Jamaicans have a way with words. Whether it is a created word like ‘irie’; an old word used in a new and original way, ‘wicked!’ or a phrase like ‘One love’, Jamaicanisms have entered the language of countries from Alaska to Zimbabwe.
I have always loved the way a Jamaican will tell you that they were visited in a dream by a dearly departed loved one. ‘My father dream me’ they will say, thereby empowering the spirit of the dead. It is not the result of their own subconscious, but rather the gift of one who has passed coming back to give a message, reassurance, or hopefully the winning lotto numbers! For those who are bereaved it may be a particular blessing, and one which often does not happen on command. Sometimes the spirit willfully stays away, as if trying to let the one still living get used to the fact of their absence before surprising them one night in a dream.
I have always felt that it is a beautiful way to describe such a dream. It turns acts of random neurons firing into a positive and uplifting event, which often enables the one who was ‘dreamed’ to move on with their life. The dream of a person who is still living is described differently: ‘Mi dream see mi mother’ (I dreamed I saw my mother) and will often prompt you to make a phone call to check up on the person you saw. The other night I awoke from a dream in which I saw my mother. She was concerned about the happiness of one of her children (I am not sure which one of us!), and she told me that what parents want for their children is for ‘the movie of their life’ be a good one.
Which got me thinking about our life as a movie. How do we see the movie of our life? We all have a favorite genre; some people love a good action film, others like comedies. Have you ever thought how easy it would be to change a romance into a comedy, a drama into a tragedy? All it takes is a slightly different approach, the introduction of a light touch, a humorous twist, and the movie would change completely. We can do the same thing with our lives. We don’t need to see everything as drama, unfolding like a roller-coaster in front of us. Have you ever had a friend who tells you of the daily occurrences in her life which may involve jet ski accidents, a son jumping off the roof of the house (for fun!), or other reasons for visits to the ER, and yet as she relates these incidents you are laughing hysterically. For she has chosen to see these events as entertaining challenges, not as ‘poor me’ tragedies.
Who are the actors in the movie of your life? Is there a villain that needs to be kicked off the set? Are you auditioning the wrong people to play opposite you? And what is the music that plays in your head? Many years ago I learned a trick when watching a scary movie down at the Munroe’s house on a Friday night. As the tension built I was getting more and more nervous. I am not a fan of the genre. I believe it was Gracey who said: ‘Don’t worry; we’ll just turn off the sound. You don’t get scared if you can’t hear the music.’ And I discovered she was right. Without the sound, it was completely tame and somewhat amusing! Perhaps that is all you have to do with your own life. Change the music and it will change your outlook on the life you are living.
I hope you are enjoying the movie of your life. And if you are not, remember that you are the director. You can rewrite the script, fire the actors that are not working out, try to see it in a different light. “It is never too late to be who you might have been” wrote George Eliot in the 19th Century. And if you didn’t know, George Eliot was actually a female novelist (Mary Ann Evans) who chose to write under a male pseudonym. Too often we see ourselves as victims of our circumstances, unable to do the things we wish due to our commitments and responsibilities. But it is up to us to flip the script, and find a way to make our life meaningful.
This weekend, on yet another crisp and cool beautiful South Florida day, I wish for you the ability to enjoy the movie of your life. Thanks to my mother for providing the inspiration both for my message, and for so much more in a life full of shining examples. If you are missing a person who is gone from your life, I hope they ‘dream you’ soon, and give you messages of comfort and hope, or at least the winning lotto numbers! If the dead can still appear in your dreams and in your mind, are they truly gone? Bob Marley continues to influence and earn money, years after his death. They are releasing another album of Jimi Hendrix music 43 years after his death. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X continue to play important roles in our lives long after they died. The movies of their lives are still running.
Have a boonoonoonoos weekend, family (another Jamaicanism meaning nice beyond belief!)!
One Love! Namaste.