The Soul of The SPARK Initiative
At The SPARK Initiative, we loved the movie Soul. In addition to the beautiful visuals, storyline, and music, so many concepts deeply resonated with us because of our own work with children and youth. Here are a few of our highlights. Please note this post contains spoilers!
The way ‘The Zone’ is depicted in Soul, replicates how we describe a connection to your SPARK to our students. It is a dropping out or falling out of thought. In particular, the dropping out of concepts of yourself and questions like ‘how am I doing?’. It is the space of no thought or before thought. A space where you bask in the feeling of your innate well-being and enjoy the connection with a deeper part of yourself.
Depiction of ‘Lost Souls’
We find it intriguing and illuminating how Peter Doktor and the writers placed the lost souls in ‘The Zone’, showing the slippery slope between enjoying life in a no thought space to suffering in an obsessive thought space. They show how we can easily become embroiled in our attempts to secure the good feeling we experience in ‘The Zone’. In these attempts to secure it, we move farther and farther away from it, until we are buried in our mental tornados, like 22. So many of us become more and more embroiled in our thought storms, causing a great deal of suffering.
Finding your SPARK
We show kids the way out of the suffering by describing the ‘weather’ of our minds and facilitating experiences for them to have personal insights into their SPARK, which, like the sun, are always present, just covered up by temporary mental storms. One of our most effective visuals to show this is with a light bulb and lampshade. Without the shade, the bulb, representing our SPARK, is super bright, almost blinding. When we add the lampshade, it’s slightly dimmer but still quite bright. We then use post-it notes to start covering the lampshade with all the thoughts that tend to swirl around in our mental weather like ‘I’m not good enough, I’ll never find my purpose, I’m useless’, etc. From this, we can clearly see the SPARK is still there, just covered up by unhelpful thinking and thus emitting less light. Just like 22, when kids see this, the unhelpful thoughts tend to fall away and their true nature is revealed. Even if the thoughts still stay, the simple knowing of the existence of your SPARK and that it can never be lost or damaged, provides a relief from the suffering and hope to ride out the storm.
Similar to the mentors in Soul, it is our job as mentors to show kids the way back to their SPARK. We don’t have to fix them, because they are not broken. We don’t have to tell them what to do because they know when they feel it. We are the pointers, the guides, helping them explore the world and themselves through a connection with their SPARK.
The purpose of life
We love the simple message that the purpose of life is to enjoy it. From the taste of pizza to the tailoring of a special suit, it is all magical when you are living in a space of connection to your SPARK. When your SPARK is felt, the world looks different. There is joy and beauty is all the so-called mundane aspects of life. This definition of purpose relieves us all, like 22, of any burden to find the one activity that makes us feel truly alive. As we teach our kids, the things you enjoy will change. Trying to find purpose or happiness in the world of form is a moving target. The one constant is your SPARK. When connected, life becomes a miracle to behold and the very question about purpose falls away.
Spreading the Find your Spark message
We were so excited to see that the Find you Spark journal, inspired by the movie, has many of the same activities that are in our workbooks. We are also thrilled that the name of our podcast, Find Your SPARK, is now becoming a household phrase! We know the world will change when people do Find their SPARK and are therefore so heartened by the huge boost that Soul is giving this message.