Archive for Family Posts

published in Achieving Your Dreams, Dreams/Goals, Family, Inspiration, Movies by Maryanne | November 21, 2017 | No Comment

Supporting Each Other – Dance Lessons from Little Miss Sunshine

 

 Pageant Official Jenkins: [outraged at Olive’s talent act] What is your daughter doing?

Olive’s Dad: She’s kicking ass, that what she’s doing!

– Little Miss Sunshine

When I was working in Qualicum Bay the other week, I watched the movie, Little Miss Sunshine (2006), again. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It’s a hilarious film that captures the wacky and wonderful essence of family…in all it’s dysfunctional glory 😊

Little Olive has a dream: to take part in the Little Miss Sunshine Beauty Pageant.

But Olive doesn’t quite look like the stereotypical beauty pageant contestant. And, as we soon learn, Olive certainly doesn’t dance like the average beauty pageant contestant either. Her cocaine-sniffing grandpa choreographed her dance routine and it is…quite something. Unfortunately, Olive’s grandpa died (of a cocaine overdose) en route to the pageant (and is currently wrapped in a sheet in the back of the family VW bus), so Olive dedicates her grand finale performance to her grandpa…and proceeds to give it her all on stage.

But she nearly doesn’t – because at first, her team of supporters try to stop her. They want to protect her from getting ridiculed. By this point in the pageant, the rest of the family (Olive’s suicidal uncle, played by Steve Carrel; her angst-ridden teenage brother who hasn’t spoken in months, played by Paul Dano; and her personal-growth obsessed dad, played by Greg Kinnear) have realized that Olive does NOT fit in to the pageant scene and she’s going to make a fool of herself. So they want to talk her out of performing her dance number in the talent contest.

But Olive’s stressed-out yet supportive mom (played by Toni Collette) explains to them why they need to let Olive dance – even if she is laughed at.

“Olive wants to do this,” Mom explains. “She loves who she is. She loves to dance, and she’s worked really hard to prepare for this pageant, so we need to let her do this.”

And so, Olive performs her outrageously funny and completely inappropriate dance routine (to the song, “Super Freak,” by Rick James). Her family was right to be concerned: the pageant organizers and contestant’s families are shocked, then mortified and then outraged.

Yet little Olive dances on, determined to finish what she started.

So when the livid pageant organizer tries to get Olive’s dad to cut short her performance, there is a pivotal moment when Dad is just about to get Olive to stop dancing – but then has a change of heart and instead leaps onto the stage and dances WITH her! The other family members soon join in, much to the chagrin of the pageant organizers – but to the absolute delight of Olive. She is thrilled to be dancing with her family in the pageant of her dreams.

It’s a powerful moment because it speaks volumes about the importance of having a strong support network in our lives. Who’s got our back in life? Who is supporting our dreams and other endeavors – whether they are big, small or not quite the norm? Who in our lives will join us on stage, if need be, and make an idiot of themselves in support of something that means a lot to us?

Likewise, who in our lives might need us to jump on their stage every once in awhile?

What small but significant show of support might we be able to give to someone who could really use that extra bit of encouragement right about now?

I reckon everybody needs a small but committed team of supporters who will jump on the stage with us, when and if we need them to. Or even if they just stay on the sidelines, watching, that’s okay, too…as long as they cheer us on.

To view the 3-min clip of the hilarious dance scene from the film, here’s the link.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life

 

Channeling 101: Hello…Is Anybody There?

 

“When someone’s got a direct line to the Universe, their words have such a profound resonance, you immediately recognize them as truth.”

– Martha Beck

My Dad was a Devout Atheist

He did not believe in any sort of Divine entity. He despised organized religion. And he most certainly did not think there was an afterlife…when the body dies, it’s all over.

So when he passed away six months ago (in February), I was very curious as to what his actual post-death experience was. Did his existence just…fade to black and that was it?

Or (much to his surprise and perhaps dismay) did he discover that something – our consciousness, soul, spirit, essence, etc – does live on after the death of the body?

Now, my personal experiences in life thus far have demonstrated to me enough evidence to support a belief that there is something after the death of our bodies. Not sure what, exactly…but I strongly suspect our souls do continue to exist in some capacity.

But I must say, in the three months following my Dad’s death, other than a sense of feeling that his spirit was close (mainly in the increased clarity of my thoughts), I did not receive any sort of tangible “sign” that his soul was…you know, still in circulation 😊

And then, wouldn’t you know it but three months after his passing (on Mother’s Day, oddly enough), I had the strangest experience. I woke up at 4 a.m. because I could hear a man’s voice saying, “Dad…Dad…Dad…”

It was not my Dad’s voice. In fact, it didn’t sound quite human…close but not quite.

My room was pitch black but it sounded as if the voice was coming from a few feet to my right. At first, I thought I was still dreaming, so I blinked my eyes several times. But the voice kept repeating the word, “Dad.”

Then I thought (hoped!) it was my dog, Sadie, snoring. But I held my breath and listened carefully. Nope…I could hear Sadie breathing and the voice saying, “Dad.” By this point, I was wide awake…and starting to freak out a little.

I didn’t think there was actually someone in my bedroom…at least, not a person. I was freaked out because I was pretty sure I knew what I was hearing – and it wasn’t something I would be able to see when I turned the light on.

I finally reached over and switched on my lamp. Sure enough, there was no one in my room. And the voice stopped instantly.

Now you can either choose to believe me – or not. If you don’t, I wouldn’t blame you one bit because it is pretty weird.

But here’s what I think was going on: I think what I heard was the soul of my Dad learning how to communicate with the living (he’d had three months to get over the shock of realizing there is life after death!). It sounded as if he was practicing how to “speak” as a soul by repeating the word, “Dad.” And it makes sense that it wouldn’t be his voice I heard – because he obviously no longer has his human voice.

As for why it was three feet from my head that his soul was practicing his newfound communication skills? Well, it’s not just because I’m his daughter and he loved me very much (although I’m sure that’s part of it). Rather, I suspect it was me he chose to practice on because he knew I would get it.

Why?

Because I have just spent fourteen years working on my Saviour play script. And what is Saviour about? The soul of Virginia Woolf – who is dead – teaching “Sam” (the character based on my real-life husband, John) – who is dying – how to die, why he is dying so young, and how to communicate with the living.

How I have written this play, I have no idea. But I strongly suspect I have had an awful lot of help from…the other side.

At any rate, wouldn’t you know it but on the very same day as my “Dad” visitor, I already had a session booked with a woman by the name of Lanne Rice. Lanne is an artist and energy worker, who has the ability to “channel.” Lanne helps people see the truth to any question they may have by channeling the direct answer.

What is Channeling?

According to the Crimson Circle website, “Channeling is a natural form of communication between humans and angelic beings, nature spirits, non-physical entities, or even animals and pets. A channeler is very similar to a language translator or interpreter. They allow themselves to sense the non-verbal communication from another being and then translate it into human words.”

A channeler can also help someone get in touch with their own soul…their higher self.

For the record, I have not spent time with a channeler before. Truth be told, I have enough weird stuff happening to help me on any given day that I don’t feel the need to go looking for answers! But I had met Lanne at a couple different events over the past few months and had clicked with her. I trusted her.

So when I met Lanne for our channeling session a few hours after hearing the “Dad” voice, I told her about the experience.

She was delighted but not particularly surprised…that is, after all, her world.

Lanne then asked me if I would like to know if my Dad was, in fact, around at the moment – in her studio.

“Sure,” I said.

A few minutes later, we got an answer. Yes, he was there with us – but he did not particularly like being “summoned,” because he felt he was being put on the spot. So if it was okay with me, he would prefer to just hang back and listen in.

Cool.

And so, the session went from there. I won’t bombard you with the details but I will say this: I cleared out a lot of old stuff in my heart and head in that hour…literally. I mean, I visualized boxing up all sorts of thoughts I no longer needed and putting them outside the door of my mind – very similar to what I had been doing at home, in preparation for putting my house on the market: getting rid of all sorts of old stuff from the boxes in my basement.

“Your Dad is helping you,” Lanne said at one point. “He is taking the boxes of thoughts you no longer need and throwing them away for you.”

I looked at her and raised one eyebrow.

“He really likes helping you,” she said. “He wants to help.”

Three weeks later – before I had even put my house on the market – my neighbour’s realtor knocked on my door. A developer was keen to purchase both our properties…was I interested? You bet! Within twenty-four hours, I had sold my home for significantly more than if I’d sold it on the open market…and, of course, much less hassle.

My real estate agent was thrilled but a bit baffled. “Nothing surprises me anymore in this business,” he said. “But I must confess I didn’t see this deal coming.”

Oh, and did I mention…my Dad had worked in commercial real estate for years. He loved making deals 😊

And guess what the developer chose as the closing date? September 29th – the anniversary of John’s death.

You can take what you like from this blog. But I shall leave you with this quote to ponder:   

“Generally when we pray, our highest power doesn’t get right back to us – but that doesn’t mean we can’t find answers. Some earthlings can listen so deeply that they actually hear the divine. They receive guidance and comfort to share with the rest of us, like spiritual receptionists passing along messages. Of course, there are plenty of frauds who only claim to hear wisdom – but I’ve found that when someone’s got a direct line to the Universe, their words have such a profound resonance, you immediately recognize them as truth.”

– Martha Beck, O Magazine, July 2017

I think Lanne Rice is one of those special people who do have a direct line to the Universe. Mind you, I think we all do…we just might know how to listen.

Related Blogs by Maryanne

Tempus Fugit – Bahamas Reflections on My Dad

Soul Survival – Do You Believe in Life After Death?

When Opportunity Knocks at the Door – Literally

 

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here.

Lanne Rice is the owner of Broken Heart Studio…a broken heart is an open heart. Lanne is a coaching artist who guides people in the process of creating their own original piece of abstract art. She is also an energy worker who helps people see the truth to any questions they may have. Lanne has the ability to channel the direct answer to questions, over the internet or in person. For further information, please visit www.lannerice.com.

published in Book Reviews, Childfree, Decision Making, Family, Health, Motherhood, Mothering Matters by Maryanne | June 24, 2017 | 6 Comments

This is the 8th and final Mothering Matters blog in the Spring 2017 Blog Series:

A Must-Read Resource When Making the Motherhood Decision…or ANY Major Decision for that Matter

 

 

“When you isolate your desire first, and then weigh it carefully against your personal circumstances, it’s easier to make your decision.”

– Ann Davidman and Denise L. Carlini, Motherhood: Is It For Me?

Book Review of “Motherhood: Is it for me?”

For many women, the motherhood decision is a given. For some, the decision not to have children is just as clear. But for many of women – myself included – the motherhood decision is not so cut and dry.

In fact, I spent two decades struggling over whether or not I wanted to become a mom. In the end, life – and my choices – pretty much chose for me.

And as glad as I am that I ended up not taking the path of raising a child/ren, I could have saved myself an awful lot of time and energy…that was spent thinking about the decision, if the brilliant book, Motherhood: Is It For Me? Your Step by Step Guide to Clarity, had existed to help me work through the process of making a decision.

Alas, it wasn’t published until 2016.

But for all the other women out there, currently struggling their way through the “Should I or shouldn’t I…become a mom?” question, I highly recommend reading this book.

And yet, here’s the thing: even though I read the Motherhood: Is It For Me? book at the tender age of 49 😊 I actually found it to be extremely useful in helping me make another major life decision over the past few months (more on that in another blog).

In my opinion, that’s the sign of a very good book!

But why, perhaps you may be asking yourself, would a 49-year old single gazelle have taken the time to read a book entitled, “Motherhood: Is It For Me?” in the first place?

Well, here’s the scoop: one of the authors, Ann Davidman, contacted me several months ago, after watching our documentary, Whatever Floats Your Boat…Perspectives on Motherhood.

Ann is a Motherhood Clarity Mentor and a Marriage and Family Therapist. Ann has been helping women work through the motherhood decision for more than 25 years.

In fact, the book stems from the Motherhood Clarity Course, which is a 14-week program that helps women who are struggling with indecision about whether they want to become a mother.

Ann’s co-author, Denise L. Carlini, is also a Marriage and Family Therapist. The authors know from their professional experience that an analytical pros-and-cons approach often fails to successfully answer this most personal question.

Because of the Whatever Floats Your Boat documentary and the Mothering Matters blog series, Ann asked me if I would read and review their book. I said yes. And I’m awfully glad I did.

Right off the top, Davidman and Carlini explain the difference between determining one’s desire – what the heart truly wants – and making one’s decision: what course of action are you actually going to take?

This is important because: “When you isolate your desire first, and then weigh it carefully against your personal circumstances; it’s easier to make your decision.”

So often, we get caught up in trying to MAKE a decision before we’ve taken the time to really think through what it is we truly want…and that goes for anything in life, not just motherhood.

Here are just a few gems gleamed from the book…perhaps you might find, as I did, that regardless of where you’re at on your path, there is some very sage life advice here:

“Sometimes an important piece of information needs time to completely unfold, and sharing it prematurely can disrupt the unfolding…even the most well-intentioned feedback from others can disturb the feeling of safety you’ve been creating for yourself and push you off track.”

In other words: it is very wise to keep the early part of your decision-making process to yourself. Don’t let the riff raff in until you’re ready to let them in!

“Slowing down may indeed feel uncomfortable at first, but we’ve learned that allowing yourself time and space to examine and accurately perceive the various aspects of your life is far more effective than generating those pros-and-cons lists that only seem to keep you stuck in an endless loop of indecision.”

“Thinking is good, of course, but so much more happens when you write. The writing itself takes twists and turns in a way that thought processes can’t, creating a fertile environment for more and more to emerge.”

Ahhh…music to a writer’s soul.

“Bring intention to your process while you suspend judgement, and trust that on a deeper level something is happening.”

“Most women find that when they grant themselves permission to not know, they feel less fatigue and have more energy for exploring.”

“What needs to be known first is what you want for yourself regardless of the circumstances of your life.”

“Trying to make a decision based on your internal emotions and the external circumstances in your life at the same time creates all kinds of pressure…trying to figure out your desire and your decision at the same time creates gridlock.”

“There are no appropriate or inappropriate fears. There are only the fears that live inside you for good reason.”

“Human nature compels us to seek answers actively. It can feel excruciating not to know, and fluctuating between answers creates the perpetual illusion that at any moment the answer will come and provide relief…making a case for ‘yes’ and then making a case for ‘no’ doesn’t help you get any closer to getting off the fence; it only serves to temporarily soothe anxiety, nothing more.”

“When you relax into self-acceptance, the result is spaciousness. From there you can more easily gain access to the answers that are already there.”

“When you’re able to say yes to a big dream or future possibility, whether or not you know how it will come about, you move forward toward it and life tends to meet you, often filling in the details.”

“As you imagine your future, do you feel that you’re entitled to have things go the way you want them to?”

See? I told you it was a brilliant book 😊

Here is the link for further information on (or to purchase) Motherhood: Is It For Me?

“At the centre of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”

Lao Tzu

Related Blogs

Getting to the Heart of the Matter – To Be or Not To Be…a Mom?

Undecided about Motherhood? A Motherhood Clarity Mentor Shares Her Personal Story and Professional Advice on Making a Decision

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. She is the executive producer of the documentary, Whatever Floats Your Boat…Perspectives on Motherhood. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here.

Mothering Matters is an initiative of Pink Gazelle Productions Inc.

For further information about the Mothering Matters blog series, here is the link.

If you would like to receive the Mothering Matters blogs and/or read the other blogs, please click here.