sure, we may sometimes have difficulty envisioning alternatives, especially when we feel hemmed in by our creations. But those other options are always there, and we can bring them into being simply by opening up our minds to them. A little inspiration can prove helpful under such circumstances, and that’s where the power of film once again comes into play by offering us examples of how to do things differently.

Change can be effected in our lives in numerous ways. Perhaps most fundamentally it can be used to alter the prevailing nature of our reality, a notion aptly illustrated in the quirky comedy-drama, “The Truman Show” (1998). In this truly original offering, everyman Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) is the star of the world’s most popular reality TV show – the 24/7 chronicle of his life – but he’s the only one who’s unaware of it. However, keeping up the façade necessary to pull off this monumental feat is a tremendous undertaking for the show’s producers. So, when noticeable glitches begin to appear in the course of production, Truman’s curiosity is naturally piqued, so much so that he begins to question – and subsequently sets about changing the beliefs governing – the nature of his existence, a process that enables him to become a truly creative master of his destiny.

Similar themes run through the narratives of two Woody Allen comedies, “Zelig” (1983) and “The Purple Rose of Cairo” (1985). In “Zelig,” viewers are treated to an uproarious mockumentary about Leonard Zelig (Allen), a chameleon-like character who becomes a 1920s celebrity sensation thanks to his ability to change his appearance and persona at will to mimic the circumstances and company surrounding him, all just by thinking those qualities into existence. Likewise, in “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” a gallant, chivalrous explorer (Jeff Daniels) disillusioned with his fictional existence steps out of the movie in which he appears and ventures into the real world to meet an ardent fan (Mia Farrow) who repeatedly watches his film to escape her dreary life during the Great Depression. In both cases, the characters come to experience a fundamentally different existence merely by believing in the possibility that changing their circumstances is possible.

Of course, changing the nature of one’s reality generally begins by changing our perspective of what constitutes existence, a notion hilariously depicted in two gender-bending comedies, “All of Me” (1984) and “Switch” (1991). “All of Me” follows the exploits of a harassed, henpecked, altruistic lawyer (Steve Martin) responsible for administering the estate of an ornery heiress (Lily Tomlin) in the days leading up to her untimely demise. But, when her spirit is inadvertently transferred into the counselor’s body at the time of her passing, he must contend with having to share her consciousness along with his own, a change that gives each of them a new perspective about what it’s like to walk in another’s shoes. In “Switch,” a similar story line plays out when a philandering chauvinist (Perry King) is murdered by a trio of jilted girlfriends (JoBeth Williams, Lysette Anthony, Victoria Mahoney). But, when the deceased attempts to enter heaven, he’s denied access because of his treatment of the women in the life he’s just departed. To atone for this, God sends him back to Earth reincarnated as a woman (Ellen Barkin) to see what it’s like to undergo what he had just inflicted on others, a change that proves to be a truly eye-opening experience.

Changing our perspective can be accomplished in other ways, too, most notably by the practice of time travel, a concept explored in a number of films. In “Men in Black 3” (2012), a special government agent (Will Smith) charged with overseeing the alien presence on Earth travels to the past to change the circumstances that spawned a present-day calamity, one in which he must also save the life of his partner (Tommy Lee Jones) by altering the actions of his partner’s skeptical younger self (Josh Brolin). Comparable story lines characterize “Peggy Sue Got Married” (1986), in which a disillusioned middle-aged woman (Kathleen Turner) travels back in time while attending her 25-year high school reunion to assess and reconsider the choices of her past, and “Frequency” (2000), which tells the story of a New York firefighter (Dennis Quaid) and his detective son (Jim Caviezal) seeking to alter the outcome of a 30-year-old tragedy using some unconventional tools of change.

Change can be applied in numerous areas of life as well. Many of us seek to apply it in changing various aspects of our character and worldview, and those experiences can be seen in an array of movies. For instance, the documentary “Time is Art” (2015) follows the odyssey of writer and one-time spiritual skeptic Jennifer Palmer, who explores different ways to change her life through a series of conversations with new thought leaders in a wide range of subject areas. The result is an inspiring, thoughtful look at options for creating a new existence for ourselves.

Changing the conditions of our personal lives is often a powerful incentive for making adjustments to our daily existence. Such is the case in the Italian romantic comedy “Bread and Tulips” (2000), in which an unhappy housewife (Licia Maglietta) trapped in a bad marriage impulsively – and dramatically – changes her circumstances by taking off on an impromptu road trip. A similar scenario plays out in the screwball comedy “What’s Up, Doc?” (1972), in which an obsequious Midwestern musicologist (Ryan O’Neal) bullied by an overbearing fiancée (Madeline Kahn) makes a radical change to his life thanks to a chance encounter with an uninhibited free spirit (Barbra Streisand) while on a trip to San Francisco. Starting over is also a theme that permeates the charming comedy-drama “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” (2011), in which a group of discontented British seniors (Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Ronald Pickup, Penelope Wilton) resettle in Jaipur, India to begin a new chapter in their lives, guided by their infectiously optimistic hotelier host (Dev Patel). In each of these films, the characters find a new sense of fulfillment simply by changing their minds – and what springs forth from them.

Implementing changes to our calling in life is possible, too. In “Malcolm X” (1992), director Spike Lee’s biopic details the transformative life of its title character (Denzel Washington) from a life of crime and drugs to one aimed at seeking justice for the African-American community by becoming one of the most charismatic civil rights leaders of the 1960s. In a different vein, “Black Swan” (2010) tells the story of a budding virtuoso New York ballerina (Natalie Portman) looking to expand the range of her talents to include both her sweet and gentle side (in which she’s already proficient) and her untapped dark side, both of which are essential to successfully portray the lead role in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Meanwhile, in another part of the Big Apple, “Working Girl” (1988) follows the exploits of a Wall Street secretary (Melanie Griffith) seeking to move up in the financial world by employing some unconventional tactics, much to the delight of her smitten collaborator (Harrison Ford) and to the consternation of her conniving boss (Sigourney Weaver).

Relationships with family and partners are another area often ripe for change. For example, the classic family drama “On Golden Pond” (1981) explores the often-contentious relationship of a curmudgeonly retired professor in ill health (Henry Fonda) and his free-spirited daughter (Jane Fonda) during a summer vacation at the family’s New England lakefront cottage, a process skillfully mediated by the perpetually cheerful family matriarch (Katharine Hepburn). In “The Kids Are All Right” (2010), changes in the nature of relationships between partners, as well as between parents and children, are up for grabs when a curious 18-year-old (Mia Wasikowska) seeks to locate the sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo) who assisted her lesbian parents (Annette Bening, Julianne Moore) in giving birth to her and her brother (Josh Hutcherson), a move sure to shake up things in this unconventional household.

Change is positively pivotal when it comes to altering the political, economic and social landscape, a theme recurrent in numerous film offerings. Take, for instance, the rise of the women’s movement, a sweeping social change chronicled in the excellent documentary “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry” (2014), a tribute to many of the unsung heroes of this groundbreaking initiative. Similarly, other pictures capably explore the emergence of other significant initiatives, such as “Testament of Youth” (2015), the biography of Vera Brittain (Alicia Vikander), a former World War I battlefield nurse who helped spawn the 20th Century pacifist movement; “Freeheld” (2015), a fact-based drama about a lesbian couple (Julianne Moore, Ellen Page) seeking to secure equal rights for survivor benefits for same-sex couples; and “Taking Woodstock” (2009), a fact-based comedy-drama about the famous 1960s musical festival and how it and its founder (Demetri Martin) helped cement the influence of the counterculture in reshaping American society.

It’s been said that one of the few constants of life is change, even if we don’t always recognize it as such. And, when it does come along, it frequently feels imposed on us, especially when it takes us in directions we’d rather not go. But, by embracing the power of change, we can drastically alter the existence we experience, often in ways that bring us tremendous fulfillment. Employing this practice in our conscious creation efforts can yield results that astound and satisfy, taking us to places that exceed our expectations.

Copyright © 2016, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.

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