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What Lion Taught Me

By February 24, 2017No Comments

I love the movies! Currently, I am preparing for the Oscar Party I will be attending Sunday afternoon by seeing some of the nominated movies.

Often movies allow us a peek into the psyche, motivation and beliefs of the characters. which in turn gives us an opportunity to examine our own beliefs and motivations. “Sad movies always make me cry.” Happy movies make me cry too. I like going by myself because I am  not a “pretty cryer.” In fact, I experience swollen red eyes and a lot of snot. There is not a pretty way to say that. I am a person who easily suspends disbelief and I welcome the characters into my heart. Then, if the movie has tender parts,  I am a blubbering mess by the end of the film.

No matter how many times I watch “A Wonderful Life,” I cry, when people are praying for George Bailey,  when George is presented with a bucket of money, and when Zuzu explains that another angel got his wings, I weep. 

If you haven’t seen the movie Lion, I invite you to watch it when you can. It is a true story of Saroo, an adorable five-year old boy from a small village in India who finds himself thousands of miles away from home, lost and alone in Calcutta, unable to communicate with the people he meets because they don’t speak his native Hindi. He lives on the streets, sleeping on cardboard boxes, scavenging food from dumpsters and almost being sold for nefarious purposes. He finds himself in an over-crowded orphanage, where he is adopted by an Australian couple. He was a sweet child and his new parents were loving and kind. He seemed to have a happy, well cared-for childhood, and then as a young adult, triggered by some candy at an Indian party, he starts to reflect on his mother, brother and baby sister. He knows that his mother has been worried about him.he imagines that is brother has been looking for him every day for 25 years. He is homesick for his roots. 

Saroo had a deep love for both his biological mother  and his adoptive mother. He cared for his siblings both in Australia and in India. 

Against all odds, he was reunited with his Indian mother who expressed her deep gratitude to his Australian mother. It was  a happy ending.

So what moved within me that I was awash with tears for most of the movie? I empathized with the human condition. Saroo was so small in such a large city.  He was cold, hungry and alone, completely vulnerable and living on his instincts.

I have never been completely alone. I have never had to live on instinct. But I think I tap into a universal fear of “There isn’t enough.” Or what if there isn’t enough?

I was counselling with someone recently and we together determined that old fears were driving this person, not to make bad decisions, but to torture himself with the possibilities of what could go wrong.These fears were irrational but were keeping my client awake at night. When he saw the benefit of acknowledging the fear and thanking it for the gifts it brought, he was able to let it be, to let it become something he noticed, no longer something he ran away from.

Going to movies by myself, helps me feel my feelings safely without being seen. Without being vulnerable. But what if being vulnerable is a way of being strong. What if what I was responding to was the courage and vulnerability of a small child. Maybe the small child within me needs to know she is safe to be herself. She is neither alone nor starving. If a five-year-old child could wander the streets of Calcutta and survive, I am certain that a mature woman can be vulnerable and even thrive.

What do you learn about yourself from the movies?