The Cost of Blind Intolerance

Butterfly Caged_1863444We live in times where we can’t see our own intolerance – especially of our own inner needs.   Our needs for rest, for nourishment, rejuvenation, for love, and peace.  We’re especially intolerant of our need for change.  We treat ourselves in ways that make these needs seem irrelevant.   We often notice, but don’t address the expectations and intolerant ways of the employers we work with or the people in our lives.  It’s as if we’re incarcerated and don’t even know it.

In the movie The American, Jack (George Clooney) is ruthless, merciless and his life is grim.  He lives the solitary and secretive life of an assassin.  Jack’s (also called Edward) work is all-consuming and his attention to the details of his career is precise.  It is his life and that’s all he has.  He doesn’t have love, a wife or a family.  His work is too demanding and dangerous.

Jack doesn’t have any passion in his life other than work.  He wants freedom but there’s no getting away from his job.  He’s not happy and wants a new life but doesn’t see this as a possibility.  Jack/Edward doesn’t believe love is possible or that he even deserves love.  We get to see what happens when we become all consumed by our work and this becomes the only dimension in our life.

As Pavel, Jack’s boss says, “Above all, don’t make any friends Jack…you used to know that…you’ve lost your edge Jack”.

Jack never has any down time.  Every moment he’s on guard, including sleep. He can’t trust anyone in any place.  His inner torment is palpable throughout the movie.

Jack’s initial choice of work probably wasn’t projected into the future.  The special forces tattoo on his biceps suggests maybe being an assassin seemed the only job he felt trained to do.   Many of us take the first job before us because of money or other conveniences without considering ourselves, our needs, and how this will play out in the future.  It’s as if we’re intolerant of our unique needs and don’t make them a part of our life choices. While Jack’s example is in the extreme, it does help us see what it feels like to be trapped in a job, with an intolerant employer that seems to leave us with little options.

Don’t all of us at times believe we have to accept the intolerant demands of our employers and others in our lives?  We think we don’t have a choice, as if we’re stuck.  We’re afraid to look for a new job for fear our employer will find out.  If that happened, how would we survive without our job?  That is the palpable fear we’ve all bought into at times and it sure steals our peace.  We don’t feel any freedom and we want something different.  It just doesn’t seem possible.

Mr. Butterfly
Throughout the movie, we see Jack’s butterfly tattoos, we see him studying books on butterflies, butterflies are all around him.  As a result, others call him Mr. Butterfly or Farfalla in Italian.   A butterfly is a powerful symbol of change in many traditions.  Butterflies bring color and joy to our lives.  Perhaps the film makers are using this symbol to indicate his deep need for change and joy in his life.    For Jack, it doesn’t seem like this change towards joy and love is possible.

The American is now available on DVD.  There are many beautifully crafted scenes throughout the movie.  We recommend this movie.  If you’re drawn to it, add it to your rental list.   Here’s a clip from the trailer

Intolerance can be a self-imposed prison.  What prevents us from opening the prison door?  We feel we must fit the societal norms, family norms, political, work, and religious expectations.  We believe these are the important ways of being and they should drive and direct our lives.  What we want is secondary to the external demands.

Examples of tolerance in these modern times can take some work to discover.  Make it a practice to look for them.  Perhaps it’s because we’re so intolerant of our selves that we aren’t naturally tolerant of others.

8 Steps To Being More Tolerant With Your Needs

  1. Allow your emotions to guide you when making choices in your life.
  2. Become aware of your self talk.  Would you talk to your most cherished loved ones the way you talk to yourself?
  3. Give yourself permission to accept your needs as a priority.  When you’re tired rest.  Make time for yourself each day.  If you don’t feel this is possible, begin with 5 minutes.
  4. Stop trying to take care of everyone else’s needs first, then yours.  When your needs are met, you always have more to give to others.
  5. Try not to be so judgmental of your choices and accept the fact that you’re doing the best you can.
  6. Always do your best.  In Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements, he says, “It doesn’t matter if you are sick or tired, if you always do your best there is no way you can judge yourself.  And if you don’t judge yourself there is no way you are going to suffer from guilt, blame, and self-punishment”.
  7. Embrace your need for change and don’t fear it.
  8. Seek joy every day and accept the fact that you need joy and you deserve it.

The Steps To Energetically Benefit from This AP Session: 

  • If you haven’t done the Intention Session, then do this first and only once. Think of it as downloading an App on your smartphone. Once completed then you’re ready to benefit from any of our AP movies/TV shows.
  • Rent and watch the entire movie:  The American
  • If you notice relief in the subsequent days, please pass this blog to someone you know who might appreciate some assistance. If you’re so inspired to like us on our Facebook page or Google+ – we welcome the love!



  1. Wow! This is powerful. Once again, you guys have hit the nail right on the head. This so describes what I wrestling with all the time.

  2. This speaks to much of my struggles in the past year! I find it very succinct and pertinent to my life and my generation I love the butterfly in a cage image–it works!