Posted by: steveonfilm | January 21, 2008

Conflict and the Circle of Being: Exercise Seven – Parts One and Two

Part One, Tom:

The Circle of Being event for Tom is when Grandma J passes away. It is the second shoe to drop in his life, the first being when his parents died in a plane crash. He’d never really dealt with the idea that she was going to die. He kept it built up inside of him, trapping it in the back corner of his mind, and ignorantly assuming she’d always be there for him.

It was this denial that caused him to obsessively micromanage every aspect of his and Grandma J’s life. He was always obsessed with seemingly insignificant details. Things kids shouldn’t be worried about. Everything that happened was always just seconds away from being the end of the world to him. The reality was that this was his subconscious way of dealing with the fact that Grandma J was going to pass away sooner rather than later. It was his way of keeping his mind busy so he didn’t have to deal with that thought.

Ultimately, Tom blames himself for her death, even though there wasn’t anything he could have done about it. He thinks that he should have seen the symptoms, he should have know to have stayed home, and just let the test go. If only he’d paid better attention, or studied about what was wrong with her better, or scheduled his day so that he could pay more attention to her.

This event effectively closes the door on his youth, a youth he wasn’t ready to move on from. He never really learned how to form close personal bonds with anyone, and now the only important person in his life was gone. From this point on there isn’t anyone else out there, at least in his eyes, that is worth getting to know. Nor is there anyone else out there that he believes could truly care about him either.

Without realizing it, he’s now obsessed with the fact that he’s going to die. That’s why he minimizes contact with the outside world. He’s built this little safe haven for himself, away form all the dangers that might be out there, real or otherwise. The excuse that there isn’t anyone out there, is just a justification for him to avoid having to put in the effort to meet people, and jeopardize the subconscious security walls he’s built up for himself. And in a way, he’s preventing anyone else who does get close to him from having to deal with the day he will eventually die.

Part two, Michelle:

Michelle’s Circle of Being moment was when her brother Robert died. Like Tom, she had to deal with a death she wasn’t prepared for. She’d always expected her big brother to be there. She expected to one day baby sit his kids. Watch him graduate college. Get his hand me down first car. But none of that was going to happen now.

While her father turned to alcohol to get over the pain, her mother turning to denial about the stress Robert’s death was putting on the family, it ultimatley led Michelle to a new undertanding of life.

She understood that your life is whatever you make of it. No one is going to do it for you. You can’t afford to sweat and dwell on the small stuff because at any moment you could die. Since we all have such precious little time on this world, there wasn’t a reason to waste it on seemingly insignificant things.

She dealt with death the complete opposite way that Tom did. She lives like she wants to. If she wants to call in sick, she does, even if she’s not sick. She doesn’t really care where she works, and to her her job is only there to help her move toward her dreams and ambitions, which is in this case moving to the West Coast and buying a horse.

Her life is about just that, life, and trying new things, enjoying what the world has to offer. She’s not afraid of what might be out there. She may have been quiet in school, but that waas more because she was just biding her time until she could live the life she wanted. She waited, paitently, while her father fell deeper and deeper into alcoholism. She waited while her mother pulled in more and more on herself, to the point now that she, like Tom, rarely leaves the house.

She knew she couldn’t change them. They needed to want to change themselves. She loved them, but wasn’t going to let them get in the way of what she wanted to do, where she wanted to go. So she waited, and then moved on when she was ready, which was a few months after graduating high school.

Unfortunately, she’s ignored other peoples needs so much she may not even know how to recognize them.

Post: As you can see, I tried to set these two up as opposites as much as possible. Each one is going to teach each other something, something that will help resolve the conflict in their lives, and bring them back around in the Circle of Being.



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