| One of the many wonderful things about having my granddaughter Nai'a live with me is that we get
to cuddle up on the couch and watch children's movies. Nai'a would watch movies day and night if
she could. She'll watch the same DVD over and over, memorizing lines and learning the songs.
Some of the best storytellers of our time are moviemakers who are not afraid to create rich stories
that deal with the dark and light of life.
In child psychiatrist Bruno Bettleheim's seminal book The Uses of Enchantment he talks about the
importance of old tales in helping children integrate the often difficult and confusing feelings they
experience. He stresses that children need stories that have monsters and challenges presented and resolved. It is
through these sometimes troubling stories that a child learns to integrate his or her often conflicting, violent and
helpless feelings. Originally these folk tales were shared in the dark of night while gathering around a fire. As books
became available to the general public parents began reading stories like Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella to their
children, stories with dangerous wolves and cruel sisters.
Many bemoan the advent of electronic story telling, or movies, but movies are the folk tales of our children's era, and
a number of them are quite good. Of course, there are the fluff movies, such as Alvin and the Chipmunks and others,
but there is also a steady stream of fine movies that present real challenges and offer real solutions in creative and
exciting ways. One such movie is Monsters vs. Aliens. Monsters vs. Aliens is a movie that has grown on me over the
dozens of viewings Nai'a and I have sat through. It is the story of a fairly conventional young woman, Susan, on her
wedding day, who is hit by a meteor and finds herself growing humongous, too huge to fit into the church where she is
becoming wed to the man of her dreams.
How often do we find ourselves going along swimmingly in our life, everything is find and then, BAM!!! out of the blue
life hits us with a proverbial meteor? An accident, a shattered dream, a loss of our lives' work, a break-up of a
relationship... Against her will Susan becomes a monster with super human powers, but she still feels like just a girl from
Modesto in love with a guy. She reluctantly steps into her magical power when threatened with death by an alien and
surprises herself with her own strength.
Don't we sometimes surprise ourselves with our own strength when life pushes us up against a wall? To protect
ourselves or our family, to survive a situation, we do things we never thought we were capable of doing. We go along
contented with our lot in life only stepping up to the plate when forced to. After defeating the feared alien, Susan, when
asked by her fellow monsters, "Did you ever think you could do that?" replied, "No, I can honestly say that I never did."
It's classic for girls to be taught that if they are too smart or too strong or too... no man will want to marry them. In
many cultures, ours included, a powerful woman is considered a threat to men. Spurred on by Derick's rejection, Susan
turns from a victim of her talent to embracing herself fully, hugeness and all. It is then that Susan loses her super
powers that were magically given to her only to discover that their strength is not dependent on the powers that were
given, but the power within her. She goes on to save the world a second time, this time without the power provided by
the meteorite, armed only with her own power, her own courage and strength.
This is a wonderful empowerment myth for our daughters. When I was growing up there was Cinderella and Sleeping
Beauty, beautiful myths but ones that spoke of more a more passive way of being in the world. Today there are more
and more stories portraying strong female archetypes, even nerdy archetypes, who grow into their power and beauty.
It can be awkward and threating for a girl to move into her power, threatening everything she loves and everything that
brings her comfort. It isn't easy for a girl to grow beyond dependence but it wouldn't be a heroine's journey if it was
easy. With more and more encouragement for girls to make this journey it is a good time to become an empowered girl
Stories, like koans, speak to the deep, mythic inner reality that guides us. They help us integrate what we intuitively
know. It is important for both children and adults to nourish the unseen aspects of life. Stories and koans can help
guild us, strengthening us for when life presents its inevitable challenges. The mythic realm nourishes us when we feel
alone in our struggles and touches our inner reality.
What children's movies and stores nourish you and your children? Where do you find mythic strength?
|From The Hearth
The Hearth Foundation is dedicated to the spiritual growth and well-being of mothers through study, practice and
community building activities. While our core philosophy is very much shaped by Buddhist principles and practices,
we are a non-sectarian organization which draws on all Wisdom traditions to further positive mothering experiences
through spiritual awareness and enlightened actions.
IN THIS MONTH'S ISSUE:
|Copyright (c) 2010 by Hearth Foundation. All articles are the copyright of the particular writers and cannot be reprinted without their expressed
permission. All rights reserved. International copyright laws prohibit reproduction of or distribution of this page by any means whatsoever, electronic or
otherwise, without first obtaining the written permission of the copyright holder.
Any advice given is for informational purposes only.
|JACQUELINE'S DHARMA TALK
MONSTERS, ALIENS AND RADICAL GIRLS
by Jacqueline Kramer
|MONTHLY REFLECTION: TRANSFORMATION
"Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal and
transformation in our lives." ~unknown
"The mind, intellect, ego, ether, air, fire, water, and earth are the eightfold transformation of My nature."
NEEDED: YOUR INPUT!: The Hearth Foundation would
like your input to help us in our transformation. Please
take OUR SURVEY to give us your opinion. The survey
will remain open during the month of March.
COFFEE HOUR: We have opened up a new community
board on the forum - a place for you to discuss anything
you can think of - parenting, recipes, ecology, green
cleaning, homeschooling, etc. This is your "coffee break"
place from the classrooms and a chance to really get to
know each other. To start the conversations, please go
to The Commons and begin by introducing yourself!!
ANNOUNCEMENT: The Hearth Foundation will soon be
going by a new name: Radiant Hearth! We are looking
for an image for our new foundation! If you see
something that looks interesting for our cards, brochures
and other materials, please email Jacqueline.
COUNSELING SERVICES: Jacqueline is available for
one-on-one counseling via phone or in person. In order
to set up an appointment email Jacqueline directly.
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January: Beginner's Mind
| UPCOMING EVENTS AND CLASSES:
If you know of an upcoming local, national or international
event which fits in with the Mission of the Hearth
Foundation, such as spirituality, meditation, pregnancy
and birthing, Buddhism, parenting, women's issues,
ecology, education and homemaking, please submit it by
emailing Wendy Myers, so that we may all benefit.
ONLINE BOOK GROUP:
VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY: With these difficult economic
times, many of us are looking at how we can simplify our
lives and our finances. Voluntary Simplicity by Duane
Elgin, is a book about how one family deliberately
simplified their lives. If you are interested in doing a book
group on this book, with the possibility of other similar
books to follow, please email Heather.
~MEDITATION CLASS: For those who have finished the
Shrine Series and what to take your meditation practice
further, this is the class for you. Please email Heather to
~KOAN CLASS: The latest Koan class is almost over, but
registrations are being taken for the next class. This
"salon-style" group is designed to enhance your
meditation practice by the use of Koans. John Tarrant, of
Pacific Zen, is initiating the class with Jacqueline
facilitating. If you have questions, please contact
Jacqueline. To register for the next class, please contact
To see a list of all classes offered, please go to The
Hearth Foundation Classroom page. Registrations
for all classes are taken year-round. When a class
fills up, it begins. To sign up for any of the classes
or with further questions on the specific classes,
please email Heather Thornton.
|As with all submissions, The Hearth Foundation reserves the right to decide which events and articles are to be published.
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