Beatriz at Dinner: In Need of a Better Ending! (Health Theme)

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Hi All. So I watched Beatriz at Dinner this week, expecting an excellent story with John Lithgow and Salma Hayak in the top roles. At first I was delighted and of course, the acting was superb by these two distinguished Thespians. But the ending…oh my! This story cries out (to me) for a Better Ending! And as the protagonist Beatriz, played intensely by Hayak, is a Healer from Mexico in the story, I want to rewrite the story to bring a more positive message to the Healer motif.

Beatriz is an intuitive healer and masseuse.  She is very—let’s say, overly—sensitive in the story to injury to any animals or humans. She can feel their pain to the point that she has become unbalanced by the cold reality of indifference. Doug, her nemesis as it plays out in the story (Lithgow’s role) is a financial developer mogul. He has succeeded often at the expense of wildlife or native occupations of land he has acquired to build his empire of hotels and other big developments. So, this becomes a story about class inequality and depicts a clash of viewpoints between Beatriz and Doug that gets magnified and intensified within Beatriz as she entertains the notion of murdering the wicked seeming mogul…

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 I will not tell the story to its film conclusion here, so as not to be a spoiler. Let’s just say I found the current ending disturbing, as was intended.

I believe in Better Endings! To me that is a natural principle that gives anyone the creative license to change any story they wish (especially, their OWN!) So then, how would I personally rewrite the plotline development of Beatriz at Dinner?

I would start just after Beatriz has met Doug at her client’s high-class dinner party and (been) retired to her room. I would have her devise something magnificent, not destructive, to teach a vital, transformative lesson to Doug that might effectively alter his perceptions about his own empire and bring him to some possibly life changing (and life enhancing) transformative concepts that he can implement to benefit not just his own but everyone’s world.

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Like in the wonderful film of Powder, first Beatriz can intuitively link Doug to sense the pain of the African rhinoceros he was so proud of hunting and killing. Let him feel that pain so he can commit to never hunting again and to supporting endangered animal programs with his wealth.  Then maybe Beatriz could also tap Doug in telepathically to the lives of some of the peoples his hotel projects have displaced or impoverished.  As Doug has been a TED talk speaker, let him change his tune, go spend some time in these native communities, and revise his approach to development, building compassion and opportunity for local people into his approach.

Maybe Doug and Beatriz, recognizing the kismet of their connecting at the dinner party, could eventually team up and she could help to lead him to use his money and power for the greater good! Maybe they receive a Nobel Peace Prize down the road for their beneficial collaboration.

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images are from pixabay.com

Please note, Better Endering is not about better writing or about critiquing authors. It is about CREATIVE RE-VISIONING, a principle we can all apply to our own lives to manifest the higher, greater life potentials of our deepest imagining.

I welcome your insights and story!

Finish A Dream: Your Goal Fulfilled

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(Re-blogged from The CrazyBagLady@BulanLifestyle)

Some twenty years ago I dreamed I was hiking along a high mountain trail. Several others were also on a trek to reach the top of this peak. It was a hard trail with a steep, rocky incline in hot weather that seared the skin. Many turned back; only a handful reached the top, singly. I was among these, arriving at the apex after a long, winding ascent.

Finally at the top, I see there is a canyon chasm between the edge of the mountainside I have scaled and what I know to be my true destination: an even higher peak separated from the one I am on by a huge divide.

At first I believe I may be able to cross, for there are steps, suspended in space, hovering between the two peaks. One of the other climbers starts across these floating steps, but they become narrower and further apart as the aspirant attempts to bridge the gulf. He turns back, returns; the steps drop into the gorge as he steps back onto the ledge at the top of the canyon.

The others leave, descending back down the mountain. I stay, alone, gazing across to the realm I desire to reach. I am passionately aware that I have worked so hard to reach this plateau, only to find my deepest goal seemingly impossible to attain.

There is a picnic table at the canyon edge. I sit at the table, not wanting to give up, not knowing how I can go forward. A woman appears and comes over to stand next to me at the table. She seems an Ancient one, yet ageless. She has salt-and-pepper hair, dark eyes, light skin—she reminds me of a person I know to be highly enlightened in my outer life.

“How can I ever get over there?” I implore of this woman whom I know to be a Guide.

“How would you get to another planet?” she replies.

Then, I am alone again; the Guide has disappeared.

I awaken in bed, bemused by the dream, saddened to learn it “was only a dream”. It felt so real, like I was finally “almost There,” to the fulfillment of a spiritual Quest.

Now, many years later, I recall this dream. The feelings are still potent, the desire as ardent as it was then.

I sit for contemplation, return to the picnic table AS IF I have never left.

“How would I travel to another planet?” I ask inwardly, suddenly aware of the obvious solution.

“Direct projection,” I utter in silence. Assume the destination-state accomplished; be-here-Now.

I walk to the edge of the cliff, sit tailor fashion; appreciate the rarified atma-sphere, quiet serenity. I close my eyes, open inwardly, sing a mantra syllable as pure as the air is high: Hu. I become this Sound, resonate with its pulse as a warm, glowing Light.

I open my Heart to just BE. Feel… SHIFT.

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Open eyes: a Temple nestled in a misty enclave. Light forms come and go from round platforms surrounding a domed spire. Blues in magenta, iced in golds and white.

Approach. Friendly beings exchange silent greetings as we pass. Enter temple—Door always open, an archway. Inside is still open space, nature, gardens, rooms that appear as I imagine a purpose: library, classroom, stables with horses. I explore, unlimited. See a fountain, sit at a gossamer bench around it, close eyes to listen to the Flow.

Open eyes: sitting tailor fashion, looking across the Canyon. See? A picnic table, across the gulf, far from where I AM.

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               Complete a dream according to your deepest desire. Imagine life as you assume it to Be, your Heart and Soul fulfilled.                 – lw

Television Better Endings

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By now we have applied Better Endings as a principle to a wide range of topics, ranging from creative revisioning of movie endings and historical events to personal decisions, childhood events, and conversations.  We have been finding that putting this principle into action in one domain can carry over onto others.  Better Endings as a general principle can help us to be more mindful in day-to-day life as we realize we always have a choice, moment by moment, to proactively construct a path to the most desirable outcomes for all concerned. This allows us from our present vantage point to be cognizant of the past while attentive to where we wish to be heading from Here (and how to get there). If we go back to one of our earlier realizations from this blog, the Present is a doorway to alternate future ‘worlds’; so our choices Now can adjust the aperture or likelihoods for future conditions.

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This week we return to a creatively playful theme of Television Better Endings. When I was in my teens I remember maybe the first time I ever thought of the principle of ‘better endings,’ when the television series The Fugitive ended. Finally Dr. Richard Kimball could get back to his life; the one-armed man who had ransacked his home and murdered his wife (for which he himself had been wrongly accused and imprisoned) was captured. Kimball’s innocence was affirmed; he was a free man. Well, that’s a good ending, if fairly predictable; it tied up loose ends of the story so the series could end. But I thought it would have been deviously fun if at the very end, after the newly accused man was safely behind bars, Richard Kimball might be walking along a private California beach near his home in the moonlight, and he would unscrew his own prosthetic arm and fling it into the sea!

So, Better Endings as a principle applied to television doesn’t necessarily have to be ethical; but still, what might my The Fugitive ending say about me (or, one you might write or ‘right’, about you)? Maybe I just saw Richard Kimball as a man of mystery to the end. For him to have finally, once and for all, outsmarted the deputy marshall Girard who had hounded his footsteps through the whole series would seem to have been justified, albeit in a twisted way.  As a teen I suppose I wanted Kimball (or the actor David Jansen)’s freedom more than anything else.

Most of the television I watch these days is either informative (e.g. Through the Wormhole, The Universe, programs on Stonehenge, etc.), sci-fi oriented (re-runs of Star Trek NG), or historical. The only series I pay any attention to any more is The Big Bang Theory, which I have become rather addicted to since my last cross-country drive.  I’ll have to play with these a bit to be able to offer any fine applications of Better Endings to such fare or others.

How about you? What television shows or series hold your attention these days, and why? How might they or a particular episode end ‘better’ or how might earlier TV stories or series have ended more to the liking of your creative re-imagining?

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Have fun! I invite all Comments, story suggestions, and Stories!

Mindful Speech, and Silence

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Mindful listening means being truly and fully “in the Present,” attentive within the immediacy of a communication Moment; not thinking about what you will say next, not fixated on what was just said.

One basic, fun exercise that might help you to be more Mindful in the Moment is to give yourself the grace to experience five minutes (or more, but few can go this long) without using language, at all. That means: “Do not talk, do not think, for thinking is but talking in one’s head” (from “Zen and Now”, a 1970’s documentary). During this language free respite, if someone talks, do not decipher what they are saying. If you pass a written sign, do not focus on it or decode it. Quiet the mind even while you move through nature or your everyday environment.

I start an Introduction to Linguistics class every year with this 5 Minute assignment of not using language. Students tells me it allows them to understand language—the human condition to a large extent, yes?—in a new light.  What are you without language? You are more OPEN to the immediacy of the Moment.  When you Listen Mindfully, you can extend this exercise by aiming to clear your mind while the other person is speaking. Pause before you reply, allowing what you just heard to filter deeply through your consciousness. Allow that new input to be processed before you respond. I find that if I take the time to practice this degree of Mindfulness in a conversation, I and my interlocutor may be amazed and surprised at the creative directions our conversation…or its absence even…might take.

Which brings up another aspect of communication that we often overlook: Silence.  Silence is a big part of every conversation or communication, though we Anglo Americans anyway tend not to recognize or to use it as such. In many cultures, for example notably among the Quakers and Amish and among Apache and Navajo Native Americans, silence is a communicative form of expression, an art all its own. Quakers aim to speak sparingly and when they do speak, to be a vehicle only for the most humble expression of divine love and simplicity. Apaches and Navajos know when not to speak, allowing any potentially conflictual exchange to be mediated and tempered by silence. American Anglos tend to be overly talkative, seen from one of these other cultural perspectives. It is as if we feel a need to crowd the air with noise to avoid the embarrassment of too much silence between us. But what are we missing in the interstices? Try sharing a meal or an hour of pure silence with a loved one—no TV allowed!

Each culture has its own conventions about communication, and we learn these conventions by the time we are able to talk. These conventions help us to hold a conversation according to the norms of our community. We also develop patterns of communication within our family, at school, or at the workplace. You can see these patterns or constraints most clearly when you consciously “violate” a convention. Try driving up to a McDonald’s window, for instance, and ask for a spinach salad, or a medium rare prime rib dinner. That’s a mild example. There are rules, norms and conventions for communication—some call them discourse scripts—for just about any kind of situated talk. Who can speak how, to whom, under what circumstances, and to what effect, are basic questions that define the sociolinguistics of communication.

My point with these examples is this: if you want to achieve Better Endings in your communication overall, whether for writing or for genuinely improving a relationship, first aim to understand what you DO NOW, in order to decide what you would like to be doing. If you find yourself overly constrained or habitual in your communication style or in “rules” of communication you have grown up with, try changing those conventions, mindfully, with positive, conscious INTENTION.

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Changing a communication pattern, style, or convention reflects and can also establish a change in consciousness. Understanding and then changing a pattern of communication in a relationship can change that relationship, “for Good”!

I look forward to your Comments, Insights and Stories! As always, I wish for you Mindfulness, and Joy!