“Cocktail” is not a movie used as an example of fine filmmaking. Yet, I found the movie beyond my expectations. The writers had expressed a universal truth in it. You have to look way deep beneath the predictable dialogue and storyline to find it. Fortunately, I made the choice to see everything as a gift. The beauty of the truth shining through in that film is this: Never give up on your dreams.
On the surface “Cocktail” is a story of two working-class men wanting to catch a break. One of them is offered a shortcut by marrying a rich woman who introduces him to the lifestyle he’s longed for and it ends up killing him.
Tom Cruise’s character doesn’t give up on his dream of making his own business a reality. He sees that the work is its own reward and is inspired by the work of bartending that he composes poetry to it. When someone writes poetry, you know that’s love.
Our families pass down a set of values to us and all of those get lost in this one primal thing they wish for us, which is to earn a living. So we get lost in the obsession to make money and pay our bills. This is what responsible adults do and it is essential if we are to function in society.
If we haven’t cultivated a strong faith in something beyond the physical world, we may become deeply unsatisfied in jobs that are “secure” and offer reliable income.
A part of our spirit may long for something more. Adventure, perhaps? A red Ferrari? So we do all of those things when we have enough money and they don’t satisfy us in the long run. Why is this? Because those things are not what anyone truly desires. Connection is what humans need to survive.
I experienced dissociation many times in my role as a mother in my family. I was also highly unconscious when I worked in office settings too. It often felt like there was a life out there that I was not living. This is probably true for so many people.
As humans, we have a spirit that longs to be cared for. The language of the spirit is art. Art is not Renaissance paintings in the museums. Art is connection. It could be something as simple as a beautiful Cosmopolitan in a frosted glass with a twist of lemon as a garnish made to be shared with your partner. It could be a cup of tea we have each day to reflect on our day or it could be pulling weeds from our garden or planting new seeds or repotting plants.
Our spirit loves gratitude. If we begin with being grateful for what we already have, we start to see how we can improve these things around us and create art with them. When I was ungrateful and angry that my gift for writing was wasted, I was blocked, or rather I was sitting in a deep fog, unable to see all the beauty before me and express my gratitude for it.
Purification can come in the form of a teacher. Finding that person who has achieved the things you wish for in your life will open those locked doors. By all means, when such a person comes along, sacrifice money as gratitude for what they have to show you.
When I started writing my memoir under the care of a published memoirist, my dream of becoming a writer became clear. The fog lifted as I woke up early and wrote in a disciplined way. It was my act of self-love, an opportunity to connect with that creative child who was not seen or appreciated by her parents and peers for whatever reason. It was me sending the clear signal to the universe that I believe in my powers as a writer.
When we appreciate art and pay the teachers who can show our spirit’s potential, it could be that we create a world where earning a living doesn’t have to mean working in a job that doesn’t feed our soul. Maybe the perfect cocktail, the healing elixir for the human condition is gratitude, which leads to strength and discipline to go against our judgment that creativity is an empty pursuit (which ironically fill our proverbial cup).
Over to you…
Were there times when you collaborated with others to realise something? This could be a group assignment, a team project, or your role in your family.
When you step away from the group, do you still feel a sense of connection with the world at large through service in your given line of work?
Do you feel what you have to share with the world is a gift unique to you? You could be very good with numbers, words, images, speaking, planning, organising, counseling, movement, and expression through dance, music, or anything else.
Do you allow yourself the proper time and space to have a sense of play and joy in your life?