"Stories are medicine. I have been taken with stories since I heard my first. They have such power; they do not require that we do, be, act anything - we need only listen."
-Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.
-Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.
I wasn’t dreading Ninjago, I knew it would have a story, and it literally, started with a story, the story of Ninjago.
The city of Ninjago was getting attacked, basically everyday by Garmadon, and there was a morning news show that had, instead of a weather forecast, an attack forecast.
The parallels to today were easy to draw, it feels like we too, have an “attack forecast” every day, whether that’s another case of natural disasters, racism, mass shootings, war, abuse, or more, I understand that feeling of just wanting to stay inside that the attack forecast recommended in the movie.
What the main character Lloyd thinks will solve the Garmadon attacks is "the ultimate weapon."
And that resonated too as it does seem we are often looking for answers outside of ourselves, especially looking for more power and bigger and better weapons.
I'll try not to give away everything (but know there are some spoiler alerts in this post if you haven’t had a chance to see it yet), but let’s just say, often the things we think will solve the problem really just create more problems.
Maybe as the movies shows us, another path to healing is in order, one with more empathy, compassion, forgiveness, and love.
Here are four things I love from the movie in regards to the theme of creativity:
In the song “It’s Garmadon,” from the Ninjago soundtrack, one of the lyrics is, “I use fire to shame.”
Literally, as we see in the movie, Garmadon fires his employees out of a volcano when he doesn’t like their ideas.
And after doing that to about 20 employees he says, “How hard is it to come up with a genius idea? …this is a safe place.”
The culture of shame, especially in business, is so destructive to creativity.
But as Garmadon found out, you may end up creating something, but it may just be more obstacles in your future.
If you aren’t allowed to generate lots of ideas, which will most definitely include some useless and dumb ones (to come back full circle to the original LEGO movie), then you won’t have creativity.
As Brené Brown says, we think things should be “fun, fast, and easy” in our culture, when the truth is that things that are worth doing are never done that way.
When the ninjas approach a fork in the road in the movie on their quest for the ultimate, ultimate weapon to clean up the mess from what unleashing the ultimate weapon did, there is a sign about each path they could take.
These are the descriptors on the right path: “Long, arduous, and enlightenment.”
And that’s the real truth of creativity.
Destroying is easier than building.
Lloyd has to re-build trust with his friends and his father has to rebuild trust with him.
Lloyd says of his father that’s he’s good at “blowing stuff up and never putting it back together.”
Empathy is what is going to creatively bring the world back together, to build and rebuild relationships.
Lloyd gives us the magic formula with empathy, which he whispers to the cat who has his father inside of him, a Jonah in the whale rebirthing story if I’ve ever seen one.
First, he gives him a generous assumption, “I know you don’t mean to destroy everything.”
Next, he demonstrates perspective taking and empathy, “You just feel scared… I know how that feels.”
Then he moves onto forgiveness, apologizing, and finally circling back, “What I should have said….”
He basically just utilized the curriculum of Brené Brown that I facilitate in my work as a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator and personally use all the time.
Brené Brown said in her Gifts of Imperfect Parenting Online Course (currently not available), “We want to raise kids who can push through discomfort to do the right thing in the service of connection.”
I think Lloyd is a beautiful model of that.
“Stay on the right path to find your inner peace/piece,” master Wu says as he’s floating away down the river, presumably never to be seen again.
I love this because it is true, what we have control over is how we respond, and one thing that no one can take is your inner peace.
As we learn in the movie, “The strongest weapon is inside you, and “The ultimate, ultimate weapon is inside of you.”
It’s your ability to be yourself, your true self.
And Lloyd’s inner piece was green (watch the movie to find out why) and he found peace with that piece of himself and stopped comparing and began to love and trust his own unique wiring and the unique role only he could play.
As Brené Brown says in her recent book, Braving the Wilderness, “So as I dug deeper into true belonging, it became clear that it’s not something we achieve or accomplish with others; it’s something we carry in our heart. Once we belong thoroughly to ourselves and believe thoroughly in ourselves, true belonging is ours.”
May you always belong to yourself and believe that you are magic.
I love how at the end of the story within the movie, the child listening asks the storyteller, “So does that mean that now I’m a ninja?”
And the storyteller says, “No, all you did was listen to a story.”
And then reminds him of the three things he needs to be a ninja master – patience, courage, and hard work.
May you not just read this story, but go out and practice patience, courage, and hard work, and become a master of creativity and empathy and the ninja that you truly are inside.
This is part three in a three part series on the LEGO movies.
In case you missed them check out:
Creativity and The LEGO Movie
Creativity and The LEGO Batman Movie
If you want to play well and UnBLOCK Your Creative Magic, I'd love for you to join us 11/2/17 for the 8-week e-course.
I'd love to hear your story.
I'd love to remind you that you have all the pieces you need inside of you and that you are magic.
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