We love watching movies where the main character has to overcome one challenge after another, but we don’t often like to be the one facing challenges. What if you could take a step back and see yourself as the screenwriter and come up with the ending you’d like to see?
04:00 – A good question to ask if you’re feeling challenged by life
08:30 – Your epic fails are often what activated your greatest qualities
10:30 – Which stories or movies have you seen many times over and why?
16:05 – What we imagine would make life easier, often stunts our growth
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This is Ep 121 – Seeing Your Life as a Movie. Many people love watching movies where the main character has to overcome one challenge after another, but we don’t often like to be the one facing the challenges. What if you could take a step back and see yourself as the story writer and come up with the ending you’d like to see?
Hi, I’m Carla Rieger. And this is the MindStory Speaker podcast.
As I’ve talked about on several episodes, challenges are a part of life and they will continue to come throughout the rest of your life. Now there seems to be more challenges than ever. Not only do people have their personal everyday issues, there are world issues disrupting people’s every day life.
Now in the big picture, challenges are a good thing, even if it doesn’t feel that way in the moment. Because if life didn’t give you challenges, you wouldn’t evolve. And that not only applies to human beings, it applies to every life form on earth. Life is very challenging for every plant, tree, animal on the planet. Life presents challenges over and over again for every single species in the world. Because anything that doesn’t get challenged, becomes very fragile, imbalanced and tends to die out earlier than those that have experienced and learned how to overcome challenges.
So, consciousness grows through being faced with challenges. And many of us see that intellectually, but when faced with a challenge in our life, like right now, it’s easy to forget that. It’s more common to feel annoyed, ripped off by LIFE, frustrated, maybe even like a victim of your circumstances. That’s a normal first response, but if you stay in that response for a long time, you just won’t evolve. This challenge is a gift from life, and you’re not accepting that gift. So life will just keep on giving, out of pure generosity, until you get the gift.
Simple example. I’m about to publish my new visionary fantasy fiction novel entitled, Helio Tropez. Look for a link in the shownotes for more info on the book, if you’re interested. Now, the person who did the formatting did an amazing job, but I made the mistake of only going through the first few chapters to check that everything copied over well from the original manuscript and was laid out in an aesthetically pleasing way. It was. So, I was just about to go to print with the book, when I noticed that starting in about chapter 10 onwards, none of the italics got copied over. And since italics play a huge role in this book, I realized this needed to be fixed before going to print. The person who formatted the book was backlogged with other jobs, and so waiting for him to do it would mean waiting for weeks. So, I felt annoyed, frustrated, ripped off by the service provider, a victim of this circumstance. How would I deal with this?
But since I teach this thing about seeing challenges as a gift from life, I asked—ok, what’s the gift here? I immediately got the message, that it was important for me personally to go through these chapters again. Now if you’ve ever written a book, you know that by the time you’re close to publishing it, you have fatigue about editing it. And, the book had already been edited by two professional editors, so why go through it yet again? So, do I hire someone else who can fix the formatting and do it right away, which would’ve cost a lot of money, or do I do it myself? I decided to do it myself, because I just really want to make sure it was done right, and I’d have to go through it all myself anyway in case that same thing happened again. That ended up being a huge gift. Why? Because I found inconsistencies
that I hadn’t fixed yet in the various plot lines of the story, even though I thought I caught them all, even though my editor thought he caught them all. I found typos and extra spaces, even though I’d had a professional proofreader go through it. It happens. On top of all that, I actually enjoyed going through it again, and it didn’t take me nearly as long as I thought. If I hadn’t asked that question – what’s the gift here? I might have done the whole project in a bad mood, or hired someone else to do it and then all the things I found wouldn’t of been fixed.
Now, I’m sure you have examples of challenges, obstacles, setbacks that started out feeling frustrating, annoying, or even downright offending in terms of what you had to face, and you managed to turn it around, find something good, learned something, grow, become stronger, more resilient, more compassionate, less naïve, wiser because of it.
So, if you’ve done that in the past, you can do that again with whatever you are facing right now. Especially if it’s a challenge you’ve face before, and it keeps coming back, there’s still something there for you to learn, and just opening your mind to that possibility alone, helps magnetize the learning to you.
And as I’ve talked about on other episodes, you wouldn’t want to go see a movie where the characters are not challenged, or read a novel where the hero is has it easy all the time. I’ve been a writer for many years, and have taught storytelling, and used to do improvisational theater, and in all those situations…the golden rule is that you must continually look for how to get your characters in trouble, to feed them one challenge after another and then create how they get out of that trouble. That’s what people want to see. And if you’ve ever watched a movie or read a story that didn’t do that, chances are you lost interest in it early on.
I remember in university I was taking a course on filmmaking and we had to watch this avant-garde film that started out focused on a window, kind of a decorative window on the outside of a house, wide shot. And the rest of the movie was handing in closer and closer and closer to the window. And then the movie ended. And it was a long movie. Then we had to write an essay about it. Now, I’m not saying there isn’t some value to be found in putting all your focus on something mundane for a long period of time, it’s an interesting experiment in focus and how the mind creates all this crazy meaning out of nothing, which is a form of mindfulness training. But, let’s just say…that movie never became a blockbuster hit.
When I started writing plays, short stories and novels back in my 20s, I saw the crossover between stories we love and a life well lived. That golden rule helped me see myself as a character in a novel or movie, and how would I, as the writer, find a creative solution. Many of the earlier episodes in this podcast go into how to create stories if you’re interested in using that as a communication tool. Then in our book MindStory Inner Coach there is a whole chapter on how to write out the story of your life like it was an epic screenplay or novel, which helps you relook at all those challenges as badges of honor instead of proof that you’re a loser. So, all those epic fails, setbacks, challenges, hardships, obstacles, missed opportunities…all made you who you are today…in the best possible way. Many of your best qualities are BECAUSE of all those things you had to face.
Now the really good movies, the ones people most want to see, is where the main character gets challenged, and the challenge brings out a change in the character. Those are the movies that usually get great reviews. Not so good are movies where the challenge gets revolved in an external way, like the bad guy is finally eliminated. The ones people watch over and over again are where the character becomes more conscious, more evolved because of the challenges.
So think about any movie you have seen more than once, if you are into movies, I realize some people are not, or they prefer novels, or documentaries or nonfiction. But if there’s a song or movie that you wanted to experience over and over again, chances are there’s some theme within that, at a substructure level, that’s almost not perceivable to the conscious mind, but is magnetizing to the subconscious. So in those cases, you already know what’s going happen the movie, but you want to see it again. You want to watch someone awaken, and see how they participate in the challenges they face. Even if it’s a funny movie. One of my favorite movies of all time is, Groundhogs day, with Bill Murray.
When that movie first came out it didn’t do so well in the theaters, but it became a cult hit, meaning many people list that as a movie they’ve watched over and over again. I think that’s because it shows the main character becoming more and more conscious. He suffers, and suffers again, and suffers again because he stuck in the same day over and over again, and he can’t get out. This is of course the state of the false, self ego self. It’s like the game the soul signed up for, where you forget your true self, you get a meshed in this false self, and then the game is to find your way out from the darkness into the light. That’s why we love seeing movies about people doing that. You can learn a lot about your own struggles, by seeing a character go through struggles, even if the details of the struggle are different, the way they go about solving it, is usually something you can apply to your own life.
And in the movie Groundhog Day, we see somebody very much lost in the trappings of the false self, who ends up being stuck in a job he hates, in the town he hates, seeing people that he hates, trying to pick up the woman who produces a show, played by Andie McDowell, who refuses him every time. Finally he can’t stand the suffering anymore, so chooses not to hate things around him anymore. He just accepts and then suddenly experiences the very same things he’d been experiencing in totally different ways. When I listened to an interview with the creators of the film, Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis, they said, in their minds, the character lived that same day, groundhog’s Day, February 2, at least 10,000 times. That’s not stated overtly in the film, but it’s implied. So after about 10,000 times of hating things around him, he decides to accept things just as they are, he learns to love the guy he knew from high school who tries to sell him life insurance every time they meet, he be friends and starts to help the cameraman on his film crew rather than bully him, help people in the town instead of ridicule them, and then lo and behold, the Andie McDowell character starts to be attracted to him. Everyone loves him, because he loves and accepts them. Any then he says to her, actually this place is so nice, let’s stay. And that’s when life allows him to finally wake up to a new day, it’s the first day in 10,000 days where it’s actually February 3 instead of February 2. He’s free to leave when he accepts life just as it is, learning what he needs to learn, and realizing that the challenges were ultimately self-created, and therefore could be changed by the self.
I think people love that movie so much because it’s so accurately reflects life. There’s an old quote, the more you complain, the more God lets you live. Maybe that’s why so many really old people, our crotchety complainers. And conversely, sometimes you see people make a huge shift in consciousness about what life is really about, come to a clarity about life, come to an inner acceptance of themselves, and then they die. It’s like, God said, you got it, you can go now. And you move on to some other great adventure, depending on your beliefs in the afterlife.
Yet, if you think about it you wouldn’t want that to be the movie of your life. Most people wish the challenges didn’t happen, that the movie of their life would be boring. They love to watch movies with other people getting in trouble, but what happens to them, they complain and think this shouldn’t be happening to me.
So, of course I’m talking about the challenges that are an inevitable part of your daily existence. And even as you awaken, you get challenged by the gravitational pull of the unconsciousness within yourself, AND also the unconsciousness within other people around you, that you live with, that you work with, relatives, friends – together all interacting in a cauldron of alchemical reactions.
And that’s when the mind will go into an “if only” fantasy scenario. It’s where you devise a list of things that you would need to get rid of your challenges. If I only had enough money, then I wouldn’t have to work, I could get massage every day so I wouldn’t have a backache, I would have someone cook me really healthy food, they’d do the grocery shopping and clean up afterwards so I wouldn’t have to do all these mundane tasks – then all I would do is meditate, exercise, live in nature breathing clean pure air, not be disturbed by noises, or other people’s issues. Anyone you have to deal with, you would just pay them. You have to have enough money to pay all the people around you so that they would feel they had to be nice you all the time. In that way are not being challenged by obnoxious humans anymore. And you may reach a moment, after spending a few months or years in this wonderful easy life… you might find yourself going into withdrawal. Where are all my juicy conflicts, challenges and issues?
Because many people are hoping that the absence of challenges will facilitate their growth, but it’s actually the opposite. Because you would find your level of presence actually decreases. You go on a kind of autopilot, we take things for granted, where there’s no contrast between good and bad, easy and challenging… It all becomes a blur of okayness. Of course times like that in your life are good and necessary, but if you live your whole life like that, then you will not grow very much. Maybe you don’t need to grow very much, maybe some people just want a whole life where things are really easy. Nothing wrong with that. But if you came here to learn, to be on an adventure, to be present, to explore and discover… You’ll want a few good juicy challenges.
So, whatever arises in your life, it’s a kind of spiritual practice. It’s a practice designed just for you, a gift from life. Life or maybe you might even call it a higher self, is the screenwriter of your life, and has cast you as the hero. And most heroes, if you’ve noticed watching any kind of epic film, almost always are reluctant to go on the adventure at first. Frodo would actually like to stay in his Hobbit House, and not follow Gandalf to the Mountain of Doom. Bill Murray’s character definitely doesn’t want to stay stuck in the same town on the same day 10,000 days in a row. But, he’d still be the same old curmudgeon if life hadn’t given him that gift. In the Lion King, Simba hates to have to leave his family just to survive after his uncle kills his father… Kind of the same plot line as Shakespeare’s Othello.
So whatever challenge you are dealing with now, become compassionate with your reluctance to go on the heroes journey, whether it’s a big problem or a small one. Within that challenge are the seeds of great opportunity. This is one of those life skills that if you learn it, it comes in so amazingly handy, on so many occasions. And is one of the best things you can ever teach to young people. You feed them for a lifetime when you do.
Now, as I said, my publishing company Golden Age Timeline is just about to publish Helio Tropez, a visionary fantasy fiction novel. So, if you read books, and love a good page turner …this is for you. Now you may want to know more about the book in the meantime, so just go to GoldenAgeTimeline.com/book to find out more. You’ll get to see a description of the book and check out the first few chapters in both written and audio form. That can hopefully help you decide whether you’d like to read it or not.
In case you don’t know, Visionary Fantasy fiction is a genre with mind, body, spirit themes and perspectives, including consciousness expansion, spirituality, mysticism, time travel and parapsychology. So think The Celestine Prophecy, The Alchemist, Illusions or Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Maybe you’ve read books like that in the past.
I would say the book, Helio Tropez, is like The Celestine Prophecy meets Mists of Avalon meets Jupiter Ascending. It centers on a time traveling man and his adult daughter. She lives a normal life until she discovers they are descendants of an advanced race of subterranean humans trying to help surface humans evolve. So far, it’s gotten great reviews from advanced readers. For example,
This is the best story I have come across in a very long time. The concept is original and mind-blowing, and the characters are completely believable. I couldn’t put it down.
And from another reader…
I don’t say this often, but I was genuinely hooked by Helio Tropez from start to finish! It’s a rare gem!
Also, check out MindStory Inner Coach. You can go to Chapter 10 and fill in the blanks in terms or rewriting your life as a mythic, hero’s journey. You can also use our 5 part AVARA Model to discover a different way of seeing challenges in your life, finding the gift — it’s unbelievalby effective in turning something annoying, hard, frustrating or debilitating into something you’re grateful for.
Just go to mindstoryacademy.com.
So do check out MindStory Inner Coach at MindStoryAcademy.com, FREE tab, or Helio Tropez, at GoldenAgeTimeline.com/book. Or see the links in the shownotes. Right now they are both available for free. So, that’s it for today. Thank you for listening and we’ll see you next time.