I don’t own a TV. Life is better that way. I spend most of my free time participating in community events and perusing the internet for spiritual and personal development articles (and maybe articles on the current energies and astrology, crystal healing…). Which means, I almost never know what movies are playing.
However, there is this one movie that’s out right now that seems to have gotten a lot of attention from people in my life and after hearing multiple people talk about it (and seeing the cutest infographic on Facebook about all the different feelings) I knew I had to watch it.
Image Credit: Vox.com
So, I drove on over to the Cinelux in Campbell (a great little gem if you haven’t been there before!) and watched this movie that’s gotten a lot of attention. And no, I’m not talking about Magic Mike XXL.
I watched Inside Out.
Yes, I know that’s a Disney Pixar Movie, which means it’s a children’s movie, but haven’t you noticed these days how so many children’s movies are really talking an adult language anyway?
Anyhows, I’m not so sure I thought the movie was 5-stars, but I do have to say, there was a really great message in there for us. And, it was a really great way to get the message out to people like you and me.
There were definitely some things that I really loved, such as the short film “Lava” at the beginning of the movie. I think I cried the most during that part. It’s a song about a lonely volcano in the middle of the ocean who watched all of the couples (the whales, the dolphins, the sea turtles, and even the clouds) from his perch and he always wanted a love of his own. So he sang and sang a lovely song basically manifesting his love.
He kept singing and singing without losing hope in his ability to manifest his love and towards the end of his days, it got harder to have faith and believe. Little did he know, a little volcano under the ocean heard his song for years and years and couldn’t wait to meet him. His manifesting abilities were working, he just wasn’t able to see it in action.
Then we think he might die without ever meeting her, but by the power of love, she is able to revive him back to his full glory. The two volcanoes were then able to live together in a happy and joyous partnership (I am going to consciously choose to not discuss the fact that the female volcano was basically a baby and the male volcano was much, much older here…).
What I want to point out is that in no way is this a fairy tale. This is a story of the true powers of manifestation and faith in unconditional love. True unconditional love is incredibly powerful, as was demonstrated in this short. The message here: Manifest your dreams and participate in life from a place of pure, unconditional love, and watch the miracles happen. It might not come on your timeline, but have faith and the miracles will occur.
This is where I cried the hardest. Yes, really. I’m linking a YouTube video for your viewing pleasure so you too can see and experience what this pure unconditional love looks like. It’s wonderfully beautiful.
Then, we move on to the movie itself.
I really loved how the movie showed that right off the bat, as soon as we are born, we experience trauma that has an impact on how we view the world. As a therapist who works a lot with unresolved trauma and grief, I really appreciated seeing the trauma lens being applied right from the very first scene.
We move on into seeing how memories are formed and become a part of who we are. Then, we learn who the main characters are. Although the movie is about an 11 year old girl and the internal struggles she has after yet another trauma—a move across the country due to her father’s job—the main characters are really the ones inside her head. These characters are known as: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust (can I just say that I really LOVED Disgust’s character…such a sassy little one!).
For the most part, Joy appears to have full and total control of Riley (our 11 year old girl), trying to really manage a very delicate balance (she is also very codependent, but we won’t go there right now…) and always trying to keep Riley in joyful states. But then, one of the worst things ever happened: The family left their little Minnesota town and moved to San Francisco. EVERYTHING was different.
At this point, all of the characters, especially Sadness, started to take over Riley’s emotions (and understandably so! Moves are very scary, stressful and can bring up lots of anger, sadness, fear, and disgust), and Joy was completely freaking out. Joy’s freak out only gets worse when Sadness starts to “taint” Riley’s memories and she ends up having a core memory (the memories that make up the majority of how we view our world) that is colored blue with sadness, rather than yellow with joy. This causes havoc and we then watch the destruction unfold.
We get an opportunity to see what happens when our emotions get out of control, and when things get out of balance. We start to see how stress can lead to the emotions of sadness, fear, disgust and anger taking over the driver’s seat. We get to see how destructive these forces can be when left to drive our mind unattended and how they cut off our connection with happy and joyful times in our lives. We get to see how quickly this change can happen and how we can go from sweet, innocent, fun loving 11 year old girl, to angry, rageful, resentful preteen suffering in silence alienated from those she loves and driven to engage in dangerous behavior. Then, finally, we get to see how all of these emotions must work together, to balance one another out, in order to restore harmony and balance.
Although the character in the movie is an 11 year old girl, the same principle applies to all of us:
We can be happy, healthy adults, loving our jobs, and having great success in all areas of our lives, but then something happens, perhaps our 3rd boyfriend in a row breaks up with us, and we can spiral down into the depths of despair that lead us to believe we are not good enough, not worthy enough, that there is something inherently wrong with us, and we turn to behaviors such as shopping, eating, drinking, or having random sex with people to help us manage the unmanageable feelings.
Why does this happen? Because we have lost a connection with our true selves (more on that in another post).
Coming back to the movie, and hopefully this is no spoiler, at the end we learn that when all of the emotions work together in harmony, only then can we be healthy and well. Only then can we be restored to sanity.
Another take away message the movie has for us: In order to know one thing, we must know its opposite. Spiritual teachers have been teaching this for ages. In order to know Joy, we must know Sadness. In order to know Love, we must know Loneliness. In order to know Faith, we must know Fear.
We cannot shun or shut out any of our emotions. We must love them all equally. They are all a part of who we are. The movie Inside Out invites us to take a look at ourselves from the inside-out and as a whole and complete person.