"Memoirs of A Geisha" Stirs Up a Spiritual Controversy
By Dr Michael Norwood
How can a simple recommendation to see a beautiful movie stir up so much controversy?
I write an online newsletter and had suggested to my subscribers that they see the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha."
I received a barrage of emails from around the world inquiring why I was encouraging people to see a movie that is about a child sold into a cruel and forbidding world to be trained her entire life to serve men.
Though the geisha are not prostitutes, the many people who questioned my recommendation didn't want to see a movie that had to do with the exploitation of women.
I sympathize with this viewpoint.
My response was to see the movie for the same reason you would see Roots and Gone with the Wind...Schindler's List and Exodus...and Dances with Wolves and The Last of the Mohicans.
Each is extraordinarily beautiful and powerful in its portrayal of humans acting far less than perfect to other humans.
Why you and I relate so deeply to these classics is that most of us lead less than perfect lives ourselves. Most of us face difficult situations and difficult people at different points in our own lives.
What extraordinary movies like Memoirs of a Geisha can do for you is to show you how it is possible to rise above the most difficult of circumstances...how in even the worst of conditions, a few Wealthy Souls will sometimes appear to touch your heart.
And most importantly...how YOU yourself can become such a Wealthy Soul to touch others.
When I recommended Memoirs of a Geisha, I had one particular scene in mind. This one scene was what made it such an extraordinary movie for me.
If you have not seen the movie yet, I won't give the story away for you by telling you too much here. In fact, the reason I bring this scene up at all is that it would be easy to pass over the extraordinary lessons and beauty it contained.
It occurred in the movie after the child Chiyo has been torn from her family and sold to a Geisha house. Not long after, she is manipulated by the most prominent Geisha in the house into committing an unforgivable violation.
Then, after a severe fall during a failed attempt at escaping her ever-worsening fate, Chiyo is consigned to a life of slavery by the house mother. Because of the framed act, she is excluded from the training that will enable her to elevate her position and eventually become a Geisha.
Chiyo, just around ten years old, has lost all hope.
Her world entirely dark, she is on her knees on a walking bridge, when a well-dressed man accompanied by two Geisha stops, leans over to her and says: "It is too pretty a day to be so unhappy. Did you fall down?"
It is a stunning moment in the movie.
It is almost too unbelievable.
Is someone actually showing kindness?
It's to the point where you, yourself, are unsure at this moment, thinking, "Now, what is this man going to try to get from her?"
In fact, his kind words continue.
He tells the silent child, "We all stumble sometimes." Pointing to one of the elegant geisha accompanying him, he smiles, "She once fell clean off her wooden shoes. Now look at her."
He takes it a step further. He asks Chiyo her name. He buys her a succulent treat from a stand.
And the cloud the child has been so long under suddenly lifts as her eyes brighten and she exclaims, "Now I'm a geisha too!"
The gentleman disappears. But like a true Wealthy Soul, his one act of grace has profound impact.
The narrated voice of Chiyo as an adult telling the story says, "In that moment I changed from a girl facing nothing but emptiness to someone with a purpose."
And her entire life does indeed change at that moment.
She is still enslaved. But she makes the decision right then to flow with her fate, to embrace her destiny, and to use the path she has been given to rise above all.
And it is with decisions such as these, my friend...no matter what your own circumstances may be...that your life changes too.
Have you ever had such a moment?
Have you ever had someone say similar words to lift you up and give you the strength to carry on to a brighter tomorrow?
Or even more importantly, have YOU ever said those words for another, completing a circle, embracing your highest destiny to eventually be a light for others, as well?
Facing your own challenges, you at times - like me - have desperately wished to find such people.
The true Wealthy Souls, indeed, can be rare.
Do you want to know where to find them?
Do you want to know HOW to find them?
It all starts by you opening your heart to someone else in need and becoming one yourself.
Copyright 2006 Dr Michael Norwood
About The Author
Dr. Michael Norwood is the bestselling author of "The 9 Insights of the Wealthy Soul." The book has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. It has been hailed as a classic by several New York Times best-selling authors as well as the producer from Touched by an Angel.
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