Signs of Good Times Ahead

1534998_stock-photo-good-times-aheadOver the holidays, I saw two great movies and downloaded a new CD from itunes, all of which were, to me, undeniable signs that things are getting way, way better for all of us.

The thing that I hear people complain about most often, (as an Awakening Coach) is the outrageous and indescribable imbalance in our economy: both nationally and globally.
I wrote a post about this a few months ago, which I’m going to recap here for you in a few sentences:

We feel powerless faced with our current economic system, because there appears to be almost nothing that can be done about it. Even the social media we might use to make a difference is owned by the same huge corporate interests that many people resent. In that other post I concluded that the only possible way we could restore a sane, fair, and balanced situation to our planet would be if greed, and using other people for selfish profit, simply became unfashionable. Just like selling black people as commodities, or seeing women as unfit to vote, there came a time when these things were just not cool anymore, for anyone, and they stopped.

These two movies and the CD are very good signs that the collective fever is breaking, and that we are on the mend.

MV5BNjkxMTc0MDc4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODUyNTI1MDE@._V1_SX214_Like a lot of good films American Hustle appears to be a story about other people in other times, while subtly holding up a mirror to the one watching the screen. Set in the 1970’s, it loosely retells the ABSCAM scandal through the lives of a con man (Christian Bale), his wife (Jennifer Laurence), his accomplice (Amy Adams), and an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper), who are all in various ways out to screw each other. The bell bottoms, 70’s music, and lack of computers or cell phones all reinforce the sense that we are watching a story about other people in another time. “Did you ever have to find a way to survive, you knew your choices were bad, but you still had to survive?” the main character asks his girlfriend. He is looking right into the camera, at her, but at you and me as well.

The movie is full of disarming moments like this. Amy Adams plays an American ex-stripper who has adopted a British persona, all in service to a better con. The FBI agent who sets out to bust her slowly falls in love with her. There come a great moment when she lets go of her adopted British persona, and show him her real, American stripper self. With an uncanny cocktail of vulnerability, accusation and self-exposure she looks right into his eyes (which means right into the camera, right into OUR eyes) and challenges him to tell the truth for just a split second. Don’t we all lie? Don’t we all make up the stories we need to, do what we gotta do to be loved, and approved of, and to feel safe? To get by? Don’t we all hustle?

Not since American Beauty in 1999 have I seen a film that comes this close to a pure uncompromising message of real awakening. Its not for the faint of heart, any more than hanging out with George Gurdjeiff or Buddha would have been. You are confronted with uncomfortable truths.

_1385361437In the same vein is another new film which packs a similar punch: The Wolf of Wall Street, with stellar performances by Leonardo Di Capro and Jonah Hill. Once again, the film seems to be the more or less true story of Jordan Belfort, another conman, but this time in the ‘90s on Wall Street. It’s another larger than life mirror: reflecting to us the parts of the human psyche that are willing to lie, to distort, to do what you gotta do to satisfy the craving for more, and more, and more and more.

I’d recommend that shortly before or after you watch The Wolf of Wall Street, you also watch the documentary Inside Job, narrated by Matt Damon. It is about the forces that led up to the banking collapse in 2008. You will quickly discover that the over-the-top antics of Jordan Belfort bear an uncanny resemblance to the real lives of the people running our global financial systems. Hustling is not just the subject of recent movies, it is at the very core of our world tottering on the brink of implosion.

lorde-pure-heroine-ddotomenThis Christmas I also downloaded a CD from itunes, recorded by somebody who, just a few months ago, not one of us had heard of. Her names is Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor, known to most to us now by her stage name Lorde. Her first CD Pure Heroine, was recorded last year, when she was just 16. It has eleven tracks, each one spellbinding. Not one of these powerful anthems to the reclaiming of power is the love song you might expect from a teenager. There is no “I want you baby”, “I need you baby”, none of that.

Each one is a bold, feisty, catchy song, gracefully giving the finger to the values we have all been trained to aspire to. Everything she belts out screams of finding deeper values than the usual addiction to money, and fame, and power, that the media has tried to sell us for long.

It’s a brave album. It’s a brilliant album. Lorde, now 17, seems to have swallowed massive doses of Walt Whitman, Leonard Cohen, and Sinnead O’Connor, in order to produce such a masterpiece.

Lorde’s Pure Heroine is slated to win the Grammy this year, not for emerging new artist, but for best damn album of the year. “Royals” has 142 millions views on YouTube. Hustle and Wolf are both being spoken in the same sentence as Oscar.

Put all this together in a blender, add a little humor and optimism, and we have good reason to sit up in our seats and pay attention. As Malcolm Gladwell has taught us, we are seeing a Tipping Point in values. What if the generation now going to college, entering into the workplace, actually gets it that making loads of money is the booby price, that fame, and fast cars, and endless hustling are not all they were cracked up to be?

What if these movies, and this great new album, point to a collective shift towards valuing connection, giving your gift and making a real contribution to people, whether we get paid for it or not?

Maybe we can relax a little, and look forward to a Braver New World in 2014.


What are your thoughts about this?  Write them below for me, if you would be so kind…



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14 Responses to “Signs of Good Times Ahead”

  1. David Welch January 7, 2014 at 10:50 pm // Reply

    American Hustle: I loved this film. Although it showed us at our worst the ending was uplifting. They didn’t take the money and run. They were intelligent and used it to get out of the jam they put themselves in. It was smart, redeeming and fun.
    The Wolf of Wall Street: This film made me feel bad about our and the extreme excess of wall street. Unending greed, no regard for others or themselves with out any redeeming qualities to it.


    • Arjuna January 12, 2014 at 9:12 pm // Reply

      Thanks David
      I take a little bit different perspective.
      To me, Hustle was not so much about taking the higher ground. This would be a moral virtue, but, in my opinion, a hollow one.
      To me awakening is not about becoming a better or more virtuous person, but about seeing things as they are, in their beauty and ugliness, both
      That is what i liked about these films. they are powerful mirrors
      all the best!


  2. SiLe January 8, 2014 at 12:12 am // Reply

    Another great blog as I’m reading this and thinking about it all the wind is fierce and pushing against the top of my tree house!! Opening my top door twice
    I’ve watch a documentary about Wall Street schemes last year around the same time you bringing it in the cold winter nights…..
    The good times …. Maybe it is about steeping down in this middle ground into growing fields … Where we all have the same to give and receive a en~ counter balance harmonious change to hold in for us the same power ~evenness ~ is easy friendly!


    • Arjuna January 12, 2014 at 9:09 pm // Reply

      yes, we’ve got to let go of the idea of anyone else is the bad guy
      we are all in this together!


  3. SiLe January 8, 2014 at 2:00 am // Reply


    Sometimes,when a bird cries out
    Or the wind sweeps through a tree
    Or a dog howls in a far off farm,
    I hold still ans listen a long time
    My soul turns and goes back to the place
    Where, a thousand forgotten years ago,
    The birds nod the blowing wind
    We’re like me,and were my brothers
    My soul turns into a tree,
    And a animal, and a cloud bank
    Then changed and odd it comes home
    And asks me questions. What should i reply?


    • Arjuna January 12, 2014 at 9:09 pm // Reply

      I grew up on Hesse!


  4. Wendy January 8, 2014 at 3:51 am // Reply

    About twelve years ago I put a bumper sticker on my car that said “If you’re not outraged you’re not paying attention.” It was right next to the ones about global warming, corporate greed, Nader for President, “Peace,” and “nuke a gay whale for Jesus” (satire of course). I realized around 2004 that no one seemed to get it or if they did, my auto may suffer. They are all in a box somewhere, I think. Then, wonder of wonders, Occupy Wall Street happened and movies and books and songs and non-profits and it’s beginning to feel like change — just like in the Civil Rights and Anti-War years. I do have hope and gratitude since for a long time I felt Michael Moore, Ralph, Barbara Erenreich, and all the rest, including me and my husband, expended a lot of energy towards raising awareness but would probably not see any results in our lifetime. I am also a forty+ year meditator and teach yoga and meditation. I ceded the “battle” to the younger generations about eight years ago, now using my energy to bring my spiritual life and work to the forefront. It is a wondrous world that is finding its balance and I am grateful to be living in remarkable and interesting times. The world is as we perceive it to be.


    • Arjuna January 12, 2014 at 9:08 pm // Reply

      great comment, Wendy!


  5. Mischa January 10, 2014 at 5:08 pm // Reply

    Another Number One Hit about Awakening:


    • Arjuna January 12, 2014 at 9:07 pm // Reply

      Also a great video!
      thank you so much!


  6. Mischa January 12, 2014 at 6:12 pm // Reply

    Another Sign:


    • Arjuna January 12, 2014 at 8:59 pm // Reply

      Thank you Mischa
      Where can i see the film?


      • Mischa January 13, 2014 at 7:47 pm // Reply

        This film is playing in cinemas in germany and austria right now. I´dont know if there will be an english version. The message of the movie is brilliant: Observing is the only thing you have to do in (conscious) parenting.
        Everything else will blossom by itself. (“radical awakening” is not needed anymore ;-))
        They proof that by neurosience and other long term studies and also a guy who was never in school. His parents just observed him. This guy (Andre Stern) learned everything by himself. Just because he was interestet by his nature.

        The subtitle of the movie is “fear or love”

        Brilliant isn`t it?
        In the end everything (spirituality, parenting, politics, music, medicine,every aspect of life) is about “fear or love”

        But you know that 😉


  7. Mischa January 20, 2014 at 6:05 pm // Reply

    Good Sign of Advertising:


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