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A Flash of Genius: Inception, This Summer’s Blockbuster Movie

I hadn’t felt this way about a film since I was 10 years old, sitting in a packed and darkened theatre, watching Stars Wars. At that moment, even as a little child, I felt I was witnessing a story that was larger than life. Yesterday, I was once again stunned and impressed by the story that unfolded before me in this season’s blockbuster movie, Inception.

As most of you know, I conduct workshops in dream interpretation. I have been a part of workshops for years and write down my most significant dreams in a journal.  Why do I do this? I believe that our subconscious mind often communicates in symbolic terms through dream imagery, and there are golden nuggets of truth to be uncovered when we chose to pay attention to that inner dialogue. There is a memorable quote in Inception that captures the spiritual nature of the dream state:  “It is only in dreams that the mind is creating and experiencing at the same time.”

To get a little synopsis of the movie, Inception: here is a link

The basic premise of this science fiction film is that there is a technology that enables us to enter the mind through dream invasion and sharing. Through this technology one could extract secrets and plant a seed of an idea deep within the subconscious during the dream state.  This idea then could grow and take shape in waking life. Christopher Nolan, who is the writer and director of this film, manages to tell a complicated story of how our memories, projections, and psychological defense mechanisms play such a central role in our decision making.  There are no words to describe the brilliance of the plot, where you are led from one dream state to another deeper one.  The tag line for the film is the true message: “Your mind is the scene of the crime.”

I left the film asking more philosophical questions such as: What is ultimate reality? Do we all go through life with our own version of reality, and how much of it is shared with others? How does our own thinking and memories skew our perception of truth? At what point do our deep-seated emotional experiences bubble up from our subconscious and find their way into our waking life?

This is one movie not to be missed this summer!

The Path of Devotion

This week I have been doing a lot of research and reading for my next project–chronicling visionary women of the 20th century.  It feels like I am giving a gift to myself– to read and learn about the lives of so many people who had a drive and motivation to bring about change in the world, which in turn has affected and inspired the lives of others.

Sometimes we think that changing the world has to translate into social action, but that would make for a very narrow definition of a cultural shift.  Just think about those scientists, authors, philosophers, athletes, and artists who broke boundaries in their fields. They too held true to their passion and managed to bring about a different perspective and vision to the world.  What becomes clear is that whatever these women set out to do, it first started with a very personal desire to fulfill an inner need. They dedicated their lives to its unique expression.  And their approach to their craft was much like their approach to life — it was filled with a spirit of adventure, passion, and an inner devotion to more a over-arching value.

Last week I was researching some of Martha Graham’s clips and interviews. For those of you who are not so familiar with her work, here is a concise bio:

She was an American dancer choreographer regarded as one of the foremost pioneers of modern dance, whose influence on dance can be compared to the influence Stravinsky had on music, Picasso had on the visual arts, or Frank Lloyd Wright had on architecture.

She was the first dancer ever to perform at The White House, the first dancer ever to travel abroad as a cultural ambassador, and the first dancer ever to receive the highest civilian award of the USA: the Medal of Freedom.

Obviously, she is an extraordinary woman.  But what is most amazing to me is that her approach to dance is really a spiritual philosophy of life.  Here are some of the quotes that I found so profound:

You are in competition with one person only, that is the individual you know you can become.”

“The dancer’s life is a creative life–handling the material of the self so that you are able to hold the stage in full maturity and power. You dance with clarity, the deep matters of heart.”


We learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing, or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. One becomes in some area an athlete of God.”

It is obvious that the axioms for fulfillment and success are the same no matter what you undertake.  These women were able to translate these philosophies into the very heart of their lives.  No matter where we are in our journey, there is someone whose life, when contemplated on, allows us to find a richer, deeper meaning in ours than we would otherwise.  This week it has been Martha Graham’s for me!