Each of us has fears. Maybe its the churning of the anger we feel inside – wondering if taking the top off the can means we can never get it closed again. For some it is the past, of the neglect, abandonment or abuse that happened there, and if it is ever possible to be whole again. Or the murky waters of shame, wondering if that persistent feeling of unworthiness has a basis in truth? Whatever we fear, it is so easy to be convinced of its reality.
I recently watched the new version of Beauty and the Beast. Having gone 12 years without ever seeing a Disney princess movie, I was quite surprised at my daughter’s request but I have learned to trust her instincts. And so we went. I was humming Be Our Guest, the only song I remember from the version that came out when I was a kid, and thinking that it would be a cute afternoon. I was so sweetly wrong. Only on the surface was this a cute story about dancing tea cups and candelabras.
There were two themes in particular that stood out to me. The first, that what we fear is most often the very portal through which we find what we have been seeking. For Belle, she finds the deep connection, adventure and fuel for her mind and imagination that she has longed for in her small, safe town. At first however, the Beast is the last place she expects to find what she desires. It is stepping into the anger to feeling it that reveals rest on the other side. It is accepting and grieving the deep pain of past abuse and trauma that gives freedom to move beyond victimhood. It is naming and revealing the things we most do not want others to know about us that suffocates shame.
The second theme was more subtle and complex. It is seen in the character of Agatha, who only shows up for a total of 10 out of the 120 plus minutes of the movie, yet is the mastermind of everything that happens. She appears in three forms, that of the maiden, mother and crone and represents the facets of feminine energy and power. For many of us, our feminine energy and power is the deeper fear, behind all the layers of anger, pain and shame. Through direct teaching and energetic modelling, a patriarchal society and the pain of the women in our family line, the core fear of many women is their own centre of feminine power and energy.
This deep fear of feminine power and energy can be expressed in many ways – disease, chronic illness, anxiety, depression, fatigue, hypoglycaemia, living vicariously through children or partners and ultimately deep unhappiness.
Whatever the fear you are facing, remember that while it feels very convincing, what lies behind it is freedom when we take a risk to look deeper. Following the Beast we fear becomes the pathway to Beauty, healing and the life we desire.