Wish I Was Here
The other night we came across Zach Braff's latest film Wish I Was Here ~ a follow-up to Garden State that deals with a lot of the same themes, such as loss, spirituality and self-realization. It tells the story of a struggling actor, father and husband who finds himself in a tough situation when his father's cancer returns and he can no longer afford the tuition for his children's yeshiva schooling. He experiences a sort of existentialist crisis as he examines his life and suffers the magnitude of trying to provide for his family while still working towards fulfilling his own dreams and ambitions.
Overall, the movie wasn't as powerful as Garden State, but there were a lot of great moments that made me laugh out loud and others that made me want to cry. There was one particular part that really stood out to me and reminded me of my own "a-ha moment" when I realized that God could be anything I wanted it/her/him to be.
At the peak of his meltdown, the main character Aidan seeks advice from the rabbi at his children's Orthodox Jewish school and tries to sort through his ideas about the universe to make sense of his own spirituality. The rabbi tells him, "Forget studying Torah and keeping kosher; let’s talk about the spirituality you do have and build off of that." For Aidan, it's a feeling that stirs him when he looks up at the infinite sky, the idea of infinity in itself and visions that come to him in the form of a spaceman superhero he used to pretend to be as a kid. The rabbi finishes, ‘If you want to call that God, then let that be God."
I think letting go of my preconceived notions of God was the hardest battle of welcoming a higher power back into my life and I think it's something a lot of people struggle with. To me, the term "God" still evoked the image of a bearded man reigning down from the heavens, casting judgement on those who don't follow the rules and regulations of a certain religion. It reminded me of the old Christian guilt I used to feel and the agony I put myself through trying to determine my own right from wrong when put up against the ideas from my religion. It was enough to turn me off of spirituality for a long time ~ until I started envisioning the higher power as something else entirely.
A few notes from my journal back in April 2014:
I feel like a totally different woman than the girl just a few pages ago all because I let a higher power back into my life. It's crazy how easy it was after so many years of resisting. All of the doubts and the questioning keeping me away. The force of organized religion pushing me further and further until I had no religion at all. Deep down I've always known there was something bigger than me and this life ~ something beautiful and intelligent and perfect in its own right. But I didn't know what to call it or how to visualize it or how to manifest its powers without feeling desperate or corny. But it's so simple. Smile more. Spread love. Live life at a higher frequency. Stop feeling guilty and quit with the self hate. Revel in every little beautiful moment you're lucky enough to have. Help others and don't be shy. There's not enough time for pride.
I'm glad this movie exists as a reminder that God can be something as simple as a smile from a stranger, a feeling you get when you're out in nature or a truth that reveals itself when you take time to reflect. Regardless of your religion or lack thereof, there are so many ways that a higher consciousness can take form when you pause and breathe in the present moment. It's something I'm striving to do more and more in my every day life so I don't wake up years from now wishing I was here.