In this unabashedly romantic film, an elderly woman approaches playwright Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve) and presses a pocket watch into his hand whispering, “Come back to me.” Years later, Collier becomes obsessed with a picture of an early 1900s actress (Jane Seymour) and discovers that she’s the woman who gave him the watch. Collier wills himself back in time to find the woman, and the pair begins a love affair out of time.
Starring: Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, Director: Jeannot Szwarc
This is one of my favorite films of all time. In fact this film is the one that caused me to begin looking to film for examples and guidance on my own path of personal growth. While it did very poorly at the box office in 1980, it has become one of the most loved and owned films of all time. This is understandable on many levels. Whether you have seen the movie once, twice or a dozen times, I’d like to invite you to watch it again from the perspective I’m going to talk about in this issue of the Seekers Guide To Great Movies.
What’s in it for us? A very clear example of a powerful first step toward creating the life that you want. It sounds something like this:
Imagine yourself surrounded by the conditions that you would like to create in your life. Another way to put that is, to begin with the end in mind.
At one point in the film, this first step is exactly what Richard Collier, played by Christopher Reeve, is doing when attempting to travel back in time to be with the beautiful Elise McKenna played by Jane Seymour. He re-creates every detail of his room at the grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island to reflect a reality nearly 80 years before. In his first attempt, after he has imagined himself surrounded by the conditions that he would like to create in his life, he is unsuccessful because of a single detail. If you’ve already watched the film, you’ll remember the scene well. If you haven’t watched the film this won’t spoil it for you. His failure is caused by his use of a cassette tape recorder to play an affirmation that represents where he wants to be in time. And no matter how hard he tries, he does not succeed because the tape recorder cannot exist in a turn-of-the-century hotel room. How is the tape recorder relevant to the life creation model that is being demonstrated?
The tape recorder is a metaphor for an unsupportive or negative belief that keeps us from having the life that we want.
As the scene unfolds Richard realizes that the tape recorder is preventing him from achieving his desired goal. He eliminates the tape recorder from the visualized reality he is trying to create and succeeds in traveling back in time.
The realization of what was keeping him from achieving his desired goal, is a metaphor for a moment of self-discovery, when one becomes aware of limiting beliefs and thoughts that keep us from living the life that we want to live.
In real life we don’t find those under the bed! We find them through self inquiry, by asking ourselves questions like; What do I believe? And how do these beliefs support the fulfillment of my desires?
Back to the film. Once Richard has successfully relocated himself back in time we get to enjoy the rediscovery of the love they have for one another. This whole film is pregnant with metaphor and powerful concepts they can help to guide us on many levels so there is a lot of other stuff here that we could talk about. But I’m just going to stick to the one concept for you to explore.
As we near the end of the film, there is a moment, after a night of love, when Richard is clowning for his beauty Elise. He reaches into the pocket of his dated suit, the comical subject of his performance for her, and produces a penny revealing a date from the future. The moment he sees penny’s date, his new reality is shattered and he is instantly transported back to his own time 80 years in the future. It is an especially powerful scene, tragically romantic, the kind of stuff that great movies are made of, but what’s in this scene for us?
The penny is another metaphor for the power of our personal belief systems to make or break our efforts at living the lives that we want to live.
The penny has the same effect on Richard’s reality as a single unsupportive belief can have on the fulfillment of our own desires. In the movie Richard realized the tape recorder was preventing his success. He eliminated the tape recorder, but he did not assess his environment for any other things that could turn up and suddenly make the reality that he managed to create impossible! Ouch.
Here are the specific metaphors related to this approach and the creation of our lives.
|Richards tape recorder||= a limiting belief|
|Richards hotel room||= our core belief system, our paradigm, the way we look at the world|
|The Penny||= equals other limiting beliefs we hold.|
The contents of our minds contain a lifetime, of memories, experience, thoughts, habits and scripting. Much of which we are not consciously aware of. The spare change of the mind, if you will! But the reality is that many of those items by their very unconscious existence within our core belief systems are clearly saying no to the reality that you imagine your self living in.
To change our beliefs is to change the way we see the world. ……. Things are exactly how you look at them. Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at will change.
The process of personal growth and self-discovery is an exciting and never-ending process. You could say that it is the unfolding of awareness until we are aware of awareness itself! …..What if Richard, had stopped and asked himself what else have I missed? What might I be taking with me into this life that I am imagining, that might not support my desire? It was only a penny! The smallest amount of change, caused his tragic undesired change. When faced with that change, Richard chose to see it as a failure of his attempt to fulfill his desire.
What is hiding in our metaphorical pockets or under the bed of our subconscious? What do we carry with us that could have the same effect? And finally, what about failure? What can we call it that doesn’t mean the end of our journey toward the fulfillment of desire?
We’ll save that one for another movie.
See you at the movies.