Get Out of Jail

iStock_000001616955SmallRecently, I had the chance to watch the movie Instinct in which Anthony Hopkins plays a primatologist who “goes native” with a group of mountain gorillas. When humans kill his gorilla family, he goes berserk, kills some of the attackers, ends up in an African prison, and refuses to speak for years. Finally, a psychiatrist played by Cuba Gooding, Jr. breaks through and hears the story of Hopkins’ adventures.

This movie is based on the book Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn, which I think all humans should read. The film has powerful implications about the 20th century, especially the great machine of industry that is our economy. If someone you love (possibly you!) is caught in a stifling system, being torn from their true nature and being forced to act as a cog in the machine, buy this movie and watch it together. The filmmakers’ symbol for society is a prison for the insane known as “Harmony Bay.” In it, you will see every horrible boss, every stupid meeting, every injustice and every suffocating separation from nature that corporate life inflicts on so many people.
Sorry to spoil the surprise, but Anthony Hopkins eventually frees not only himself but Cuba Gooding, Jr. and a lot of the other prisoners. Freedom looks different for each of these people. For some, it is simply the power the say no to a bully. For others, it’s the creation of loving relationships. But for still others, it is almost complete separation from all human structures. Every character is liberated from some sort of cage, and the key to the cage is always the courage to use all one’s available power and freedom to choose what most nourishes the heart.
Today, you can use the same key to unlock any prisons in which you feel confined. Freedom can start as simply as wearing the clothes you really like instead of what your friends will really admire. It can be standing up for a stranger who’s unfairly bumped out of line at the post office. It can be structuring your schedule to suit the wildest part of yourself, instead of the most docile and broken. We all have freedoms we have not yet explored.
Today, break a few bars and venture into territory that initially makes you say, “Oh no, I could never.” That phrase is a sign that you have bumped up against the bars of your cage. Notice if it comes with a nervous laugh instead of genuine revulsion (because of course if you are cruel or unkind, those bars are there for good reason.) Do something today that you think is too delicious, too selfish, too wacky to fit within the rules of your life.  
After my family watched Instinct, I told my partner Karen I wished every man in America would watch it. Men in particular are trapped these days in the image of themselves as cogs in the great economic machine. So, Karen began telling people “Have you seen Basic Instinct? It’s amazing! Every man in America should watch it.” People began giving Karen strange looks. Eventually, someone told her why. But Karen did not suffer because she’d been recommending soft core porn rather than a fabulous drama. She did not disintegrate because of the head scratching and raised eyebrows of the people who now think she’s an obsessive Sharon Stone fan. A 55-year-old woman earnestly recommending smut to all her dearest friends is not a problem for her.
When you break your rules, when you act “crazy,” you won’t disintegrate, either. You will just join those of us who like to play outside our cages and respectfully do not care what anybody thinks.
Good luck and bon voyage!

photo (1)P.S. For extra credit take a picture of yourself breaking one of your rules and post it on our Facebook page. (Just remember that “Martha told me to” does not a plea bargain make.)

And The Winner Is…

MBCollection-Vol1First of all, we would like to extend an enormous “thank you” to everyone who bought volume one of the new Martha Beck Collection so far! To paraphrase the great words of Sally Field (who will never, ever live it down), “You like it! You really like it!” Whether it’s your first time or your fiftieth, we hope you have enjoyed reading these fan-favorite essays, all in one handy-dandy place. 

For all of you that also took the time to submit your name for the drawing via email or snail mail, wow! Thank you for sending verifiable proof that you value Martha’s work! We were all so giddy, receiving your receipts or postcards, it felt a little like being Santa Claus on Christmas morning: the anticipation and excitement of selecting the winners was practically killing us!

So without further delay, here are the winners of our “Martha Beck Collection” drawing*…

Grand Prize Winner: Elizabeth Morant
Elizabeth will get a free, 60-minute phone session with Martha Beck herself. Enjoy, Elizabeth!

Second Prize Winners: 

  • Amy Pearson
  • Anna Brindley
  • Kate DeSmet Kulka
  • Stephannie McGohan
  • Wendy Allen

These lucky folks win a copy of Martha’s entire digital audio library,  which includes over 50 hours of content with Martha and her Master Coaches. If the winners start listening now, they can create a better life by Friday!

Thank you again for your ongoing dedication and support to creating your right life. We love the Team and are so glad to share this journey with all of you!

Much love,

~The Martha Beck Inc. Team

Martha, Bridgette, Jessica S., Jessica R., Sandra, Abigail, Jennifer, and Jill

 * Winners were selected using a sophisticated random number generator. Getting to use it was the highlight of our geeky lives.