The Moana Complex


We are seeking, we are striving, we are in it with all of our heart.

As seekers, we are always asking more of ourselves: asking our body to be more flexible, asking our mind to be more open, asking our heart to be more loving, asking our soul to be more searching. And this is important! We must ask these things of ourselves in order to keep evolving every moment into our truest, most wholehearted, authentic selves. The joy here is that there is always more of ourselves to discover - what a beautiful thing!

But it’s easy to forget that we need balance. This week, I am finding that the balance lies in acceptance of who I am now, in this minute. It lies in finding gratitude in the simple facts: I have a body to move. I have a mind to think. I have a heart to love.

When we forget this present-moment-mindfulness (and it’s so easy to forget! Especially when we are seeking, striving, learning, growing with all of our being!) we unwittingly lower our self-compassion reserves. When we keep asking our beings for more of who we dream of being, without a baseline of acceptance for who we are, we are actually cultivating a subtle aggression towards ourselves. It sends a little message - “I’m not enough.”

So how do we give ourselves space for ultimate growth? How do we show ourselves that we are enough? By balancing these two concepts - acceptance of who we are, right now, and excitement for who we are ever becoming. 

And because everything can come back to Disney, I’d like to call this the Moana Complex. (See it - it’s Disney for a new generation, and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s songs are so catchy!) 

In the opening number, “Where You Are,” Moana’s father is trying to ground her, and he sings, “there comes a day/when you’re gonna look around/and realise happiness is where you are.”

But Moana, in her wanting song, “How Far I’ll Go,” is just like any Disney protagonist: she wants “adventure in the great wide somewhere” (to put it in the words of Belle). “See the line where the sky meets the sea - it calls me!”

Moana comes to find that she needs to balance the two concepts: “you can find happiness right where you are” doesn’t necessarily mean that she needs to stay at home; and “the line where the sky meets the sea - it calls me” doesn’t necessarily mean that she has to stay away. She accepts who she is, in order to move forward into who she is able to be.

What if we really accept ourselves, this very moment? What if we stand fully in our own power, right now, present and aware? 

And even more - what if we can go further than acceptance, and we actually celebrate who we are now? Isn’t that the optimal place to be? Completely celebrating and loving ourselves, right now, in this very moment, whilst being eager and excited and open and ready for more.

(There I am, asking for more again.)