Today has a lot of rich fodder for thought. First though, there are two films which define tail end Bboom feminism for me — and so themes that the Second Wave was concerned with are depicted in both of these. One of the reasons I went to McCain — once Hillary was no longer in the running was because of his experience with war. I felt he would be able to get us out of this one, gracefully. I have tremendous faith in both he and Hillary in our government right now. They have really long track records of service.
I watched the movie “The Deer Hunter” last night. I hadn’t seen it in many years — but — it is one of the pivotal films coming out of the late 70’s about the effects of the Vietnam War. It was really something to see my favorite actors when they were so young, and great actresses and actors they all are. But — if you look at what is going on in the film beyond just the plot — and you look into Streep’s character — essential themes pertaining to Second Wave women are apparent right away.
The women in the film are waiting to get married. Streep’s father is an alcoholic who is abusive to her. Her boyfriend suffers a total breakdown (read PTSD) because of events he experienced during the war. She moves into the house of DeNiro’s while they are overseas serving to escape the abusive father and takes a job in a market. This film came out in 1978. The film is shot back east in a steel town, but it could be any town — any small town across America.
When DeNiro comes back, he and Streep have a relationship. She actually initiates it. This is where the Second Wave women differed from our mother’s generation perhaps. Some of the characters play the “bridesmaids” for the traditional wedding that starts the film off. The Streep character is like them, but not exactly.
The war will change all of them.
It was really hard to watch this film, given the themes, and given the politics in 2008. John McCain was over in Vietnam fighting that war — so the film could have been about him, as well. How he survived whatever happened makes him have the EGO STRENGTH we talked about earlier in the pieces I wrote about child development.
The Robert DeNiro character also exhibits that same ego strength. So, the film is accurate when you are taking a “Systems” approach. The Second Wave feminists came of age at the tail end of the Baby Boom proper. Like the Streep character, they were going to work, and also go to college for their degrees. This was a given in the middle class — of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
A second film that really describes the times we lived in is “Running With Scissors” — the young boy and girl in that film are perfect examples of what is sometimes termed “The Lost Generation” or Generation Jones. When I watched that film, I saw my mother in Annette Bening’s character. I really did. A lot of our parents were very narcissistic in my generation. Bening’s character is perfect as the parent of the young boy who has to go “find himself” — we were left to do that for ourselves in many cases.
Especially in this scene with the curlers below:
So, our mothers weren’t the “bra-burners” of the 1960’s or the feminist radicals per se — but they didn’t want the “meaninglessness” of their own mother’s lives. Bening’s character is in a poetry group, and so forth. She also divorces — as many of our parents did. It’s really a superb film (again totally fantastic acting) to contrast with the themes of the women in “The Deer Hunter” to “see through” Feminism in that era. (1970’s).
So, the Lost Generation went on a hunt to find itself, perhaps?
In various ways.
My friend Song has the most beautiful, peaceful video up — really, I have to snag it!
(I hope that worked!) — if not just click the link waterfalls above! –
So, a lot of us went on Spiritual quests like for Zen or Yoga and so forth in this gen. We wanted to find some kind of inner stillness that our families never really provided us with?
I found that in Yoga — Kirpalu style, especially. This video of the falls is very, very peaceful as an intro to doing a forward bend. I used to have a large amount of “pain” clients that I saw. Often times they had fibromyalgia? One thing about a gentle yoga practice is that it can help that. Especially the restorative poses. It is just bliss to hang out in them because you get the necessary “quiet” that we so often do not make time for or give to ourselves.
Migraine headaches are often a sign of repressed anger.
So, here is a very modified Forward Bend taken at the wall!
A Modified Forward Bend at the Wall!
All you need is a blank wall for this one. Just some space along a wall will do.
Put on some really relaxing music, like the kind in the video above.
Take Mountain Pose with your back to the wall, at first. Just stop and settle against the wall and take a few breaths — make the exhales longer and slower than the inhales. This creates a calming effect. All by itself. Just concentrate on slowing down the exhales and listening to your own breath.
Space your feet about two feet apart or whatever is comfortable for you. You want a wide stance. The wall will support your hips so don’t worry! Have your feet be about a foot from the wall itself — and two to three feet apart, facing forward.
Put your hands on your kneecaps! And let your shoulders and head fall forward, as far as is comfortable for you.
Take a few breaths!
Then, let your arms dangle — no tension in the arms and shoulders, or the head.
Just let the arms dangle as they may.
The wall supports you from behind, and the strength of your legs holds you up.
Take some breaths!
Imagine that cool water is pouring in streams off your dangling arms, and your dangling head! — you can let your arms make tiny circles if that feels good. Just breathe!
Come out of the pose slowly, by rolling and curling yourself back up the wall, until you come to standing.
Give yourself a moment in Mountain Pose against the wall and just breathe…
This is a really good pose to take when you are stressed out!
You can do it even in a cramped office — you can!
On the good news front — I’m happy to see McCain (the reformer) is back!
Just knowing he is in Washington helping out is very good news to me.