Joe vs the Volcano

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Sharon Fountain

The Message is in the Movies: 
Screen Gems to Help You
Live Your Life as a TEN!
by Sharon Fountain

Joe Versus The Volcano

    “My father says almost the whole world's asleep. Everybody you know, everybody you see, everybody you talk to.  He says only a few people are awake.   And they live in a state of constant total amazement.” -- Patricia

So much in life conspires to make us numb. Jobs we hate but are too afraid to leave; dreams that seem too far out of reach to even try for; coworkers, friends, even family members with whom we have nothing in common.

Boredom. Disappointment.  Fear. Constant, persistent, everyday denial of our own divine spark.  On a moment-by-moment basis, it may not seem like such a big deal to take the safe choice over and over again. But, like water over stone, even the most delicate pressure of fear against your dreams erodes your ability to be alert and aware of the beauty, adventures and marvels of life.

In Joe Versus the Volcano, Joe Banks had chosen the numb way out for three years after living the heroic life as a firefighter. After a long and distinguished career of saving lives and battling blazes, Joe finally "burned out" himself and took a menial desk job working in a dismal factory with office workers who are more like zombies than humans.

But even at his "safe" desk in the factory basement, Joe is not immune from a death scare.  Diagnosed with a progressive and incurable "brain cloud," Joe's doctor tells him he only has three months to live. He says, "You only have a short time left.  My advice is to live it well."

But what can he do?  The safe choices he made throughout the years had gradually narrowed his world to a small apartment on Staten Island with only a ukulele and his imagination to add spark to his life.

Until he is offered the chance to travel first class to a remote South Pacific island and jump into a volcano.

Few of us are offered the chance to travel first class to the South Pacific, never mind the opportunity to jump into a volcano. But, know it or not, every day we still are on our own personal heroic journeys.

And one of the tests we must all face is our ability to look at fear in the face and say, "No I will not numb out."

It's easy to think that heroic journeys are for action adventure personalities, like Bruce Willis.  Or even everyday people facing extraordinary challenges, such as a serious illness -- or even good news, like winning the lottery.

Crisis is neither good nor bad.  Crisis is an opportunity to make life-changing choices. The opportunity to actually choose life over sleep.

Ironically, Joe chooses life by saying yes to the opportunity to jump into the volcano. And in choosing to say yes, he discovers the world, he discovers love and he discovers himself.

He discovers his full capacity to be his best, most complete self. Without fear and without the harsh judgment of others.

What choices are you facing today? Are you saying yes?  Or are you saying, "No, let me sleep a little while longer."

Right now. This very minute:  Are you facing a death sentence?  A job you hate?  Neighbors and friends who don't share your values and dreams?  A persistent, insistent dream that you've been repeatedly denying? Are you denying joy for fear of failing?

What a glorious life you can have by waking up!  Imagine the exciting and meaningful career you can have!  The fabulous, fascinating people you'll meet living out their own heroic journeys! The beautiful places you will go to!  The wonderful example you will be to the children in your life passing on the message that life was meant to be lived large!

Watch this movie:

  • When you have had a terrible day, week, month, year at work.
  • The first day of a beach vacation.
  • When you're feeling fearful and don't know why.
  • When you have a new dream and you need inspiration to get started.


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Sharon Fountain, Performance Development Corporation