The new Disney film, A Wrinkle in Time, based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Madeleine L’Engle is a touching messenger for contemporary women’s issues. Although the film wasn’t entirely sufficient at merging the fantastical special effects with the subtlety of the emotional struggle, there was a lot to like about it. The touching performances, particularly from the young actors, the inclusive themes and the inspiring messages are all reasons for everyone to see this film. I was touched by the poignant connection between the struggles of the young protagonist and the recurrent themes I encounter with women seeking more confidence and purpose.
The storyline is based on Meg Murray, a homely and awkward but kind, high school-aged girl who is transported on an adventure through time and space with her younger brother and friend to rescue her father from evil forces that have held him prisoner on another planet for four years. Meg’s journey is guided by three astral travelling celestial beings, known as Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which. The overarching moral is the battle between good and evil, between light and dark, and the ultimate triumph of love. Mrs. Who usually speaks in quotations from famous thinkers and writers because she finds it too difficult to craft her own sentences. One of my favorites by Rumi – “The wound is a place where light enters you.”
This film gives girls a superhero they can relate to. Additionally, are the five key lessons that Meg learns from the road of trials that she must endure for deliverance into self-acceptance.
· In a world that values similarity and conformity, we must overcome the need to fit in and learn to appreciate and value our own uniqueness.
· We must go through pain and challenge to know who we truly are.
· We each have faults that we must learn to accept and ultimately channel in our service to the world. Meg’s faults included anger, impatience, and lack of self-confidence.
· The inadequacy of words. Communication is through other means than language–verbal speech is not the only way we can share our thoughts and feelings and the sheer power of love is a felt transmission of meaning.
· We cannot know everything and that’s okay.
These universal lessons are the basis of living a life of service and purpose.
Many of us don’t feel like we comfortably fit into social norms–because we look different, feel out of place, see ourselves as less-than, and often feel misunderstood–we hide our true selves so that no one will know that we’re different. In A Wrinkle in Time, Meg feels awkward and out of place in high school. She is bullied by her next-door neighbor, fights with her peers, and is sent to the principal's office for her behavior. Meg confides to her mother that she hates being so different and wishes she could just be like everyone else.
How often we, especially women, seek the approval of others to feel valued.
· We do everything we can to conform to the main stream standards of beauty and fashion
· We seek partners who give us a sense of completion and self-worth
· We choose careers that will provide a worthy sense of identity
· We make money to buy things in our quest for happiness
· We do everything for everyone else, ignoring our own needs and neglecting self-care
As Meg learned, to successfully rescue her father and then her brother from the evil “IT,” she must claim her faults as strengths and love herself so that she can access the power to overcome.
The world needs our individuality, our unique perspective and creativity. We aren’t meant to fit in. We are here to excel at becoming the most authentic version of ourselves. What makes us authentic are our unique talents, interests, opinions, emotions, values, strengths, expressions, and yes, our faults too. The value we add to the world is the extraordinary blend of these qualities and how they characterize us. The pain and challenges of our life represent our own hero’s journey of self-acceptance.
When we can embrace our faults, accept that we are enough exactly as we are, we can open to the language of love. When we can accept our imperfections, stop needing to be perfect or know everything, we can view the world through an attitude of openness and nonjudgement.
In the final scene, because of her newfound self-acceptance, Meg’s openness allows her to see the pain of self-judgement that drives her bully. She then, and without words, transmits love which allows the bully to accept herself.
Isn’t this exactly what the world needs?
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Tricia Acheatel is an expert on women’s empowerment, supporting women in their personal, professional, and entrepreneurial growth for the past 27 years. She teaches women how to access their inner wisdom, develop self-confidence, and create with conviction – to shape a life of meaning. Her unique approach blends inner work with practical tools. Tricia is the author of Rooted in Purpose: Overcoming Self-doubt and Pursuing Your Life’s Calling, now in paperback. In the book, she guides women on an exhilarating journey to a deeper sense of self and purpose. More than ever before in history, it is time for women to step into leadership positions and be equal partners in the decision-making process. You can find her at www.triciaacheatel.com and www.rootedinpurpose.com