I saw a wonderful movie – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – and I recommend it. I don’t go to the movies much any more and this was a fancy theater with reclining seats, and charming waitpersons. It even serves lunch. Of course, the price of a ticket is $20. I remember the old Granada Theater of my youth which cost 12 cents a ticket. If you had a quarter to spend, you could have popcorn or candy.
It is more than inflation that brings the ticket price so high. The making of movies with all those special effects and exotic locations must cost a fortune. Even so, I suspect the real reason movie prices are now so high is that going to the movies is such a special occasion. Truth told, most of us rent them or wait till they hit cable.
When I was a girl people went to the movies all the time. At 11, I was charged with three younger children and we walked across town to the movies every Saturday afternoon. We made the trip without fail so my parents could take a “nap”.
Those were the days before ratings, when studios cranked out hundreds of flicks every year. We kids saw horribly dramatic pot boilers, B pictures that were almost unintelligible they were so bad, gruesome propaganda war stories, cowboys with only bad Indians, and a few heavy-duty dramas with great stars like Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart. I don’t remember any brilliant comedies – only Abott and Costello and they were not scintillating.
There certainly were movie critics in those days but I didn’t read them. I don’t remember being very discriminating, although in retrospect, I think I knew that Edward G. Robinson was a better actor than George Raft. I certainly knew that Cary Grant was a genius.
I remember black and white flicks although Technicolor was around for pirate films and some musicals. But what stands out in my memory is the glorious backlighting and flickering shadows in those old fashioned stories. I still watch black and white movies on the TMC channel and never even miss color. Just as black and white photos have an inherent drama and mystery, so do the films.
Once, I tried to remember the books that influenced me as a child and instead of books, images from the movies kept popping up. That was when I realized that movies were such a great part of my artistic impressions and knowledge. Like most Americans, I know more about Gene Kelly than I do Shakespeare.
I learned how to be tragic from Bette Davis, how to be glamorous from Rita Hayworth, how to be self-destructive from Ida Lupino and how to be courageous from Greer Garson. Some of those old stars still hold up when you see them on the silver screen. Gary Cooper, Henry Fonda, Gregory Peck, John Garfield, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Alan Ladd, and Charles Boyer are the leading men of my adolescent dreams.
Now, I watch the screwball comedies such as The Lady Eve, My Man Godfrey, Sullivan’s Travels. Those, along with Bringing Up Baby, Talk of the Town and It Happened One Night get played at least once a year on my TV. What are some of your favorite old movies?
I find the comedies hold up much better than the dramas. I have also discovered that there were some actors I ignored as an early teen who seem very talented now. Chief among these is William Powell. He had perfect timing and the ability to be dignified in the midst of amazing slapstick nonsense.
It isn’t surprising that I prefer the comedies today. I think they are helping to keep me healthy. From the time I experienced breast cancer about seven years ago, I have deliberately and consistently monitored my movies and books. I select the ones with happy attitudes.
I have long believed that what you put into your mind is important and I now choose to follow through on that belief. I make only cheerful entertainment choices. It doesn’t have to be “spiritual” but I don’t need to have it make me gloomy or distressed. Do you monitor your selections of movies and books?
As a result of my decision to monitor my entertainment choices, I’ve developed a new appreciation of musicals. I have also learned a great deal about the movies that came before me – those that were created in the early Depression days when so many were struggling with unemployment and poverty. It was then that so many movies with great songs, such as Pennies From Heaven, Sunny Side of the Street and Look For The Silver Lining were produced.
There is no doubt that movies and their music helped my parent’s generation keep up their hope. There is no doubt that movies reflect the age we live in. I understand why those special effect films that I avoid are naturally fascinating to younger people. I understand and wish them well.
We’re all entitled to our own choices. Many of the movies I watch these days are as old as I am. Truth is, I don’t care for many of the modern flicks. So I’m grateful for the last three movies I’ve chosen to see. I loved them all and they were The Artist, The Iron Lady and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Seen any good movies lately?
Do you monitor your books for cheerfulness?
Do you choose movies that are upbeat?
Do you want to try it for a few weeks?
When I post a new article on this blog it gives me a subscriber count. It is the only hard information I have. Since I like to set goals, I use the subscriber number as a way of monitoring progress. Today, the number is 144 and I am pleased. Perhaps it will be 150 tomorrow.
Of course, the number the computer gives me is simply an indication that the readership is growing. I have quite a few people tell me they enjoy the blog and read it often but they do not subscribe. On the other hand, one subscriber I know thinks I post about every two weeks so she is obviously not a consistent reader.
Despite the subscriber numbers, writing a blog is an act of faith. Is the blog in the room if there’s no one there to read it? I think of it as casting my wisdom upon the waters and I know that it returns to me pressed down and multiplied. I have learned a lot about my life wisdom by writing this blog.
I do thank all you who are reading this article. Your support means a great deal to me. I also thank you in advance for telling your friends about it. Better yet – forward them your favorite blog so they’ll get a taste of my writing style. I do want as many readers as possible.
The number of people who read a blog is not the most important thing. Of course the more readers, the better but integrity is important. So is the impact on others lives. I am writing this blog, usually twice a week, because it is a convenient way to share some of what I know about using spiritual principles to live a better life.
I write it for real people and I try to tell the truth about who I am, what I know, where I came from, and where I want to be. I hope it is helpful to real people who can use a friendly word. After all, I have learned a few things in the last 79 years and one of the things I’ve learned is that we are all connected to each other in ways we do not fully understand. But we really are connected.
There was a time when it was easier for me to see differences than the ways in which we are alike. As I have learned more about spiritual principles, I have learned to see God in myself and in others. In fact, one of my favorite little spiritual exercises is to imagine that I see God in the people I pass in the grocery store lanes. The God I see is not an old man dropped down from the sky and sitting on someone’s shoulder. If it has a form that form is light surrounding the outlines of his or her body.
Most of the time, I don’t see light, I just imagine I see light and that works as well for me. God gave us a wonderful power when She gave us imagination. I like to use it so it will be an even stronger power as I practice. I can imagine many things when I remind myself that God lives in each and every one of us and that God is unlimited.
I may not be able to imagine myself as unlimited but I can certainly imagine stretching the boundaries of my belief system. There was a time when it was difficult to imagine being able to write a blog twice a week. Perhaps I wouldn’t feel up to it. Perhaps no one would read it. Perhaps I wouldn’t have the time.
All I had to do was keep the Perhaps and rewrite the rest of the sentence. It’s simple. Take Perhaps and add what you want. Imagine that you can do it. Perhaps I will enjoy writing a blog. Perhaps I will have at least 500 subscribers soon. Perhaps it won’t take much time.
The trick to using imagination is to make sure that what you put behind the perhaps part of the sentence is something you want. Perhaps you can make that a spiritual exercise for a few days. Perhaps you will enjoy the exercise. Perhaps you will stretch your imagination. Perhaps you will benefit.
Here’s how to do it.
Take a worry – Any worry. For instance, “Perhaps I will not lose this weight.” Write it down.
Now cross it out with vehemence. Write a hopeful phrase. “Perhaps the weight will come off easily.”
That’s the way to play the game. You can do it with crayons, pencils, on a computer or in your mind. The greatest part of the exercise is always the same four steps:
- Decide to play the game
- Write the worry
- Replace with worry
- Thank God for your imagination
Some things are more difficult as one ages. The thing that is always there but seldom talked about is how much closer it is until curtain time. One day, not so long ago, I realized that I had more dead friends than live ones.
I sometimes miss my friends but I am not aware of fearing death. I long ago dropped any fear of punishment for my sins beyond their natural outcomes on Planet Earth. I do believe that some sort of consciousness continues after the Spirit leaves the body. I believe this, at least partly, because of my dead friends.
The fascinating thing about my departed friends is that they are still part of my life. Hardly a night goes by that I don’t have a conversation or visit from one or the other in my dreams. The dreams are always pleasant visits and sometimes I get simple messages.
Do I believe in ghosts? Yes, I believe that a spiritual energy of Love continues to operate in loving ways that could be perceived as ghostly – but not scary. For years, I have said in Memorial services, “Love never dies” and I believe that is true.
Whether you believe in life after death or ghostly energy or reincarnation – or all of the above – is not important. What is important is that you know your choice to express love is important long after you are gone from your body. Lives that express love, famous or not, lighten and brighten the world.
Feeling love makes us happy. The more love we circulate, the happier we are. Those are simple truths to grasp and live as deeply as possible. The choice to love or fear is a common choice for all of us. Choose love whenever you can.
If you are reading this, chances are great that you are part of a human chain of love. You are bound to others who seek, express and enjoy love through the law of attraction. Some of you may feel the need for more love.
The answer to attracting more love into your life is to express what you already have learned more consistently. Be a major link in your chain of love heritage. You learned to love when you were younger from someone who learned when he or she was younger. A chain of love is eternal.
Love passes from one human to another. It is the most beautiful contagion we have. You are a result of the love you have chosen and are now choosing in your life. You have received and chosen love. You are now passing that love on to others. So love never dies.
Isn’t it wonderful that we don’t ever have to reinvent love? It is always waiting, in smiling repose for us to discover, enjoy, use and pass along to others. That phrase, in smiling repose is a quote from my friend, RW Emerson who visits me in books. His love continues through me and countless other Transcendentalists.
I start teaching the Emerson class next week and he is much on my mind but he has been on my mind in some manner since I first encountered his blessed words in college in the 1960’s.
A writer and philosopher like Emerson is direct and absolute proof that love never dies. He has impacted American thinking since his beginning essay, Nature, was published in 1836. He was a direct influence on my loving mentor, Ernest Holmes, who read him constantly as a young man. New Thought, in general, is an outgrowth of Emersonian Mind and Emersonian Love.
Emerson was a great philosopher who wrote abstract ideas. Everywhere he looked, he saw the OverSoul. I am much more apt to find love particularized in communion with loved ones. The beauty of love is that it can be abstract or personal, but it is always the same love.
God is love and the desire to give and receive love is embedded in the original equipment of being human. Love is present in all of us and our task is to reveal it as we travel along life’s journey. It is not a race to be won nor is it a journey to be lost. It is what life is all about at a deep, spiritual level.
We don’t invent love and we can’t hoard it. We simply reveal love to each other, exchanging it without a thought of using it to get a return on our expenditure. Anyone who attempts to use love to get something back is going to be disappointed.
I know about that particular form of disappointment. I didn’t realize it at the time but my love that was used to manipulate was counterfeit in the sense that I attempted to use it as a commodity. Love must be freely given to be real.
Another lesson I’ve learned is that love does not mean that you must let the other person walk all over you. If you want to be loving, you must model self-love and set boundaries.
What do you love right now in your life? Please share you comments on this blog.
Right now, I am loving to be writing this blog. I am loving to have so many wonderful people in my life. I also love that I’ve let go of most ambition and most attachment to material stuff. I’ve definitely learned that cherries require spitting pits out and life is not about bowls full of them but about the free flowing exchange of Love.
What do I love most right now?
Who taught me to love?
Who am I teaching to love?