In the midst of downsizing and preparing to move this past weekend, I took some time out to watch Tales of Everyday Magic – My Greatest Teacher, a compelling drama based on the true life story of best-selling author Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. As with anything Dyer is involved in, the film was wonderful, thought provoking and a very welcome break in an otherwise hectic weekend. My Greatest Teacher explores the struggle to grow while being haunted by the past.
The past happens to all of us, it’s how we move through it, and leave it in the past that counts. I have had some awful experiences in my life, and have lived through heartbreak, loss, betrayal and more. I have suffered, and have been made a victim on more than one occasion. But I don’t allow those things to define me. It’s over, it’s done, and I am not going to stay in a place of pain or suffering any longer than I have to. I didn’t reach this way of dealing with my past overnight, it was a process.
My Greatest Teacher is the story of Dr. Ryan Kilgore, the fictional character based on Dyer. Kilgore has also had things happen to him. A brilliant and emotional look at one man’s struggle to process his past, the film illustrates Kilgore’s journey as he struggles to take his career to the next level and reach his desired level of success, while he battles the demons from his childhood. Those demons are not only preventing him from reaching his goals, but destroying the life he has built for himself.
Tormented by his father’s abandonment, Kilgore’s feelings of loss, anger, and hurt are brought to the surface by the death of his grandmother. Walking in, and quickly back out of the funeral, it becomes apparent that Kilgore’s life is at a standstill, and his wife and young son are bearing the brunt of his emotional turmoil. It’s obvious that until Kilgore can find his father and get some closure on their relationship, or gain some perspective, his spiral will continue.
Short tempered, drinking too much and holding those around him to unrealistic standards are just some of the ways that the film shows Kilgore’s life slipping out of control. His wife is done listening to him, his young son is withdrawn, his professional life seems tenuous, and while he says he’s sorry, the behaviors continue.
We’ve all done that, said what we feel is the right thing, or been sorry for an outburst while still experiencing that out of control spiral. And while we WANT to change, the wherewithal to actually change our behaviors is out of reach. Kilgore does that, and the film brilliantly demonstrates his struggle with the demons, and his helplessness when it comes to getting them under control to fully step into his present, and plan for his future.
The film culminates in California where Kilgore was a featured speaker at a conference. It is on this trip that he decides to take a drive to the small town his father was last known to be in. Through a series of mysterious and serendipitous events, Kilgore finds the closure he has been seeking, but in a much healthier and expansive way than the angry outburst he has been envisioning most of his life. With that closure, Kilgore returns to the conference a changed man.
“Nobody ever died from a snake bite,” Kilgore says in his lecture the following day. “What kills you is not the bite, it’s the venom that is destroying you – unless you can learn to get it out of your system, unless you figure out a way to release it. Or better yet, if we can figure out a way to have our body assimilate it, to transmute what was once toxic and turn it into medicine. While a primitive notion, it’s equally a very evolved one, the idea of looking at the most damaging things in your life, the things that have caused you the most pain, the most suffering, and figure out a way to turn those things into your greatest teachers.
As the film concludes with the statement, “This is what we are supposed to do for the world around us and for ourselves.” I found myself looking at my past hurts, my demons, my venom, and spending some time being truly grateful for the growth each and every one of those experiences has brought into my life. Once again, the work of Wayne Dyer brought me to tears, but most importantly, it has more than likely led viewers to a new period of self examination and growth.
*This movie was featured on the Facebook page of Hay House Publishing and was available for free the free stream through June 18th. I do review for Hay House, however I was not financially compensated for this post. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.