12:12:12, Double Vision, Maya Mania, and the “I AM” solution (or, unexpected wisdom from Jim Carrey?)

This is it.  It’s serious now.  Only eight days left until I go missing somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle and Goddess-only-knows what will happen to the rest of you.

So maybe it’s a 2012 thing, but for the past couple of weeks our dog has been displaying a perfect bindi over her third eye:

dog with bindi

OK, so I pasted this one on, but this is how she appears to me these days because I’ve been having a minor case of double vision myself.  Actually, Tasha looks more like this to me now:

our dog now sports a bindi

I’ve had odd and annoying MS-related vision problems numerous times in the past, but I find this episode somehow comforting.  Perhaps Tasha, too, is experiencing the “shift“?  The closer we get 12/21/12, the more willing I am to see the signs.  And they’re everywhere.

Enough to drive one mad.

Take numerology, for instance.  12/12/2012 and 12/21/2012 are purportedly special dates because they both add up to 11, a so-called “Master number”  (1+2+1+2+2+1+2=11).  Some say that noticing or seeing 11:11 everywhere is a sign one is raising her consciousness in preparation for the Big Shift.

In fact, frequently noticing double digits of any sort is supposed to be a clue that one’s DNA is either being recoded to deal with the fifth dimension we are rapidly being propelled into, or a sign to remind us “light workers” and “star seed” who we really are (i.e., weird lonely beings with supernatural skills from other galaxies).

If that’s the case, I’m screwed. 

My Life Path number is 11.  The numbers associated with one version of my full name are 11,1,1, and 11.  My birthday’s Maya Haab date is 11 Mak. (Don’t ask me to explain that one! Just yesterday (12/12/12), I happened to look at the clock at precisely 3:33, 4:44, 5:44, 6:55, 11:11, 1:44 and 3:22.  I had 222 emails in my junk folder at 9:11, 277 at 1:33, plus 22 likes and 11 comments on my new FB picture.  And I woke from a nightmare early this morning at 12:34 — not remembering what the dream was, but absolutely terrified by the sequential numbers (no double digits!) on the clock.

I’m starting to feel like Jim Carrey’s character in The Number 23:

Jim Carey in The Number 23, written by Fernley Phillips

Remember how Carrey’s obsession with that number destroyed his life?  (Incidentally, one of my screenwriting mentors, Fernley Phillips, wrote that script and pitched it to Jim Carrey upon learning the actor’s favorite number really is 23.)  But the connections get odder still.

Two days ago I watched a documentary by director Tom Shadyac called I Am.  I had never heard of the film, but for some mysterious reason the DVD appeared in my Amazon shopping cart last week when I was buying surf wear for next week’s dolphin trip.  It  was literally in my shopping cart — not my “save for later” or “wish list.”  Given my current level of openness to (desperation for?) signs from the Universe, I left it there and checked out.

I completely forgot about it until I watched it Tuesday night, 12/11/12.  

Honestly, this film can change your life if you let it.  I don’t want to spoil anything, but the movie was the perfect counterpoint to the Ecstatic Wealth event I tried to write about last week. In examining what’s wrong with our planet, Shadyac shows how excessive materialism is actually a mental disease we’ve created in our culture, not our natural state.  But the film is uplifting too, and just like another of my favorites, Samsara, it shows how we truly are all connected; even our small actions have the power to change the world.

See it if you can.  But here’s the coincidence:  Tuesday was actually Tom Shadyac’s birthday.  So in preparation for my own big birthday quest, I heard exactly the message I needed to hear on the creator’s birthday.

Neat, huh?

By the way, Shadyac is best known for making Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Bruce Almighty.  He also directed The Nutty Professor with Eddy Murphy — the script I loosely modelled one of my screenplays on last year (supervised by Fernley Phillips, The Number 23‘s author).  Okay, this is my own personal mosaic, but:

Do you see how we are all connected?

And yet I still fluctuate between wanting to believe my mystical, magical, intuitive voice and that still needed, logical, linear, lawyer’s mind.  To satisfy the latter, on Monday night I went to a lecture by Dr. Edwin Barnhart, a prominent Maya archeologist.  He basically said that all the 12/21/12 predictions (both the catastrophic and the enlightened) are crap made up by Westerners, and that the modern Maya are just like the rest of us – they’re more than willing to tell us what we want to hear, especially if this helps their 2012 tourism industry.

Fine.  But I still want to believe in the magic.  I want to swim with dolphins and become enlightened.  I want to believe, as Tom Shadyac does, that we are all connected, and that what I think and do matters.

Yes, I AM the problem.  But like the heroine in Bridesmaids, I AM also the solution:

Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids

“You are the problem, Annie. You are also the solution.”

And so are you.

——-

How do you feel about 12/12/12 and 12/21/12?  Are you using this time to become more aware of things that are/are not working in your life?  Or are these just days like any other?

Samsara, Silence, and School (or, How to be Simultaneously Pissed Off and Incredibly Grateful)

Samsara goddess

Look me in the eyes to see if I am telling the truth.

Samsara eyes

Look me in the eyes to understand me.

Samsara monks

Look me in the eyes to understand yourself.

The above images are from the extraordinary film, Samsara.  I saw it earlier this week now have to ask myself:

Is it possible to be both incredibly pissed off and extremely grateful at the same time?

Grateful because this film makes me realize once again how incredibly blessed I am to live here in my oh-so-comfortable little Newport Beach life.

Pissed off because 98% of the world (I’m guessing at this number, but 1.4 billion people are confirmed to live on less than $1.25 per day) do NOT enjoy my hedonistic lifestyle, and the film forces me to look these people in the eye. 

In high resolution.

I’m also back at screenwriting school this week, which used to be inspiring.  But now I’m a little lost because the two best movies I’ve seen in recent years have no dialogue.  (The Artist is the other one.)  How can my weak little pen compete with all these brilliant 1000+ word pictures?

And after seeing the epic cinematography in Samsara, I’ve changed my mind about travel too.  Who really needs to leave home when you can see the entire world in a ninety-nine minute film?  I’m not kidding … you have to see this movie to believe it.  Shot in twenty-five countries over five years, it’s nothing less than the story of what it means to live on this incredible planet during this extraordinary time.

In the context of Buddhism and other Eastern religions, the term Samsāra refers to the repeating cycle of  birth, life, death, and rebirth (reincanation).  But in the film, I believe Samsara is used more broadly to describe what it means to be a human being living on this overcrowded planet right now.  It does so by showing us the vast array of worldly activities which occupy us, our myriad sufferings and joys thereof, as well as the universally unsettled and agitated human mind through which we perceive reality.

It’s both beautiful and disturbing.

And it makes me completely underwhelmed with myself and this crazy dream of trying to create anything of artistic value with mere words.

Wimpy little words.

You really need to SEE this film to understand.

I hope you do.

In the meantime, I’m off to an Equine Therapy retreat in Tucson this week.  (Because this is the type of self-indulgent activity I choose to pursue in my frivolous little life at the moment.) 

Equine therapy

Nevertheless, I’m hoping to learn something valuable from the horses.   At least I’ll be doing my best to work with these creatures consciously and gratefully.  Does mere awareness count as a start?

—–

Have you seen Samsara?  What did you think?  And how does it make you feel about your life?

Why Protagonists Must Always SUFFER and a Friday Koan for YOU

I’m afraid my story is flawed from the start because even assuming that I am the protagonist of this blog (and who else would seriously want to be?), this blog suffers from other serious storytelling violations.

Writing Rule #1: Protagonists ALWAYS MUST SUFFER:

wet unappy cat

Protagonists must ALWAYS suffer!

But quite apart from my aversion to undue pain and general unwillingness to suffer as true heroines must, this blog has another problem: my goals are far too squishy to form the spine of a good story.

Let’s face it.  What precisely am I seeking here?  Health, Love, Adventure, Abundance, Beauty, Wisdom, Self-Actualization??  (See my “About Page” for my  slightly sarcastic thoughts on becoming Wonderful, Wealthy & Wise.)  Despite the fact that Elizabeth Gilbert earned big bucks for the film adaptation of Eat, Pray, Love, none of my fluffy aspirations usually work in movies because they are non-specific, internal goals (i.e., not cinematic).  And in real life, Tony Robbins would say they’re not even decent goals, because they aren’t measurable.

At least I have one solid story element going for me: a deadline.

December 21, 2012 is just 139 days away.

So what do I hope to achieve before then?  The travel schedule* is still in development, but this is the least of my problems.

(*For those of you who simply can’t stand being left in the dark, here’s a quick preview of what’s to come: playboy clubs and family confrontations  celebrations in Bridesmaids’ territory (Lake Geneva, WI) later this month, equine therapy on a dude ranch in Arizona in September, various adventures in London, Stone Henge, Paris & Normandy in October, the first international Baja Film Festival in Cabo San Lucas in November, and an as yet undetermined location (help by voting!) for my end-of-the-world/45th-birthday celebration on 12/21/12.  Plus, various writing & wine tasting (the only way to write!) adventures in California will be interspersed throughout.)

But what are my specific, achievable, external goals during the next 139 days?  (Believe it or not, this is NOT Tony Robbins speak, but rather screenwriting lingo.)  Here goes:

  • I want to re-write my three screenplays to a presentable level and land an agent.
  • I want to stop feeling guilty for no longer practicing law.  (Shoot, that’s  a pesky internal goal again …)
  • I want my work to pay for my travels, so that I’m not just another trophy wife.  (Is that an external or internal goal?)
  • I want to move to an oceanview home.   (We’re 2.5 miles away now, but those miles cost A LOT, even in this economy.)

Frankly, I have no idea whether these goals are achievable by 12/21/12, but there you have it:  I’ve at least stated my desires publicly and assigned a deadline.  (Tony, you would be so proud!)

But here’s the problem:  Protagonists must always suffer.   Remember the myth of Prometheus and ChironRomeo and Juliet?  Without suffering, there is no story.

 

Chiron saves Prometheus

Chiron saves Prometheus

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, despite what all the gurus say (right before asking you to spend $20K on a “personal intensive”  day with them …)  If I truly want these things (and if I truly did, wouldn’t I already have them?), I’m going to have to spend my time and energy wisely, and be prepared to make some sacrifices.  Just watch any movie; the downfall of the protagonist before she finally sees the light is almost always due to her wanting to gain the most while giving up the least.   (This may sound great in a motivational seminar, but would bore a movie audience to tears.)

Which brings me to the promised Friday KoanWho Are You Without Your Story?

We are all so attached to our stories; and no wonder, neuroscientists now say that attaching meaning to what happens to us is no less a survival skill than learning to run from bears.  Not only do we learn from our pasts, but our very memories are constantly reshaped in order to bring sense to what is happening in our lives right now.

The beauty of Zen koans is that they have no answer.  Or better said, only YOU know the answer.  So, if you could let go of being the protagonist (even for just a second) in your own story, how would that feel?  Is there a suffering you could let go of?  How would that feel?

And isn’t that feeling alone worth it?  Even if you never get that agent or oceanview home or (fill in your goals here: __________________)?

Happy Friday …