So I was watching a film with the kids this week – my partner has 3 gorgeous girls – who are also anarchists in their spare time, and the film was called “The Book of Life”. I’ve included a clip from the film that totally blew me away. Not because it was a huge discovery, but because it totally depicts how transformation works.

To give you a little backstory on the scene: Manolo has just been fighting as a matador with a hundred bulls and in the beginning he can do it, he’s winning, but then eventually the tide starts to turn against him. Then just when it couldn’t get any worse, the bulls all suddenly transform into one giant Toro Bull! There’s no way he can fight that thing.

Until he sees the guitar.

Manolo always wanted to be a singer, but his father was a bull fighter and he came from a long tradition of bull fighters, so that’s what he became: a bull fighter. I won’t spoil the rest of the film. You should really watch it. But there he is in the scene with the giant toro bull and the only thing he can do is play and sing from his heart and apologise to the bull for all the pain that he had caused and for all the pain caused by his forefathers to all the generations of toro bulls.

And this is what is amazing about this scene. When he comes from a place of love he is able to transform the bull into gold light and release all that pain.

The symbology of it is amazing.

In life we have adversity. Sometimes we can’t run away from it and we have to deal with it. That could be an ex partner you share kids with, a horrible boss or co-worker, or it could be a parental figure who had a negative impact on your life. In my years of working in the mental health sector I came across clients with horrific backgrounds of abuse who still had those people who abused them in their life. I’ve also had to work very closely with clients in that field who would verbally and physically abuse me at times. In those situations I couldn’t just walk away, I had a duty of care to work with, and attempt to bring positive change to their lives. Sometimes I was able to do that, and sometimes I wasn’t able to.

We can’t always change the circumstance we find ourselves in. We have to deal with it. And in the beginning we can fight and try to change the situation. However over time we get ground down, and it starts to feel like a losing battle.

What can change though is how we feel about it. And this is what is great about this scene in this film. The toro bull is our pain and if we can connect with it from a place of love and forgiveness we can transform and release it so that it doesn’t have the same impact on us.

The simple way do this is to simply acknowledge our pain and our fear and get into approval of what we feel. When we do this something changes, something else emerges. And we simply need to repeat this until we feel stillness, connected to ourselves and are clear. It may take focus for some of our deeper trauma, however once we’re clear we are free. We’re free to act upon the authentic desire that is revealed.

This is the act of self love.

And this is something I’ve seen in my work with victims of abuse. They heal themselves with love and become empowered again to live their lives the way they want to, untangled from the pain and the story of their past.

When we can do that, and live our life from a place of connection to ourselves, it can start to meet and change the world around us.

But this is thing that is most important to understand, that we live our life from connection to ourselves in way that fulfils us DESPITE the adversity we face. Because sometimes the adversity we face is never going to change.

It reminds me of my time as an activist in Canada fighting against the free trade agreements that were happening back at the turn of the new millennium. There were thousands of us in Quebec City standing off against hundreds of armed police, being gassed and shot at with rubber bullets, and what we were doing was singing songs and beating drums and throwing teddy bears at them in protest at what was happening.

Whilst we did manage to shut down part of the meeting of government leaders from across the Americas, we didn’t stop the agreements from happening. What we did do was fight for what we believed in, in a way that came from a place that reflected who we were, and what we believed in.

To express ourselves that way despite what was being done to us felt amazing.

So in this work we connect to our awareness, we get out of our minds and the drama, and we connect to what we want to feel, we get into self approval, and then we start to move our lives in away that connects us to that. Through this we start to step out of our fear, our anxiety, our pain, and into love and joy.

Then we live from this place despite what life throws at us and we become transformers and liberators of our life, and the life of those around us. We can manifest new possibilities.

And that is when our lives become full of meaning and satisfaction.


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