Flipping through the channels, I landed on the Disney Channel. They were showing Ratatouille, a delightful animated movie about a young rat named Remy who dreams of becoming a chef.
I settled back to enjoy this adorable movie, eat some dinner and just relax after a very unsatisfying day. I was frustrated and cranky, and frankly, a cute cartoon was exactly the soothing balm my soul needed!
I laughed at the antics of this adorable rat who teams up with an underachieving boy named Linquini to create culinary masterpieces in the kitchen of a once-famous French restaurant. As often happens with me, as I sat and watched the movie, my soul started noticing the underlying message of the movie, and gradually, my attention shifted from just enjoying the movie for the sake of entertainment, to asking myself, where am I just like the little rat or the underachieving boy in this movie?
Remy, the rat, has dreamed so long of becoming a chef, that he finally takes a chance and leaves the his family's rat nest to venture out in the world. They warn him of failure, but he goes anyway. He lands in Paris, and is starving, so he resorts to stealing food to survive. But his conscious, in the form of his hero, a beloved chef who has died, tells him it is wrong to steal, that he needs to find another way to eat. He is led to his hero's restaurant, and meets the other main character in the story, Linguini, a bumbling, nervous, fearful teenager who can't seem to hold a job down and clearly has terrible self-esteem.
Both are running old family programming through their lives: Remy, because he is a rat, has been told over and over again he can't do anything but stick with the family and scrounge for garbage. Linguini has never had the courage to find his voice and figure out what he wants from life. Together, they support each other to dream big and go for it, despite the seeming insanity of their pursuit.
Much of what I have been working on this year has been finding where I've been living my life to please other people: not wanting to disappoint family, fearful of making a mistake that might disappoint clients, stuffing my dreams down of running a successful business, not saying what I really wanted because I didn't want to hurt friends' feelings, not sharing with my boyfriend what I most want from our relationship....
It's no accident this movie came on last night. As the year draws to a close and I reflect backwards on whether I was able to take steps to create what I most desire, I realize I still have been fearful of following my heart, and have been playing it safe, just like the little rat Remy.
How can I possibly create the life I love if I'm still afraid of disappointing someone? What about disappointing myself? Sure, it's terrifying to take a chance and step outside of the box that family, friends and lovers see us in. They may be upset at us, and may warn us that we're gonna make a mistake, or worse, fail! And yes, it's true, we might fail! I know I've certainly made hundreds of mistakes, and I've failed many times. I've disappointed lots of people, and many times, my family thinks I'm nuts for some of the choices I've made.
But still that small voice inside keeps prompting me forward. Those dreams of following my passionate creative self-expression continue to bubble underneath the surface. But like the rat and the boy in the movie, what do I have to lose? By following my heart, no matter what, I allow my authentic self to shine through. And by having the courage to follow my heart, maybe my own life will open up into something wonderful. Maybe I'll be the inspiration for others in my life to follow their heart, shout their truth from the top of their lungs, and go for it, whatever "it" is. I am my own support system; my heart is there, urging me on to reach for the stars.
Always, there's lessons around us if we're willing to become aware. Have the courage to look within, and ask your heart, what is it you really want? Then let go and be open to receiving guidance and inspiration from where ever it comes. For me, I always get the lesson I most need to work on from movies and music that seem to randomly come into my life. Slowly the messages seep through my conciousness and I start to look within....This is not random however; it is guidance from my higher self.It's my team-mate, my inner support system.
This is what living is about.Have the courage to listen to your heart's desire, and then have the courage to follow it, no matter how scary that is. You might be surprised at where it takes you!