Lessons learned from Moana, Part 2

During the trip to return Te Fiti’s heart, Maui and Moana encounter many monsters: walking (and battling) coconuts, a gigantic crab, and and fearsome lava creature all test their resolve.

Maui, who wasn’t keen to go on this adventure in the first place, is often unhelpful and would rather just go his own way.  Occasionally he can be a bit and rude and condescending to Moana.  He doesn’t understood why what he did was so wrong.  In spite of this, Moana doesn’t veer from her course.  She doesn’t get distracted.  She doesn’t give up.  (She almost does at one point, but she doesn’t!)  She just keeps going on her way, being firm with Maui when he’s acting like a cranky child, but not letting his crankiness deter her.

The spouse of an addict can often feel the similar to Moana.  She may have goals for herself and her family for her own personal development, hobbies, and education, or things for her family like vacations, how the house or yard should be kept. Though her husband is not hunky demi-gods with great hair, just a plain old human, his behavior can often distract her from her goals.  Her energy can turn from her own goals and dreams to him; wondering what can she do to get him to stop, worrying if he’s acting out, worrying if he’s lying, wondering if his behavior is affecting the children, and a myriad of other things.  This is what brings the feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness.  When you focus on things you can not change, it’s depressing.  Focusing on your own goals and your own path despite how others around you are behaving, like Moana did, can bring a power back into your life that you may have not felt in a while.

Find Part 1 here and Part 3 here.

Lessons learned from Moana, Part 1

Have you seen Moana?  It’s seriously one of my favorite movies now.  Besides the amazing music, the story of Moana has some underlying themes that really struck my heart.  Many parallels have been drawn in the addiction community between her story and that of an addict and their spouse.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, let me run through a quick plot line.  Moana is the daughter of the chief of a Polynesian island.  They tell the legend of the demi-God Maui, who stole the heart of Te Fiti, or mother earth.  Since then, the world has been slowly dying.  Moana is chosen by the sea to find Maui, restore his magical fish hook to him, and return him to Te Fiti so he can restore her heart.  The journey is dangerous.  They come across some crazy creatures and trials on their way, but eventually they complete their goal.

The inhabitants of Moana’s island do not travel by sea.  There are a few who go on boats to fish for food, but they always stay close to the shore or in the bay.  Moana is drawn to the ocean as a young girl, but is not allowed to go near it, much less swim or go out on a boat.  But thanks to the “village crazy lady”,  aka Grandma, Moana is shown a cavern behind a waterfall which is filled with boats.  A few bangs on a drum and a vision is opened up to her where she learns that her ancestors were voyagers, wayfinders they’re called, who sailed from island to island. establishing new lands.

At this moment Moana realizes who she is.  She learns about this feeling, this calling she has in life, and the reason she has always been called by the sea is because it’s her heritage.  She later sings “We are descended from voyagers, who sailed their way across the world. They call me.”

The spouse of an addict often feels like Moana.  So often they feel like there’s something else out there, another path they could be taking or following.  They often feel stuck, hopeless and powerless.  When they realize their path to recovery, the thing has been calling them, they often feel a sense of freedom and empowerment.

Another line in the same song says, “Yet the voice isn’t out there at all it’s inside me.  It’s like the tide always falling and rising.”  We were made to have joy.  It is our heritage.  When we find our path to happiness, we feel it, our soul or our spirit knows that it is meant for us.

Find Part 2 here and Part 3 here.