What You Can Learn From “Saving Mr Banks” ~ Forgiveness

heart trinket on wood

“Cottonwood Tucson’s Family Program week is about creating change. Often, families come into family week fearful, angry, distraught and obsessed.”

Behaviors are logical and learned…

When family members arrive at Cottonwood Tucson to participate in our Family Program they can’t imagine feeling better, getting healthy. They struggle to understand why they should participate in the Family Program. They assume that they are healthy and it is only their loved one in treatment who needs treatment. Every member of the family has learned how to behave and get through to the next day. But what they don’t realize is that it is possible to shift unhealthy logical behaviors to healthy logical behaviors. Family members can relearn how to interact with each other, let go of what they can’t control, detach from the pain as opposed to detaching from the loved one suffering from addiction and/or co-occurring disorders.

To start this healing is to experience the beginning of recovery. Participants begin to imagine how recovery can feel…

What P.L. Travers learned from Walt Disney…

English: Portrait of Walt Disney, 1 January 19...
English: Portrait of Walt Disney, 1 January 1954 Here is a picture of Walter Disney cropped from a NASA photograph. Deutsch: Walt Disney, 1954 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, you read correctly…today we are writing about P.L.Travers and Walt Disney. During this past week one of our associates happened to watch the movie Saving Mr. Banks. She didn’t know what to expect, as she had only seen the previews in the coming attractions at her local theater and she had never read any of P.L. Travers’ works or even seen the award winning iconic Mary Poppins. (Rest assured our associate is old enough to have done both!)

For the record, Saving Mr. Banks is a biopic released during the 2013 Christmas season based on a 2002 documentary film titled The Shadow of “Mary Poppins.”  It should be noted, that as with every biopic, the movie Saving Mr. Banks is based on real people and their life story(ies), but creators dramatize certain aspects of the storyline.

Actually, according to the movie P. L. Travers and Walt Disney were able to teach each other a lot about how they each managed to not only cope with their childhood traumas, but to survive them.

See a trailer of Saving Mr. Banks

You can see it here.

Surviving with imagination

The movie Saving Mr. Banks would have us believe that both P. L. Travers (in real life Helen Goff) and Walt Disney survived harsh childhoods by using their imaginations to create magical worlds; she with Mary Poppins and he with Disneyland. 

This conversation between Walt Disney and P.L. Travers captures their common struggles beautifully.

Walt Disney: I don’t tell you this to make you sad, Mrs. Travers. I don’t. I love my life, I think it’s a miracle. And I loved my dad. He was a wonderful man. But rare is the day when I don’t think about that eight-year-old boy delivering newspapers in the snow and old Elias Disney with that strap in his fist. And I am just so tired, Mrs. Travers. I’m tired of remembering it *that* way. Aren’t you tired, too, Mrs. Travers? Now we all have our sad tales, buy don’t you want to finish the story? Let it all go and have a life that isn’t dictated by the past? It’s not the children she [Mary Poppins]comes to save. It’s their father. It’s *your* father… Travers Goff.

P.L. Travers: I don’t know what you think you know about me, Walter…

Walt Disney: You must have loved and admired him a lot to take his name. It’s him this is all about, isn’t it? All of it, everything. Forgiveness, Mrs. Travers, it’s what I learned from your books.

P.L. Travers: I don’t have to forgive my father. He was a wonderful man.

Walt Disney: No… you need to forgive Helen Goff. Life is a harsh sentence to lay down for yourself.

Gathering comfort from movies…

Over the years, we have often published posts about movies. Movies in fact are a way for us to escape, and so often, we find ourselves surprised at how touched we are by a certain storyline or even just one phrase. In researching for today’s post, we came across a December 27, 2013, review written by Mark Hughes for Forbes Magazine: ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ Packs Emotional Wallop. We hope you will take a few minutes to read Hughes’ observations…

“…pay attention to the story in front of you, to the people in this story, and to what is being said about their lives and their motivations. It’s wonderful, it’s surprisingly personal and unafraid of painful discussions, and it has far more heart and integrity in its pursuit of speaking to the human condition, to universal hopes and fears and loss and love, than you’ll expect. Thompson and Hanks bring it all to life with terrific performances that find the core of these characters and remain true to that in every moment on screen.”

Saving Mr. Banks deals with children, with adult children of alcoholics, with depression, with suicide ideation, with trauma, but more importantly with hope and recovery.

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