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Underbelly: 10 Things - Locked In

Wendy Kelly
Wendy Kelly
#132 in a series of wild and precious ideas on distinguishing between when to stay focused and when you might be stuck.

This week I contemplated feeling locked in. Sometimes being locked in feels focused, comforting, safe:
  • A roller coaster on its tracks
  • A swaddled baby
  • Focused creativity
And, sometimes, locked in feels limiting, confined, unsafe:
  • An innocent person in prison
  • A car submerged in water
  • Ruminations
There’s a sweet spot in our minds, I think, where we hold the keys as it were and can maintain an open, flexible mind but can also keep laser focus and excellent self control when we need to.
My husband and I watched Joe Versus the Volcano when it came out and it quickly became our favorite movie. John Patrick Shanely, a playwright, wrote and directed the movie.
In the scene below, Joe’s boss, Mr. Waturi, tells Joe that he better get into a “flexible frame” if he wants to succeed — “grow up” stop caring about “feeling good” and, you know, maybe one day he can be the assistant manager.
"Then please order them"
"Then please order them"
Just yesterday, I feel like I was Mr. Waturi for a few minutes, as I caught myself lamenting the likes of people who can’t just put their bums in chairs and their noses down and work :)
“Patricia: My father says that almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.” — Meg Ryan as Patricia in Joe Vs the Volcano
“Marshall: They just pay me to drive the limo, sir. I’m not here to tell you who you are.
Joe Banks: I didn’t ask you to tell me who I am.
Marshall: You were hinting around about clothes. That happens to be a very important topic to me, sir. Clothes, Mr…
Joe Banks: Banks.
Marshall: Banks. Clothes make the man. I believe that. You say to me you want to go shopping, you want to buy clothes, but you don’t know what kind. You leave that hanging in the air, like I’m going to fill in the blank, that to me is like asking me who you are, and I don’t know who you are, I don’t want to know. It’s taken me my whole life to find out who I am, and I’m tired now, you hear what I’m saying?”
“Marshall: What kinda clothes do you got now?
Joe Banks: Well, I got the kinda clothes I’m wearing.
Marshall: So you got no clothes.”
“Joe Banks: Marshall?
Marshall: Yeah.
Joe Banks: I was wondering if you’d have dinner with me tonight.
Marshall: I can’t do that; I got the wife and kids at the end of the day.
Joe Banks: Yeah…
Marshall: Listen, ain’t you got nobody?
Joe Banks: No. But there are certain times in your life when I guess you’re not supposed to have anybody, you know? There are certain doors you have to go through alone.
Marshall: …You’re gonna be all right.”
— Ossie Davis as Marshall, Tom Hanks as Joe in Joe vs the Volcano
“Patricia: Nobody knows anything, Joe. We’ll take this leap, and we’ll see. We’ll jump, and we’ll see. That’s life, right?” — Meg Ryan as Patricia to Joe as they are about to jump into the volcano in Joe vs the Volcano
“Patricia: I wonder where we’ll end up?
Joe Banks: Away from the things of man, my love. Away from the things of man.” — Joe and Patricia as they float away from the volcano…
3. Prompt
I hope you don’t mind the Joe vs the Volcano indoctrination.
Robert Ebert, the infamous movie critic, loved it. This is, in part, what he said:
What’s strongest about the movie is that it does possess a philosophy, an idea about life. The idea is the same idea contained in “Moonstruck”: that at night, in those corners of our minds we deny by day, magical things can happen in the moon shadows.
Having a philosophy, a “Why you do what you do” gives us our tracks, our swaddling blanket.
I would like you to consider that when you don’t have a coherent philosophy of life, someone else holds the keys, the chains, the steering wheel (if that metaphor holds…)
And, perhaps, some of that “why” lies in the moon shadows of your late night mind? Perhaps?
Is there something that you you know is a part of your “why” but you haven’t had the guts to look at it yet? If so, why not? Is there anything that keeps you awake at night that is trying to get your attention? Is it part of your creative why or is it rumination?
If it’s rumination…is there a grain of truth in there? Or do you need to gently but firmly let that thought loop go?
4. Quest
I came across this quote in an article advocating for later start times for high school:
“That’s profoundly unsettling, particularly in light of data released by the CDC in April showing that 44 percent of high schoolers said they’d had "persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness” during the past year, and 20 percent had seriously contemplated suicide.“
Persistent feeling of hopelessness describes the feeling one might have in a "locked in” state where you didn’t hold the keys.
I wonder if we could be on the lookout for people who might need a reminder that they hold the keys? And that the keys are not meant to unlock a burden to be hoisted on their shoulders but simply the freedom to make the next right step?
5. Level up
Perhaps we need a reminder that there is a balance between constraint and freedom — ideally described by us — where we can live secure, locked in, but also free to create in a focused, steady manner.
Ha! Quite the challenge…
6. Twitter Feed
7. Video
My Favourite Scene From 9 to 5
My Favourite Scene From 9 to 5
8. Poem
BUCKSHOT LEFONQUE I Know Why The Caged bird Sings.WMV
BUCKSHOT LEFONQUE I Know Why The Caged bird Sings.WMV
9. Hero
🗹 Official Dolly Parton - Latest News, Tour Schedule & History
10. Connect
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Wendy Kelly
Wendy Kelly @wendykkelly

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