Topsy Turvy

Topsy Turvy

with Jim Broadbent

Viewed September 7, 2002

This celebration of the music of Gilbert and Sullivan also offered some insight into what life must have been like in late 19th century Victorian England. We got to see that we--like the English of that time--are also subjected to authoritarian pressures, both at work and in the rest of our lives (Question #1). Someone told how she had worried about disagreeing with the teacher in a church adult education class, because she wanted everyone to like her and didn't want the teacher to feel like she was usurping her authority in the class. Nevertheless, when asked, she went ahead and voiced her disagreement, because it would have felt like betraying herself if she hadn't.

Another participant said that in the past she needed to resist or object to stupid instructions and ideas presented by her boss. Now, though, she has realized that she doesn't have to lose integrity when she agrees to do what her boss requests; she can maintain her self-identity and still allow things to go her boss's way.

Then we talked about Question #8, and decided that sometimes it's important to hold on to something very tightly, and sometimes it's important to just let things go and let the universe guide us. Or maybe "hold on tightly" isn't quite the right phrasing; maybe it's more like deeply desiring some particular result, and then letting it go.

Someone said that question reminded him of Question #4, because when he has held on tightly to a specific concept or definition of what he is able to do, it has put a boundary around what he is capable of doing in the future. "This is all I can do, and it's all I'll ever be able to do." So he realized that he can live "larger" by breaking through his previous definitions of "who and what I am." Someone else said that she recently realized that she was keeping herself small by not allowing herself to speak up for her beliefs and ideas. So she has started speaking up for herself more, and now she has a new "larger" feeling inside. Which sort of brings us right back around to our answer to Question #1, above.

Here are the questions:


  1. How do I maintain/identify my values in the face of authoritarian pressure?
  2. How do I deal with my "shadow"?
  3. How easily do I accept my successes and praise?
  4. Why do I keep myself "small"? How do I live "larger"?
  5. In the face of avoidance or denial, how do I express my need?
  6. What stops me from being able to express what I really want? How can I get past it?
  7. How do I overcome my perceived weaknesses?
  8. How do I stop holding on to something really tight so that I can see the doors that open for me on the other side?