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How To Ignite Imagination In Pleasantville

This post was inspired by this perfectly mixed montage + music of the movie Pleasantville. The imagery and meaning behind it speak volumes.

Lately in my life I’ve been discovering a lot about who I am and what I want my life to mean. And in doing so, I’ve not so slowly but surely have been painting a very different picture than what some of those around me would like or understand or feel comfortable with.

And just as their opinions and judgments and my own self talk was beginning to wear on me, I saw this musical montage from the brilliant film Pleasantville that somehow visually tied everything together I’ve been practicing believing in.

I think there’s a message for all of us to learn from this five minute clip…

No matter where you are in this world, what culture you’re immersed in, what language you speak, what social circle you run in, what religion you do or don’t practice there is one truth and one practice we should all take to heart each and every day:

To Be You, and only You.

This includes your imagination, your perfectly imperfect flaws, your passions and curiosities, your motivation and your weaknesses. It includes your past and your present and your future. It includes everything that when added together makes up YOU.

Because if you’re you – if stick to who you are at your root – then you’re perfect. If you’re not afraid to let your wild, vivid colors show in a world that’s becoming lost in a sea of grey – then you’re perfect. If you let who you are inspire others to be who they are – then you’re perfect.

No matter what anyone says.

We can either blend in with the grey world, or we can show it and teach it and inspire it to come to life.

Because when you do that – when you let your unique colors surprise and ignite this grey world – well, it’s pretty simple really – you’re changing the world – just by being you, and only you.

Who are you?

Spread the Word
If this post added some color to your day, please share it and spread the word! It means a lot to me! You can retweet on Twitter or share on Facebook— and don’t forget to join THE MAD ONES for email updates and LIKE it on FB. Here’s to living a wild, crazy, meaningful life.

About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives.

Share with me what you're getting into that matters to you. It could be stepping into entrepreneurial pursuits, embarking on a journey of the self, making a crazy life change, or even if you're totally stuck. I want to connect with, support, collaborate with, and learn from as many people as possible through this blog (that means you!) Click the *Share* link in the main menu and let's connect by filling out the form.

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  • Happy Tuesday Lauren!

    I love this message. There’s only one you – it’s that uniqueness that adds color and flavor to life that no other human being can bring to the mix. That makes everyone uniquely special!

    That is very cool indeed : )

    • Hey Mark!

      I like to think we each have our own very special blend of colors along the color spectrum. My favorite thing when I get to know a person is finding out what makes them, them. What makes them unique. Small talk is fine, but I’d rather dive right it and know the person!
      Laur 🙂

  • Dear Lauren,

    I can’t possibly tell you how much I resonate with your feelings and insights here. I especially love this as it is exactly what I’ve been feeling lately: You wrote: “Lately in my life I’ve been discovering a lot about who I am and what I want my life to mean. And in doing so, I’ve not so slowly but surely have been painting a very different picture than what some of those around me would like or understand or feel comfortable with.”

    When I lived wild in the Australian rainforests far from society and all the “rules, conditionings, and social/family/peer/ pressures and edicts, it was easy to see life in it’s naked natural state. Life without rules, judgments, conditions, and heady crap. Nature has clean honesty truth. The only thing that came remotely close to rules was the laws of nature. If I swam in a crocodile infested river there was a chance I might be eaten by a croc. Or if I jumped around in front of a poisonous snake there was a chance it might strike. But other than that there were NO rules, only those I imposed on myself or had not yet shed from social conditioning.

    Over my years in Australia, I shed a LOT, and very fast. I shed it all, just like my snake friends shed their outgrown skins. Being in society now, has been very interesting for me. I explored it for awhile and did the social thing in the social way, and found it all interesting and learned a lot about humanity and why we are the way we are. However, at this stage of my life (although I may not be returning to the rainforest of Australia, right now) I am stepping back to my nakedness, my rawness, my blunt ruthless honesty, my intuition, my heart-thinking, my self that says “NO more. I will walk my own path. Anything else is death. Anything else and I do not exist. No matter how drastic, how odd, how different, how “seemingly” out of character I appear to others, I don’t care. I refuse to give up my life, my life force, my passion, my uniqueness, and MY intimate relationship with Life.

    Living in the rainforest forged my whole character. I know a different way of “being”, feeling, and living. Coming to your site today and reading this brought precious tears to my eyes. I am deeply grateful, and encourage you with ALL ALL ALL my heart. What you have written here is brilliant. YOU are brilliant….and passionate, and alive, and full-on vitality. THAT is what life is about. THAT is who we are.

    You make the world a stronger, more grounded, and life enriching place.
    Much love and HUGE hugs,
    Robin

    • Robin,
      Thank you so much for sharing your story and for your kind words. I am so grateful to have gotten to read this today. It has made my day. 🙂
      Your experience living in the Australian rainforest is absolutely amazing. I just am blown away. You are so brave and adventurous and open. That is inspiring! I am sure that for the rest of yoru life you will be taking away the lessons and growth that came to you during that time and relying on it and expanding on it. That is so wonderful 🙂
      THere arent enough people out there sharing and embracing what they can be in their “rawness, in their blunt honesty, intuition, heart-thinking”. But I’m glad you’re out there inspiring and reminding others about it 🙂

      And thank you so much for your kind words. On days when If eel like the Me I’m trying to be is off or that negative self talk starts to creep its way into my mind, I will pull up this comment and remind myself of how wonderful it is to be ME. 🙂

      Thank you so much for sharing Robin!
      All the best,
      Lauren

  • Great piece Lo, and love the movie reference!
    Something that I’ve started to say quite a bit now is that I no longer color within the lines. There are so many lines that it’s assumed or expected that we color in, that it really strips us from ourselves. I’ve always been interested to do a study to see how many people were REALLY doing what they wanted to do and made them happy, or whether it was for a boss, spouse, family member, ideal, or something else.
    This reminds me of a movie I re-watched last night, It’s Kind of A Funny Story, that deals with a teenager who is just stressed to the max because of expectations put on him by family, school, and others, and it’s not until he hits bottom and sees things through different eyes that he sees that there is something bigger going on and that it’s not about living up to expectations.

    • Hey Spence!
      First of all, awesome comment response 🙂 This really got me thinking.
      2nd of all, I’m going to have to check out that movie. I like a more thought-provoking film like that… (I’m still a sucker for Wayne’s World though haha)
      3rd of all, that would be a truly interesting case study. I’d be really interested in seeing if I could join you in that!
      Forth of all, as per the topic at hand –
      Awesome analogy – I love that. And you’re right; there are so many lines that we’re told to color within, many of which overlap and don’t even mesh. Suddenly what’s supposed to be yellow is now clashing with green and you’re getting a blue.
      Now, this is what you want if you’re coloring outside of the crazy lines and creating the colors and shapes you want and envision for yourself, but if you’re doing this just to color within the lines everyone else wants of you, then its all for nothing. Well, not for nothing – these are the kinds of things we learn from and eventually make us see that it’s not the right way just like the boy you’re talking about in the film. Now it’s just chaotic organization and probably a really ugly picture with ugly colors not even the grandparents want to hang on their walls lol.

      Too many of us spend our entire lives trying to live up to the expectations of others – be it for our parents or to be like a celebrity or to just fit in with the crowd.
      Screw it 🙂 Everyone knows the real kindergarten artists were the ones that scribbled amazing pictures over the Cinderella coloring books. Now we just need to learn how to do & practice that in real life 🙂

      • Lo,
        You always leave the best response comments! I definitely recommend It’s Kind of a Funny Story. Nothing too deep, but there are just some great themes and life lessons that can be learned from it. Plus, it has Zach Galifianakis in it.

  • Hi Lauren

    Spending time to reflect on one’s self is very important. Not only does it provide an opportunity to learn more about yourself, but it help to re-focus and ensure that your efforts align with your direction in life.
    When you find peace in yourself then your outlook clears, the sun comes out, and you feel the warmth in your heart.

    Thanks for a lovely inspiring article 🙂

    • Hey David!

      I couldn’t agree more! So many of us are trying so hard to be something we’re not for everyone else around us that we hvae no clue what direction we’re even going in. And I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve been there myself.
      But the moment you stop and you think and you “listen feel breathe” in what you’re really about and who you really want to be, well, then your direction in life seems to go on so much more smoothly. Suddenly, you’re happy to be who you are, rather then struggling with being happy with who you think you should be.

      • Thanks Lauren, I like your reference to my blog’s title. If we take the time to listen, to feel and to breathe in our daily walk, then we find the inner strength to believe in ourselves and find who we are.
        Have an incredibly creative and rewarding day 🙂

  • carole

    I like your point that our perfectly imperfect flaws are part of what makes us special. That’s such a more “pleasant” way to look at our flaws, rather than berating ourselves for them.

    • Hey Carole!

      It’s our random, interesting, intriguing, and of course sometimes annoying flaws that our partners fall in love with us for! Like Eddie always shuffling his feat loudly all over the place when there’s a firecall for a cat in the tree – he shakes the whole house and wakes everyone up and that damn thing on the table pisses me off – but ya love him for it haha.

  • So, so true, Lauren. Something I’ve been thinking about quite a lot lately. Easier said than done, but at least it’s always at the front of my mind. Keep writing, I love your stuff!

    • Yes it is easier said than done that is so for sure!! I definitely let this fall through the cracks a lot. We are only human and it’s easy to even get confused about who we are in the first place! But as long as its in the front of our mind, we’ll be on the right track 🙂

  • Lauren, I love this message and the clip! And it so delights me that I’m coming across so many posts in so many places with this theme of self acceptance. That has been going on ever since I set my intention to begin my Find Your Coregreen UPrising, which is about turning yourself into a “sustainable resource” by celebrating and using your unique qualities. Don’t you love how the universe brings us all together, those of us on an authentic path? 🙂

    I love the way you put it: “Because if you’re you – if stick to who you are at your root – then you’re perfect.” Yes, yes, I totally agree! Thanks for cheering us on to embrace our embraceable unique wonder! 🙂

    • Hey Ande!
      Wow that is awesome “Find Your Coregreen Uprising” – I love the meaning behind that. The thought of turning yourself into a “sustainable resource” is such a cool way to look at it. I love that! Thank you for bringing that into my life because it’s a really interesting angle to look at it from and one that I am going to start to add into my BE MY BEST ME ways. 🙂

      And I couldn’t agree more – Everyday now I feel like I am meeting people and connecting with people with something wonderful to share that inspires me and that I learn from. 🙂

      Thanks for the wonderful comment!
      Laur 🙂

  • Jossie

    I have to say that this encompasses exactly what I believe in. Society needs the loud, the quiet, the shy, the extrovert, introvert, awkward, cool, mean, nice, etc. We can’t all be alike and fit in a perfect square box, that would be SOOO boring!

    “You will make a lousy anybody else, but you will be the best “you” in existence” – Zig Ziglar

    “No, not all great minds think alike” – IBM 🙂 (And that’s exactly how innovation is created! maybe it doesn’t fit here, but I like this quote hehe)

    • Hey Jossie!

      Haha totally who wants to live in a boring as society where everyone is the same? Not me! Although I could do with some of the haters out there haha.

      That Zig Zigler quote is awesome. I also like, “YOu were born an original. Don’t be a copy” but I’m not sure who said that!

      Thanks Jossie!
      Laur 🙂

  • Hi Lauren!

    Great post once again! How cool it is to be a rainbow among the dark clouds? Or breaking free of chains that conform you to certain rules like Robin (who is absolutely inspiring. I don’t think I’d be able to spend my time in the rainforest. If I did, I wasn’t being ME :D).

    We enjoyed reading your discussion with Spence and your reply in particular about coloring just because people ask you to. Actually, I am the kind of person who LOVES to color inside the lines in those Disney Princess books. The thing is, I’m the only 20 something year old still doing it. 😉 Bottom line is, even if you’re the cookie cutter type, if that’s what you love then just go ahead and be YOU.

    Thanks for the affirmation Lauren!

    Shaheera (and Tariq who doesn’t color in coloring books anymore but would probably stay in a rainforest all week)

    • Hey T & S!

      I know seriously when Robin told me her story I was like WOW!!!!! That is amazing!
      And you’re right – it’s all about how you might like to color it all in. Either way, just by being YOU, you’re contributing to being an individual in this world, rather than just fitting in with the masses 🙂
      – Laur 😀

  • Hi Laurent
    i Love this message “To Be You, and only You”.I hope it will help me to lead a wild and crazy life.

    Thanks Laurent

    • Hey Sudhakara!
      – to be you, and only you – I am sure if you’re doing this, a wild and crazy and meaningful life is the kind you will lead my friend 🙂

  • ah, the power of the Name. Well articulated & inspiring–I think allot of people who don’t get to travel forget that we take our baggage with us. It reminds me of Robert Cohn (‘The Sun Also Rises’) dreaming of going to South America after reading ‘The Purple Land.’ The problem, the narrator said, is that Cohn would take Cohn with him.

    I think you could really encourage your strong readership to “go local”–read travel articles, then write fabulous and expert piece on everything/everywhere.

    Every place