And for my last June post I want to share the "ah ha" moment I had watching the Lion King. Washington Post reviewer Nelson Pressley, describes it "as exuberant as ever...the show still disarms audiences with its opening parade of giraffes, gazelles and even an elephant as the theater fills with animal figures to the infectious strains of 'Circle of Life.' As always, it takes only a minute for the audience to be struck with wonder by Taymor’s puppetry (designed with Michael Curry), with a wave of happy applause washing through the house."
The parade was spectacular, but I found watching the wonder on the faces of the children around me when the giant elephant tramped by and birds swooped to the sound of African harmonies even more fun. The only negative review came from my 4-year-old granddaughter. The convention of an intermission was new to her. When we returned to our seats for the second act she said, "Do we have to watch this again?"
But I would watch it again, and even though I've enjoyed the show and the animated film before, I never thought about how the story line ties into career and our life's work. Here's what happens to Simba (spoiler alert):
He starts out naive: He's just having fun when he causes a stampede.
In his ignorance he causes tragedy: Simba's father loses his life saving Simba.
He succumbs to guilt: The evil uncle convinces Simba to believe the worst about himself.
He runs away: Distracting himself with the illusion of happiness ("Hakuna matata").
True love brings enlightenment: Nala, his friend and love interest, finds him and tells him who he is and that his kingdom has gone to ruin. He hears the truth from someone who loves him.
He takes responsibility: He becomes conscious, not just about what he has done wrong but about who he is. He takes responsibility. Simba returns.
He SAVE HIS KINGDOM: He decides to stop playing around and get serious about fixing things.
Maybe the rest of you have already realized that Simba's journey is familiar. Frivolity, mistakes, consequences, denial, running away, and finally, if we are lucky, a loving friend, family member or competent therapist tells us to pay attention to our kingdom and do what it takes to save it.
Saving our kingdom, and ourselves, starts with the truth, forgiveness, intention to reach a goal, and willingness to take a risk. Don't like your job, or your boss? Angry at yourself for not doing your best? Stuck in an addiction to hakuna matata? Allowed problems to go unsolved for too long, or have guilt and self-recriminations kept you from realizing your potential? Have you forgotten how strong and competent you are? Make a decision to take back the kingdom of you. Love yourself, be loyal to your tribe, and take action. Go save your kingdom!