Friday, March 5, 2010


Alice returns to Wonderland with a sense of dejavu in more than one way. Then a curious child, now she's a full-blooded teen. And having a smiling Cheshire cat habitually and arbitrarily showing up in her dreams have made him the nocturnal visitor she has resigned to accept!

The story unfolds in a time when external appearances mattered more than personal preferences. We quickly see Alice making a statement against the decorum defiantly producing evidence of the absence of corset and stockings in her summer dress-up to her widowed and distressed mother. Ironically, she was on her way to a garden party that, unbeknownst to her, would take her to the threshold of betrothal.

Facing immense pressure to fit a prescribed role, Alice found courage from her inner voice, "Everyone expects me to [say yes], but this is happening so fast." Then, she continued before dashing away, "I think I need a moment."

Running away from facing a public marriage proposal where she was set up to say 'Yes', she found respite and growing clarity through a breakaway that gave vitality to her inner voice.

This breakaway involved falling into a hole and cascading down a long tunnel at the end of which she quickly found herself in a room facing a series of closed doors. The thing about doors is that it seems to compel you to reach for the handle.

She soon found the key and discovered that she had to be of the right fit to go through the right door. Surprisingly, for someone who had prior experience through the same passage, she fumbled getting into the right size for the right door. Watching her unobtrusively, a voice commented, "You'd think she would know!"

Once on the other side of the right door, Alice instantly came face to face with a path of uncertainty and the question of "Who are you?".

Those previously acquainted with the younger Alice soon observed a different persona in her that made them doubt her originality. The Cheshire cat declared, "You're not the same as've lost your 'muchness'." He was inferring to her previous sense of adventure.

Alice shot back a sharp retort, "I have been shrunk, stretched, stuffed into pot... everybody's telling me what to do.. this is my dream and I'm making the path... to find the sword to fight evil."

I'd gone to the movies to escape from 'processing expectations' and to find place for the 'me'. And so, in a strange way, I felt exposed by hearing what's in my heart spoken by Alice! Yes, it's one of those days you feel you're walking along the margins.

Right before the epic confrrontation between the inimitable Red Queen and the White Queen, the latter declared, "The armour is complete, now we need a champion."  Then, turning to Alice she said, "You can't make your choice to please others. You have to make the choice [for] yourself."

Once again, when it seemed like she was set up for an answer that would please others, this time however, she given the choice to be honest instead. And a Champion was indeed born by the empowerment of choice and honesty.

I begin to see that relying on a set up of circumstances rather than the empowerment of choice for people produce more casualties than champions.

Finally, Alice, finding herself, became the Champion who faced the formidable Jabberwock whom she was destined to take down. She drew courage from thinking of six impossible things that had become possible in her life. Much like the mental list of God's goodness that I draw on in times of desolation.

Truly, in many ways, I felt like I went through the tunnel with Alice and journeyed with her. Truly, it was a well-timed movie. Cathartic for anyone who needs the empowerment of choice!