Thoughts on the Moment

Cover design by Paul L. Clark/Inspirtainment

Recent events on both a national and global scale have given me pause to reflect on where we are and where we might be going. There are no easy answers, and opinions likely vary widely, depending on one’s own particular circumstances. As a consequence, this time in history could turn out to be a great tragedy – or a tremendous opportunity. This question is, “Which will we choose?”

While pondering these matters, it dawned on me that I addressed this subject several years ago in the Epilogue to my most recent book, Third Real: Conscious Creation Goes Back to the Movies. At the time, events were well on the path to spinning out of control, but circumstances were nothing like they are at the moment. What I wrote at the time was based on speculation, hunches and a prediction for what could happen – and what might result from it if we didn’t heed the warning signs and take them seriously in mapping out what kind of future would result from them. I also explained how the contents of that book could potentially play into the ideas covered in the Epilogue.

Upon re-reading the Epilogue text one recent afternoon, I realized how much of what I wrote three years ago is relevant to our current conditions. So, in light of that, I decided to republish this excerpt from Third Real in the hope that it may provide some insights to those who don’t know what to make of our present circumstances – and what to do about them as we move forward into an immensely uncertain future.

While the main thrust of my writing is about movies, my Epilogue observations only deal with them tangentially. The Epilogue has more to do with conscious creation – the philosophy that maintains we manifest the reality we experience through the power of our thoughts, beliefs and intents – and what we should do with this practice. As I have noted in all three of my books, movies provide us with examples we can draw from in shaping our beliefs, but, in this Epilogue, unlike the main text of my titles, I make only passing references to specific films. For detailed illustrations, read the main text of my books, since here I’m choosing to focus on the principles underlying them – and how we might draw upon those concepts in moving forward. Goodness knows, with what’s happening these days, I can’t think of a better time to do that – in earnest and, preferably, as soon as possible.

With that said, here is the Epilogue to Third Real, edited minimally [in brackets] to provide context for present conditions and to incorporate elaboration and clarification not contained in the original. End notes have been retained for attribution and additional clarity where needed.

I hope you find my words from the past useful in the thoughts of today.


Time To Get Real 

Toward the Creation of a New Paradigm 

“Forward movement is not helpful if what is needed is a change of direction.”―Dr. David Fleming(1)

For quite some time now, political, business and social activist leaders have been saying that we need to fix our world, that we need to set things on a path that moves us forward. But, truthfully, as noble as those sentiments may be, what have such statements actually gotten us? As I write this [in 2017], we’re in a world beset by a host of issues that, if anything, only seem to be getting worse, not better.

As a general rule, I like to think of myself as an optimist, believing in the hope of a better future. With infinite probabilities and the limitless potential of conscious creation at our disposal, I’d like to think that we can collectively manifest great things. Indeed, as author and conscious creation advocate Jane Roberts wrote in Seth Speaks, once we realize that we create reality with the power of our thoughts, beliefs and intents, we’re no longer enslaved to events and circumstances, that we can birth an existence that we want.(2) And, through it all, I’ve always contended that we can draw inspiration from the arts, particularly film, to help show us the way to achieve that goal.

I touched on these points in the Epilogues of this book’s two predecessors. In Get the Picture?!, I wrote of the endless possibilities conscious creation enables and how we can look at movies as examples of how to realize them.(3) And then, in Consciously Created Cinema, I picked up on that notion and suggested that we apply it to improving the prevailing circumstances of our world.(4) But, given how drastically and dramatically events have unfolded (dare I say deteriorated) in recent years, I feel as though my words may not have been emphatic enough. In light of that, then, let me put it this way: I believe it’s time we get real about putting conscious creation to use to bring a new paradigm into being.

I have addressed this idea through a number of the film summaries in [Third Real]. Virtually all of the entries in Chapters 7 and 8, for example, present cautionary tales that deal with issues great and small that merit attention from all of us. But simply showing concern or paying lip service may no longer be enough. Conditions, I believe, have reached a point where we earnestly need to put our beliefs and deeds into action to address these matters before they get away from us. As observed in [Jane Roberts’s] The “Unknown” Reality, Volume 1, “If some changes are not made, the race as such will not endure.”(5)

Now do you see what I mean about getting real? [As discussed in this book’s Introduction,] I’m convinced that we’re truly on the verge of our own third reel/third real moment, and we’d better get busy before it escapes us and the credits start to roll.

So how, exactly, do we go about this? First and foremost, we must wake up and understand how our world comes into existence and from whence it originates. Then we must put those methods into practice, with clarity of thought, open-mindedness and carefully crafted manifesting beliefs. However, as this Epilogue’s opening quote suggests, this may call for a revolutionary new way of thinking, one that’s not focused just on fixing what we have, but of striking out in an entirely new direction. Of course, to do that, we must also deconstruct what’s in place, particularly ridding ourselves of beliefs that no longer serve us. For instance, as Jane Roberts wrote in The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events, if we cling to notions like “you can’t change human nature” or adhere to beliefs that “man’s nature is to be greedy, a predator, a murderer at heart,” we’re unlikely to advance ourselves into a new world.(6) Instead, we’ll remain mired in circumstances that grow progressively unbearable as we continue to materialize a reality based on such unsavory core assumptions.

Given that, it would seem it’s time to change our tune and to employ the means and methods designed to realize an outcome in harmony with that new melody. In addition to drawing upon the conscious creation basics outlined in Get the Picture?! and Consciously Created Cinema, we can also tap into the ideas covered in [Third Real] to manifest a radically new reality. The concepts and themes of the chapters chosen for Third Real were carefully selected to get us past some of the pitfalls that can derail or impinge upon our materialization efforts. They’re all designed to provide us with greater precision in our conscious creation practices, a new and enhanced degree of aptitude intended to not only move us forward, but also to shepherd us in a new direction.

It’s especially worth noting that this is something we need to do collectively, the point behind the inclusion of Chapter 10, [concerning co-creation,] in this work. We need to get past the idea that we’re separate and apart from one another, instead embracing our acknowledgment that we’re all in this together, innately connected and part of a greater integrated whole. Thus, if we’re truly inescapably linked to one another, then we all need to participate in the unfolding of this scenario (and, one would hope, in a way that leads to its advancement). And the more of us who realize this, the better off we’ll be. Jane Roberts foresaw this in The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events, in which she wrote that we’re on the verge of creating an improved mass reality, one with fewer frightened people, fewer fanatics and a mindset geared toward birthing an idealized existence.(7) Should we succeed at this, we raise the possibility of “enrich[ing] the race, and bring[ing] it to levels of spiritual and psychic fulfillment.”(8) That’s quite a destiny – so why not make it our value fulfillment, [the subject of this book’s Chapter 11,] as well?

When we imagine the possibilities, we conceivably have much to look forward to. But, if it’s to occur, it’s clearly up to us. We must be willing to allow it and then to make it happen. Indeed, as many who have had various paranormal experiences have been told, “A new world awaits you if you can take it.”(9)

Are we up to that challenge? I’d like to think we are. I know I am. So, if this is something we’d like to bring into being, I once again propose the kind of metaphysical call to arms that I raised in the conclusion of Consciously Created Cinema.(10) As we load our own third reel onto the metaphysical projector of life, let’s get busy – and work together toward that happy ending all of us want.

End Notes: Epilogue | Time To Get Real

(1) Environmentalist Dr. David Fleming (1940-2010) was the author of Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It (2011).

(2) Jane Roberts, Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul (San Rafael, CA: Amber-Allen Publishing/New World Library, 1994), p. 412 (ESP Class Session, January 5, 1971).

(3) See Get the Picture?!: Conscious Creation Goes to the Movies, second edition (2014), pp. 363-365.

(4) See Consciously Created Cinema: The Movie Lover’s Guide to the Law of Attraction (2014), pp. 275-276.

(5) Jane Roberts, The “Unknown” Reality: A Seth Book, Volume One (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1977), pp. 114-115 (Seth Session 687, March 4, 1974, emphasis in original).

(6) Jane Roberts, The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events (San Rafael, CA: Amber-Allen Publishing, 1995), p. 259 (Seth Session 862, June 25, 1979).

(7) Id.

(8) Jane Roberts, The “Unknown” Reality: A Seth Book, Volume One (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1977), pp. 114-115 (Seth Session 687, March 4, 1974).

(9) This has largely occurred with those who have had UFO encounters, though it has also come up in other paranormal contexts, such as in channeling sessions not unlike those that Jane Roberts experienced in her contact with her noncorporeal writing partner, Seth.

(10) See Consciously Created Cinema: The Movie Lover’s Guide to the Law of Attraction (2014), pp. 275-276.

Unraveling an Entangled Paradox

When faced with a paradox, it’s easy to lose hope. Circumstances may seem so inextricably entangled that it appears there’s no way to sort matters out. Indeed, it’s the kind of situation where it seems like only divine intervention can help. And it’s that kind of help that’s being sought by a seriously conflicted individual whose hopes, dreams and aspirations are caught up in a conundrum ostensibly incapable of being unraveled, the subject of the recently re-released documentary, “A Sinner in Mecca” (web site, trailer).

After the completion of his controversial debut feature, filmmaker Parvez Sharma became a marked man. In 2008, the gay Islamic director released the documentary “A Jihad for Love,” which detailed the lives and struggles of homosexual Muslims around the globe. His action earned him a fatwa, a religious opinion that condemned him for the crime of apostasy. Even though he was living in the relative safety of New York, this proclamation hung heavily over him for what was considered such an outwardly blasphemous cinematic statement.

However, this condemnation was not about to stop Sharma from speaking out. He made numerous media appearances to discuss his film and draw attention to the plight of gay Muslims, who often face persecution and severe punishment for their “crimes,” including public beheadings in countries like Saudi Arabia, homeland of the faith. This ascent of his public profile made his personal security even more perilous, a problem potentially complicated further when he married his partner, Dan, when same-sex marriage became legal in the US. But this was not to be the end of his exploits in pushing the envelope.

Gay Islamic filmmaker Parvez Sharma documents his odyssey to Mecca, Saudi Arabia for his sacred hajj pilgrimage, a journey all Muslims are required to make at least once in their lifetimes, as depicted in the recently re-released documentary, “A Sinner in Mecca.” Photo courtesy of Haram Films.

Even though Sharma could be openly comfortable about his sexuality in his secular life in the US, he faced considerable challenges when trying to be himself in a religious context. And faith was not something that the filmmaker took casually. Having been born and raised in India, he grew up in a rich religious tradition, devoutly practicing his faith and adhering to the loving, accepting traditions at the core of Islam. However, in an age when the faith had been hijacked by fundamentalist extremists who distorted many of the religion’s teachings and imposed vile punishments for infractions, all for their own archaic and misogynist ends, it often caused him and countless other peace-loving Muslims to alter their behavior for fear of dangerous reprisals. Here he was, a 21st Century man attempting to live under the dictates of 700-year-old religious laws and doctrines.

This placed Sharma in the middle of a confounding paradox: How could he be both an open and authentically gay man while also being a devout Muslim under the prevailing threatening conditions? This was particularly true for his desire to participate in the hajj, a pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city of Mecca, a venture all Muslims are required to complete at least once during their lifetimes. It was something he was anxious to undertake, but how welcome would an openly gay man with a fatwa on his head be made to feel in journeying to Saudi Arabia’s most sacred site?

This was not the only challenge Sharma faced in making his pilgrimage. As a filmmaker, he wanted to document his odyssey, particularly since it would give him an opportunity to share images of Mecca with the outside world. He believed this was important to provide outsiders with a view of Islam’s holiest site, as well as the devotion of pilgrims who make the journey there, especially since non-Muslims are strictly forbidden from visiting the holy city. However, filming of any kind is illegal in Saudi Arabia, so, in attempting to document his journey, Sharma would be taking on an additional risk besides the fatwa already dogging him.

Devoted Muslims making the hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia are required to visit the sacred Kabaa shrine at the holy city’s Great Mosque, a ritual gesture depicted in the recently re-released documentary “A Sinner in Mecca,” available for online streaming. Photo courtesy of Haram Films.

But perhaps the biggest challenge Sharma faced was the one with himself, wrestling with an uneasy conscience seeking to reconcile his innate sexuality with the tenets of the faith he so dearly loved. How could he be a good Muslim if he were living life in a way that inherently went against its principles and traditions? Could he truly be accepted by his Islamic peers for who he was? But, most importantly, would Allah willingly embrace him as one of the faithful if he were violating what he believed to be God’s will? Indeed, could a sacred pilgrimage really answer those questions for him and provide him with inner peace?

Such are the conditions under which Sharma launched into his journey. With one eye perpetually looking over his shoulder, he embarked on his hajj to complete its various required rituals, armed with only an iPhone camera and two other miniature recording devices to capture events as they unfolded. He wasn’t sure what awaited him, but he was certainly hopeful to find the answers he sought.

What Sharma found surprised even him. He found a world to which the faithful from all over the globe devotedly flocked. He found a sense of devotion that was profoundly moving, including for himself. And he witnessed images of a religious following that flew squarely in the face of what much of the outside world saw as being representative of contemporary Islam. He was especially moved by the throngs of pilgrims piously encircling the Kabaa, the massive cube-shaped shrine at the center of the Great Mosque of Mecca and a symbol that has become virtually synonymous with the hajj.

Pilgrims from various Islamic sects around the world make their way to Mecca, Saudi Arabia for the hajj, a ritual of faith all Muslims are required to complete at least once in their lifetimes, as chronicled in “A Sinner in Mecca.” Photo courtesy of Haram Films.

At the same time, though, Sharma also came upon a world he didn’t expect. Given that millions of visitors descend upon Mecca every year, he found elements that surprised and even saddened him – unbridled commercialism, uncontrolled public sanitation issues, insufficient resources for handling the crowds and militarized security to keep pilgrims in check. Was such greed and squalor something that Islam should tolerate in connection with its most sacred rituals? Were the faithful indeed to go without the provision of basic needs? And were gun-toting guards really necessary to shepherd pilgrims through the various aspects of their odyssey? Such elements ran counter to the Islam that Sharma grew up with, leaving him with a sense of disillusionment, despite the obvious need for instituting such substantial logistical requirements for managing crowds of this size.

In light of the questions that Sharma had going in to this undertaking, as well as the new ones raised by his journey, he seems to have emerged from the experience with more queries on his plate than what he started with. And sorting them out sufficiently appears to have become even more difficult than expected. So where does one go from here? That depends to a great degree on one’s beliefs, for they shape one’s experience. And, with the many looming questions here, it would seem that getting one’s belief house in order should be a top priority.

Considering the foregoing, Sharma would appear to have his work cut out for him. To begin with, there’s the fundamental core matter of reconciling his gay life with his religious calling. In accepting his sexuality, he has embraced a significant aspect of his authentic self, despite whatever opposition others may have to his choice to do so. But, in terms of allowing this decision to jibe with his religious self, he’s faced with a bigger question to address: Can he realistically buy into a belief that asks him to willingly deny an integral part of himself in order to be accepted as a proper follower of the religion in which he seeks to participate? The answer to that question would still appear to be in the process of emerging, something that Sharma hoped the hajj would help him determine. How much closer he is to an actual answer by journey’s end, however, is unclear at best.

The hajj pilgrimage is a moving moment of faith for all Muslims as seen in director Parvez Sharma’s recently re-released documentary, “A Sinner in Mecca.” Photo courtesy of Haram Films.

Then there are the disillusionment beliefs that arose as a result of his pilgrimage, particularly those associated with how well the faith treats its own when making their sacred journey. For instance, Sharma seems to take issue with one of the world’s largest and most lavish shopping malls being located only a stone’s throw away from the Great Mosque of Mecca. Indeed, the very notion of this calls to mind the story of Jesus and the money changers in the temple. Is such close proximity to a sacred site really appropriate for a Starbuck’s? And what does that say about the character of one’s faith – is a religion that sanctions such practices truly worthy of one’s devotion? Has it lost sight of the principles upon which it was founded in favor of secularized, self-serving interests?

Then there are the larger issues of the faith – is it acceptable to throw one’s support behind a religion that has been hijacked by extremists and has willingly cast aside its humanitarianism, leaving the world with a distorted view of what it’s all about at its heart? As a religion claimed by one-sixth of the world’s population, is it acceptable to allow it to be mischaracterized in such a distorted way? Can beliefs along those lines be justified?

These are some of the pressing matters to be resolved, and Sharma, like many others in his shoes, is up against a difficult stack of beliefs to sort out. To that end, though, he proposes a significant idea to consider – that contemporary gay Muslims become involved in bringing the faith into the 21st Century, helping to institute change to a religion that in many ways is still stuck in the 1400s. That’s certainly a noble and pragmatic idea, but, to make it happen, one must invoke beliefs aimed at realizing that outcome. However, if it’s going to happen, one must truly first believe in the possibility.

Encircling the Kabaa shrine at the Great Mosque of Mecca is an event virtually synonymous with the Islamic hajj pilgrimage, as seen in the recently re-released documentary, “A Sinner in Mecca,” available for online streaming. Photo courtesy of Haram Films.

Back in time for Pride month via online streaming, this highly personal 2015 documentary about a gay Muslim examines the quandary of an individual seeking to be true to himself on diametrically opposed fronts. Questions of attempts at fulfilling sanctioned elements of devotion clash with personal values that run counter to them, pitting the protagonist against himself as he seeks to reconcile feelings for which there are no easy answers. As someone who risks the death penalty for his lifestyle, as well as legal sanctions for engaging in artistic pursuits that are forbidden in Islam’s homeland, director Sharma takes viewers on a journey that captivates, educates and boggles the mind, all at the same time. There are moments when Sharma’s story will leave viewers shaking their heads, as well as occasions when the material seems padded and somewhat self-indulgent. However, if nothing else, this offering will leave audiences with myriad questions about how to sort out personally significant but inherently conflicting circumstances, some of which may be applicable to our own circumstances, whether we’re Muslim or not.

It’s been said that he who tries to serve two masters will be torn asunder. And, when dealing with circumstances whose qualities are world apart, that just may be true unless an obviously inventive solution can be found. Thankfully, though, that’s one of the beauties of beliefs; they can be tailored to specifically suit our needs, enabling the most wondrous creations. All we need do is come up with the right combination of attributes to fulfill our requirements and commit to seeing them realized. The result just may feel like it’s heaven sent.

A complete review is available by clicking here.

The Dangers of Stalemates

Being stuck in our circumstances can be a horrible fate. Such stalemates keep us mired in unsatisfying conditions, preventing us from moving forward. But what’s even worse is not realizing that we are stuck, an exercise in ongoing frustration examined in the new generational drama, “Miss Juneteenth” (web site, trailer).

In 2004, Turquoise Jones (Nicole Beharie) was proudly crowned Miss Juneteenth, the top honor in a beauty pageant staged in honor of the 1865 freeing of the remaining Black slaves in Texas, two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Turquoise was thrilled by her victory; in addition to the notoriety that came with the title, she received a full scholarship to a traditionally Southern Black university of her choice. She sincerely believed that this achievement was the start of a bright future, full of promise and accomplishment.

Fifteen years later, however, life has turned out to be very different from what Turquoise expected. As the single mother of a free-spirited teenager, Kai (Alexis Chikaeze), the daughter of a fundamentalist Christian but alcoholic mother, Charlotte (Lori Hayes), the separated wife of an unreliable husband, Ronnie (Kendrick Sampson), and the manager of a popular but rundown Ft. Worth barbecue joint, she has her hands full. She struggles to hold things together but somehow manages to get by. But, as pressures mount, will she be able to continue doing so?

Turquoise’s biggest concern is Kai. She wants her daughter to have a better life than she has had. And, to make that possible, she’s convinced it can happen by Kai following in her footsteps as the next Miss Juneteenth. She scrimps to save up the funds needed to cover the pageant entry fee and to pay for a beautiful gown (ironically, a lovely shade of turquoise). She also works hard at helping Kai develop the poise and qualities needed to become a successful contestant. There’s just one catch – Kai doesn’t really want it.

Considering everything that Turquoise is doing for her, Kai might be looked on by some as an ungrateful brat. But is she? It’s obvious she’s quite gifted as a dancer known for provocative steps and equally enticing costuming, but is she really cut out for the comparatively tame acts typical of a beauty pageant contestant? That’s apparent as she struggles to recite the Maya Angelou poetry that her mother insists she present in the pageant’s talent competition; it’s just not her style. What’s more, Turquoise is concerned that Kai isn’t making an effort to portray herself with the expected retiring and demure attitude of a beauty queen. Turquoise suggests that Kai may be hanging around with bad influences, including a would-be boyfriend (Jaime Matthis) and even her own father, afraid that such associations could leave the wrong impression with onlookers who see Kai out in public and thereby jeopardize her chances of winning.

Thus begins an ongoing struggle between mother and daughter. Kai has dreams of her own and wants to be able to be herself in fulfilling them. Turquoise, meanwhile, may be well-meaning when it comes to her daughter’s welfare, but is she truly looking out after Kai’s best interests or trying to make up for her own failings related to an opportunity that didn’t pan out as anticipated? It’s one thing to have hopes for one’s child, but it’s something else entirely to be an all-encompassing control freak. After all, Turquoise, of all people, should be cognizant of that in light of her own mother’s incessant attempts at trying to coerce her into joining her church. Can’t she see the parallels?

With these conditions in place, the stage is set for a showdown between what mom wants and what her 15-year-old daughter is prepared to do. Will there be joy and celebration? Or will there be despair and disappointment? Or is it possible that something else entirely may emerge? Await the envelope to see what wins the day.

It’s indeed unfortunate that circumstances haven’t turned out for Turquoise as hoped for. But, to a certain degree, one can’t also help but ask, “Who’s fault is that?” She’s apparently an intelligent and resourceful woman, but she’s made what some would consider questionable choices along the way, and those decisions have left her to deal with the consequences. She’s not happy with what she’s been saddled with, but that doesn’t mean she’s reconciled to those conditions for the rest of her life. So what is she to do about them?

Much depends on what Turquoise believes about herself – who she is, what she’s capable of and what she would like to do. And the beliefs underlying those matters are crucial, for they will determine what results. If Turquoise genuinely hopes to rise to the excellence she believes she’s capable of, she’s got her work cut out for her when it comes to assessing her abilities, commitments and objectives, as well as the beliefs underlying them. How she sees herself is important, because it will determine which thoughts, beliefs and intents she embraces. And, on this front, she needs to take a critical look at where she stands.

Obviously, Turquoise is holding on to hope from the past that failed to materialize. It has kept her stuck in place for 15 years. And now she’s seeking to impose this same thinking on someone else who isn’t burdened by such notions – Kai. Turquoise is hoping to get a second shot at the brass ring vicariously, transferring her aspirations onto a daughter whose own dreams are different from those of her mother. And, given the desperation Turquoise feels, the more aggressively she seeks to impose her aims on Kai, who’s anxious to strike out in her own direction, regardless of what her mother wants.

Clearly, Turquoise is holding on to beliefs and sought-after outcomes that no longer serve her. This is true not only where the pageant is concerned, but also in her relationships with Ronnie, Charlotte and even Wayman (Marcus M. Mauldin), owner of the barbecue joint. She readily slips into the role of caretaker in each of these cases, dutifully trying to help them out with their shortcomings, just like a good little beauty queen contestant should. But, if Turquoise sincerely wants to help herself move forward, she must realize what she’s doing and cut these ties, changing her beliefs accordingly.

In their own way, Kai, Wayman, Ronnie and Charlotte are all attempting to point Turquoise in this direction. Kai is determinedly seeking to reach out and follow her own dreams, providing an example for her mother to follow; Wayman flat out tells his manager that the restaurant is his, that he owns it free and clear, and that he’ll run it the way he wants; and Ronnie and Charlotte each make promises they can’t keep and behave unacceptably in various ways, purposely trying to drive wedges between them and Turquoise to implicitly encourage her to let go of them and their issues, problems that only they can solve. The question is, of course, “Is Turquoise paying attention?”

In addition to realizing the inherent pitfalls in these situations, Turquoise must accept responsibility for her actions (or inactions). Again, others (most notably Kai and Wayman) are attempting to set examples for her. They’re accountable for their choices and what results from them, for better or worse. But what matters most is that these are their choices and that they’re being responsible for them. If Turquoise were wise, she’d follow suit.

Should Turquoise choose to follow this path, opportunities await. For example, in addition to working as the restaurant manager, Turquoise is a part-time cosmetician for a funeral home owned by her friend Bacon (Akron Watson), someone who’s interested in her for more than just her makeup application abilities. As his business is expanding, Turquoise faces the prospect of a full-time job. And, as circumstances go south in her relationship with Ronnie, a willing, successful and responsible suitor waits in the wings.

So why isn’t Turquoise jumping at these opportunities? That’s on her. As someone who’s struggling to discover her authentic self and the beliefs that shape it, she hasn’t fully realized what’s on offer. To a great degree, she must give herself permission to avail herself of them, but, given where her mindset is at, she’s not ready to do so until she lets go of the belief flotsam that’s obscuring her view. Whether or not she takes this step depends on her ability to discern her circumstances and take advantage of what’s been presented to her. For her sake, we can only hope she does.

There’s a tremendous irony in all this, too. After 15 years, Turquoise is still hung up on the pageant and her failure to capitalize on its promise, a preoccupation that has, in many ways, kept her trapped in her past. Yet the Miss Juneteenth competition was established to celebrate emancipation, and Turquoise’s personal liberation has been thwarted by her own stalled fixation. Some might argue that this isn’t entirely surprising, considering that beauty pageants themselves could be viewed as anachronisms that hold women back, keeping them corralled into lifestyles and modes of behavior that are anything but liberating, another irony in light of the historical event that this pageant was created to celebrate. Given the nature of these competitions, perhaps it would benefit not only Turquoise, but also all other potential contestants, to eschew the assumed “value” of events like this, opting instead to explore possibilities that applaud the independence and empowerment of women. Now there’s something worth celebrating.

“Miss Juneteenth” lovingly tells a bittersweet tale about expectations that don’t pan out as hoped for but that can still work out in the end, provided we don’t become locked into inflexible, obsessive thought patterns. This touching and complicated story about trying to live one’s dreams – or to compensate for our failures by living them out through others – features excellent performances by Beharie and Chikaeze (in her big screen acting premiere), as well as a smartly written, though occasionally predictable screenplay. Director Channing Godfrey Peoples’s feature film debut marks the appearance of a promising new talent, serving up an entertaining and heartwarming tale that breaks many molds, delivers a wealth of surprises and offers viewers much to ponder. The film is available for first-run online streaming.

Wallowing in wishful thinking and thoughts of “what might have been” may provide us temporary shelter from the storms of our psyche when we’re not ready to address what’s troubling us. But taking up permanent residence there can cause considerable long-term harm to our personal growth and development, especially if we aspire to the greatness we know we’re capable of. Taking stock of who we are and what we want, as well as the attendant responsibility, can help promote the forward progress that gets us moving again. And, if we stick to our convictions, that just may lead to crowning achievements beyond our wildest dreams.

A complete review is available by clicking here.

Copyright © 2017-18, 2020, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.