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May I tell you the story I saw unfold in the 2010 Alice in Wonderland movie? Now, if I read the book, it was too many years ago to remember.  I consider myself a bit of an expert on movies, but when it comes to anything at all that Johnny Depp is in, I tend to lean in the direction of loving it.  (Even if it’s not my kind of movie.)  I loved this movie.  It was beautiful to behold. And the technology was astounding.  Johnny was flawless as the Mad Hatter and Mia Wasikowska as Alice brought a fresh muchness to the role. Everyone was spectacular.  It was an enjoyable movie.

But let me tell you what I heard  ~

“All the best people are mad,” young Alice’s father tells her after a bad dream.  “Don’t be frightened.  No one can hurt you there.” 13 years later, she continues to have the same dream, but now she is off to a garden party and is not properly dressed.  Who says?  Alice wants to know.  Like many of us, she wonders if she’s normal. She can smile even if she doesn’t wear a corset and stockings.  And she can dance the appropriate dances. She fits in.

Her father was known as a man of vision. But that is not necessarily an admirable quality in Alice’s world. When Alice chuckles at a vision she has of the boys dancing in dresses and the girls dancing in pants, her boyfriend scoffs and says, “Keep your visions to yourself. When in doubt, remain silent.” He wonders why she would spend her time thinking about impossible things.  Alice retorts that her recently departed father believed in doing 6 impossible things before breakfast.

It’s no wonder that the easily distractable Alice follows the funny-looking rabbit with the waistcoat on.  In doing so she sees things, sees through the illusions of the people in her life. Then she falls down a hole, just like in her dream.

She does what needs to be done in the present moment.  She tries things.  She tells herself it’s only a dream, so why not?  She is brave because she knows no one can hurt her. The question in Underland (or “Wonderland” as she calls it) is “Who are you?” Isn’t that what we all must discover?

Alice is used to dreaming and being a dreamer. So she takes all this strangeness in stride. She moves forward, toward her destiny, though she doesn’t know what it is.  She just keeps doing what she has to do and making choices in the moment.

The Mad Hatter tells her she’s “lost her muchness.”  Alice doesn’t know what that is, but she’s darn sure she still has her muchness and she’s going to prove it!  But she balks that, in Underland (as it is on the surface) everyone tells her what she must do and who she must be.  “I make the path!” she shouts.  “I decide where it will go from here.”  She’s going to decide who she is. She doesn’t feel right letting anyone else tell her what she thinks or what she should do.

Alice moves along with confidence that it’s a dream, but also that she makes her own reality. She has a level of comfort because, though this all looks very odd, it is somehow familiar to her.  She has been here before. There is an ease about her that allows her to make good choices, or turn and make another if it’s not the right one.

In the final showdown with the Jabberwocky, she agrees to fight for what she thinks is right.  She makes mistakes in the battle, but she keeps on going.  She lists for herself 6 impossible things:  A caterpillar that talks, a cat that flies, etc.  Her 6th impossible thing is that she defeats the Jabberwocky.  And that’s exactly what she does. 

Now, she is ready to face the people in the “real” world.  She is ready for anything.  Her journey through Underland showed her what she’s made of and that what she thinks and feels is real and important.

I can only hope to be more like Alice in Wonderland.

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