The Power of Our Beliefs – The Seen and the Unseen

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Spring Break at our house means watching movies – at the theater or at home, and this year was no exception. I saw two movies that inspired me to write about the power of our beliefs in ourselves and in others.

In the not-exactly-critically acclaimed but visually stunning “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” the Kansas carnival magician/illusionist/con man (Oscar Diggs, or “Oz”) arrives in the Land of Oz via tornado to discover the people there are expecting a wizard. Upon spending time with the guy and seeing him for who he is, Glinda the Good tells him, “You may not be the wizard we expected, but perhaps you are the wizard we need.” She tells him the people must have someone to believe in or all is lost. As the story unfolds, he experiences (and expresses) radical self-doubt, facing two Majorly Wicked Witches on a power trip to conquer all. Inspired by the desperate hope of the people, Glinda’s confidence in him, and the ability to capitalize on the power of illusion, our Wizard Impersonator digs deep inside to believe in himself and truly become the Great and Powerful Oz.

Our second movie was “Rise of the Guardians.” A delightful must-see! Who wouldn’t love a story about Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and the Sand Man? Oh, and Jack Frost. Who? Since the children haven’t SEEN Jack Frost or heard stories or had evidence of him (like presents, eggs, a quarter under their pillow, or sweet dreams,) they don’t believe in him. For Jack, the challenges of not being seen or believed in, and not remembering who he was before he took on the Frost job, make him vulnerable to another outcast – the evil Bogeyman. The Bogeyman’s nightmarish power is fueled by Fear (sort of a Dementor/Darth Vader type.) Like any hero worth his salt (ice), Jack has his character tested, the memory of his true self restored, and finds more inner strength than he ever imagined and (spoiler alert) defeats the Bogeyman. There’s a spectacular plot bonus, too, as Santa talks about the core gift that drives him – wonder, and protecting wonder in children.

Both movies are far richer than the plot descriptions I’ve given and worth seeing for their own merit.

When I told a mentor of mine a few months ago that I believed something she said, “No, belief isn’t enough! You have to Know. Know it!” Inner knowing is stronger than belief. Claiming. Affirming. Declaring. Because we often say we believe something is true, but are not living our lives accordingly. What have you learned about yourself? What illusions do you allow to distract and frustrate you? What do you believe? What do you KNOW?

For your entertainment: Belief as a theme in song lyrics, Quotes, and of course – a YouTube video

So if you think your life is complete confusion
Because you never win the game
Just remember that it’s a Grand illusion
And deep inside we’re all the same.
We’re all the same.

–The Grand Illusion – by Dennis DeYoung (Styx)

“It is only with the heart that we can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

–Antoine de Saint-Exupery

It’s a Barnum and Bailey world,
Just as phony as it can be,
But it wouldn’t be make believe
If you believed in me.

–It’s Only a Paper Moon, lyric by E.Y. (Yip) Harburg (Another movie about a con man, with Ryan and Tatum O’Neal)

If you believe
Within your heart you’ll know
That no one can change
The path that you must go…

Believe in yourself, right from the start
You’ll have brains
You’ll have a heart
You’ll have courage
To last your whole life through

If you believe in yourself….
As I believe in you

–Believe in Yourself – from the musical The Wiz (More Oz!)

“Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.” — Johann Wofgang von Goethe

Believe in what your heart is saying
Hear the melody that’s playing
There’s no time to waste
There’s so much to celebrate

Believe in what you feel inside
And give your dreams the wings to fly
You have everything you need
If you just believe.

–Believe – by Josh Groban from The Polar Express

***And here’s the very believable Mary Martin, the original Peter Pan, begging everyone who believes in fairies to clap to save Tinkerbell. Clap if you believe

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