Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Stage of My Mind

I was reading an article in the Ensign this evening and found a quote that really made me think. That's not really unusual (for me to think), except that this quote (without the remainder of it) has abosolutely no bearing, whatsoever, on what the article was talking about. So, I'm not giving you the link. Here's the quote:

"The mind is like a stage. During every waking moment the curtain is up. There is always some act being performed on that stage. It may be a comedy, a tragedy, interesting or dull, good or bad; but always there is some act playing in the stage of your mind." (Boyd K. Packer, New Era, April 2008.)

For most of us, I think the "stage" could more commonly be referred to as a big box that sits in our living room or a big screen in an auditorium projecting movies. Not many of us get to the theatre these days, and even if we do, we get a lot more of our viewing from the comfort of our own homes. The whole "plug in drug" is a discussion and thought process for another time and another post though, so I'm letting that one go. My thought process on this whole "the stage of my mind" is based on what we choose to watch and enjoy as individuals. I'm wondering if what and how we choose to watch TV and movies is a reflection of how our mind stages the reality of our life. OK, that came out sounding quite a bit deeper than I envisioned. You'll be sorely disappointed when you keep reading.

I've been asked, on several occasions what kinds of movies I like. I can't pinpoint it, because it really does depend on the mood that I'm in. I have many favorite movies, and most of them have some sort of humor in them. Romantic comedies certainly fall at the top of the viewing list, followed closely by inspiring sports movies that I enjoy watching with Bill. These are the types of shows that I will re-watch, the ones that leave you with that "feel good" mood, triumphant victory, and defeating the odds. I like a good, happy ending. Sometimes it's dramatic, emotional, and unrealistic, other times it just plays out kind of naturally. Either way, I'm good.

I was trying to think about some of my favorite shows as a child, a family, a couple, etc. What did we watch and did it influence the way we thought of the rest of the world, was it an escape, was it to make us think, etc.? Do we have to relate to a particular character to enjoy a show? Are we looking for someone like us or are we hoping to find someone completely unlike our self? I know, as a teenager, I would read to escape and live a life that was completely opposite of my boring, hum drum life. I must have read The Outsiders a dozen times one summer and dreamed about being Cherry Valance. Were there any similarities between her and I? Absolutely none, outside of having red hair. The characters I like on TV are ones that I wish I could behave like, but know that I can't (usually because their morals are not completely up to par). So, I'd never preach to anyone that they shouldn't watch or like something because it doesn't conform to the standards that they should live by. And I'll keep reminding myself of that as my children get older and older.

I've never been a fan of reality television and I can only say that if I'm going to watch about real people, I'd rather it be the people I know in real life, not some crazy strangers that are overacting because they know they're on TV. I like TV to be scripted, but does that mean I'd like life to be scripted? I don't think so. I like surprises. So does that mean that I watch the opposite of what I like in real life for a break? I don't think that's the case either.

Some of my standby favorite shows are comedies: M*A*S*H*, The Cosby Show, Friends, Seinfeld. These are the reruns that I will commonly stop flipping channels for and this is where I'm comfortable. I'm not a comedian by any means, I just like to laugh at the crazy things that happen in this world and try to move on from there. I can't take life too too seriously, but can handle it when that ball is thrown my way as well. I can only remember one episode of M*A*S*H* being completely serious, but it seems like there were often times bits of real war trauma that would pop up now and again. The Cosby Show had family dynamics, real family and peer pressure issues, and childhood drama, but they did it with the air of humor. That's how I have to live my life, with an air of humor and without taking myself too seriously. I liked Friends because it wasn't about just one person, it was about a lot of people and how they supported and interacted with one another. I could never be on the center stage, the one man act. Even Seinfeld was more about the group than it was just Jerry. I'm not even sure he was the funniest person on that show, and I think he was OK with that.

I've ventured into the dramatic series as well. We used to watch West Wing, ER, Grey's Anatomy, any Law and Order series, Dallas (does anyone remember back that far?). Bill and I used to talk about how we didn't know anything about the character's real lives on West Wing, ER or Law and Order. The show was all about the politics, the medicine or the courtroom. We were very detached from the characters and not at all drawn to the shows because of ongoing drama in their lives. The characters had personalities that brought the shows to life, but they were not the center stage of the show. The other shows, however, were all about the drama and lives of the individuals and how they interacted. They were nothing more than night time soap operas. I'm not sure how/why we've enjoyed both of these types of series, but we have.

I guess I'm just wondering if you had to pick one type of stage to live your life on, would it reflect the kind of life that you want to or do lead? I'd pick romantic comedy and I think that's the kind of life I lead: not too serious, a bit of emotion, not too dramatic, and I'll live it the best way I can to make a happy ending for all the characters involved. That's just me though. This world would be very uninteresting if everyone lived on the same stage. Tell me your stage, write your own post, or call me a cracked pot for even venturing into this comparison. I don't know, I just know that when life throws you lemons...

1 comment:

proud parents said...

Interesting thought! Hmmm, I think mine reflects the kind of life I THINK I want, and that's what gets me in trouble. I can become bitterly disappointed or despair when I see the jarring difference between my life and the stage in my mind's eye.
I think I'm only just now making the determination to change from spectator to performer. And not just a bit player, doomed to the whim of plot, but the star character who sets the tone, the movement, the very stage itself.

Three quotes:
"All the world's a stage"
"Watch your thoughts, words, and actions."
"Talk the talk and walk the walk."
Instead of my stage being a meager respite from my life, why not make my whole life a stage, and I the playwright? Granted, I may be limited by my props, audience, funds, etc. But it's MY stage and MY play. If I think it, dare I speak it? Once I speak it, can I achieve it?
A Hinckley quote has been running through my mind a lot lately:
"Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he's been robbed. Most putts don't drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old-time rail journey — delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."

So give me the drama, the romance, oh yes the COMEDY!, even the horror. But let it be mine. And let it be gloriously dramatic, sweet, funny, and terrifying so that I can truly appreciate the show.