I recently saw Everything, Everywhere, All at Once. I loved this movie about tackling one’s issues through the awesome power of accessing other lifetimes in parallel universes to find the badass skills and tools needed for the current situation. It got me thinking about how rewriting is the key to changing one’s attitudes.

In my view, the movie reflects a few things happening in today’s world: the ADHD everything everywhere all at once of our complicated lives, the many world(view)s ready to ensnarl us, the sheer lunacy of all the moving parts we need to dodge, the desire to find out-of-box solutions for the things that just aren’t working for us anymore.

I geeked out and used the movie as a thought exercise. What might happen if I used this timeline magic to go back and rewrite past events that didn’t work out so well for me? Events where I made mistakes, or where my good intentions played out badly? What could I bring to those events then using the badass skills and tools I have now?

When I revisited my cringeworthy stories, I tried to see the other players’ sides, imagined other interpretations I didn’t think of at the time, recast the narratives to be gentler on others, and on myself. I asked myself what I learned from the experiences, even if the learning was tough. Even if the learning was simply that I never did those stupid things ever again, and never will. The events are in the past, so the memories and the attitudes are all that’s left. I can’t change the attitudes of others, but at least I can rewrite my own attitudes if they are holding me back.

A central theme of the movie is to find love and compassion for others, even if they are misguided and dangerous. The protagonist Evelyn will not harm her crazy daughter, even though she is being pressured to do it to save all the universes. She wants to find the keys to help her daughter change. In the crazy world of everything everywhere all at once, there are always more keys to try.

Evelyn discovers that unconditional love is the only way to defuse her daughter’s craziness, and calm all the universes. My thought experiment reminded me that love is at the heart of rewriting my own stories. Compassion, understanding, surrender, forgiveness—for others, and for myself. It’s only when your heart decides it’s OK that you can change the story and make it OK.

Keywords to explore: recapitulation therapy, ho’oponopono