I was bemused recently to see “Contagion” trending on Netflix as one of the most viewed movies. I am not sure it would be my choice of movie whilst we are actually experiencing a pandemic, it reminded me a little of being out on a safari game drive with guests who ate game biltong whilst watching its source skip around the savanna – that never seemed appropriate either. It did however get me thinking about disaster/drama/action/adventure movies and the lessons told within the stories.
I wondered if there were some parallels with the current C-virus Situation and whether it would be useful to consider the lessons and their “real life” application.
Lesson 1 – Heroes move among us all the time, yet we don’t notice them until they are relevant.
Often the real heroes in life are the ones right under our noses; the ones that would never consider themselves to be heroes and are quite uncomfortable with the “label”. They are often overlooked by others and taken for granted before the event and rarely recognize they are the hero until they are right in the middle of it all and someone else points it out. They are practical, everyday people who work to solve a problem. They lead from a place of service and inspire through actions (not through making unnecessary noise and peacocking). They are driven by wanting the best possible outcome for all and the reward is never fame or recognition, but rather the quiet satisfaction of a job well done and people helped or safe. There are no capes required, just a willingness to step forward and serve in a bigger way.
Heroism is a lonely and thankless vocation burdened with expectation and open to the criticism and judgment of those who want the result without the effort, risk, accountability and responsibility. Tough times see heroes rise up. After all, to really live involves standing up for convictions and protecting the things and people loved no matter how the odds are stacked against us.
Might there be heroes you have overlooked in everyday life?
Lesson 2 – There are always a few who just can’t help themselves.
There will always be a minority who believe their way is better than the consensus. They will put self interest ahead of what is deemed best for the collective. In movies this is usually the person that gets sucked out of the airplane, eaten by the dinosaur or fails to outrun the burning lava resulting in a rather gruesome end. It rarely ends well for the self-centred, arrogant, ignorant or stubborn. Although I am all for individual expression and bold maverick behaviour, the lesson here pertains to the “me before we” attitude that might lead to things like bulk buying and hoarding instead of considering others and sharing. Nearly always it is the working together for the good of all that usually results in the best outcome and certainly we have seen recently how powerful the collective effort can be when we all agree on what is important and focus our efforts in a coordinated way.
Lesson 3 – The plot thickens and then it twists.
It is never as simple as it first appears and it usually gets a lot worse before it gets better. Just as you think things can’t possibly get any worse … plot twist and you didn’t see it coming! Initially there will be an explosion or one engine will fail but before long everything is blowing up and there is a peak crisis point where everything seems completely hopeless. The solution is invariably practical – it is the hypothesizing, pontificating and overanalysis that causes the delay in action and exacerbates the problem ten-fold.
The good news is that there is ALWAYS just enough time and in the majority of instances it all works out in the end. Yes, the planet may have almost been destroyed. Yes, lots of people suffered and died. Yes, life as we know it will never be the same. But, it will go on. Some will evolve, learn and grow positively out of the pain, struggle and adversity emerging as more resilient, resourceful and courageous in the process. Some won’t and are usually responsible for the three dots and the phrase “to be continued”.
Lesson 4 – They never get it right first time.
There is always a period of learning, training and courage and resilience building, usually guided by the wisdom of a sage or expert (who had probably predicted the whole thing in ample time but was duly ignored or rejected by the governing authority). The hero often has to build up to the task and get truly ready to face the challenge. There will be denial, there will be resistance, there will be anger and a clinging to what is known and understood. Eventually it will become clear that normal rules do not apply and a leap into uncertainty with great faith and a deep trust in self is the only way forward and through the situation.
There is no place when you are in an iconic death star trench run for ill-considered knee jerk reactions, impulsive decisions, irrational emotive outbursts or quick fixes. Success stems from conscious, deliberate actions and the implementation of extraordinary measures. Sometimes it is necessary to take a leap of faith and fully trust the force.
Lesson 5 – The root cause of the problem can be traced back to our way of life.
We create the drama by the way we are living, treating the environment or treating each other. It all goes pear-shaped when: we collect things we shouldn’t (like dinosaur eggs or the holy grail); we try to take short cuts and save money (the oil rig will blow up and the mineshaft will collapse); we build unnatural structures in places of natural beauty; we defy universal laws; or we dump and pollute where we shouldn’t resulting in mutations or rather large asteroids hurtling towards the Earth.
Basically we need to respect life and if we don’t then there will be some form of consequence. There is a natural order to everything, a way to life and work with things and each other and a way to work against them. When we embark on the latter, when we are impatient, ignorant, or arrogant and do not act to in the highest good of ourselves, others and to support balance in the natural world that, in turn, supports our existence – well, then we are asking for trouble.
Lesson 6 – It always gets scary and personal.
Fear is the biggest enemy for anyone to face and that fear usually leads to anger, hate and suffering. The threat extends far beyond the immediate and fear is triggered by potential loss, be it of loved ones or life as we know it. The situation never just involves those in the thick of it, there is a ripple effect. In movies the hero’s children are kidnapped, partner is shot, lover is poisoned without antidote and mother is tied up and shoved in a cupboard.
This threat to the things that are loved not only forces the facing of fear but also results in an awakening and appreciation of what and who really matter. Connection prevails over career; love conquers money; faith swots fear. There is a greater perspective delivered. A reality check. An open invitation to recognise what we are powerless to prevent and to focus on what we have power over (ourselves) and the prioritization of things that actually mean something. We have an opportunity to recognise what was sorely lacking in our previous “normal” and the choice to forge a new, more compassionate future.
Meaning, passion, truth, justice, fairness, love, connection and belonging will always trump fear, revenge, panic, hate, jealousy and materialism.
There is always a sequel. Will this be your reality going forwards?
We say we are going to learn from our individual and collective experiences. We say we are going to change how we operate. We say we are NEVER going to let it happen again, but memories are short and materialism is tempting. We quickly forget when the fear and discomfort subside and we revert back to old ways. Time passes, wounds heal. We get lazy, apathetic, insular, careless. We demand more, better, cheaper, faster. We dispel the notion of consequence – it won’t happen to me.
Within a year or so, maybe a Christmas release, stuff starts blowing up again or a new mutation manifests and we find ourselves right back where we started having to learn the same lessons all over again with a new cast and threat.
Will this be your storyline?
Will you be a bad rerun?
Or have you seen a version of life that you would prefer to live; a new and more powerfully aligned self that you aspire to become?
Will you turn unconscious to conscious, habit to choice and take a leap of faith. Will you commit to live in harmony with self, others, the world and universe.
The C-virus has offered you reset, will you take it?
Time will tell.