The Thing I Like About …

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End: when Ragetti releases Calypso from her bonds.

Calypso is a sea-goddess imprisoned in the mortal realm; she has taken the form of Tia Dalma, a mystical sort of woman who helps the heroes on their journey. When the truth comes out about her imprisonment, Captain Barbossa tries to set her free – he stands impressively, his arms gesturing … well … impressively, and his voice booming with all the authority and power he can muster: “CALYPSO, I RELEASE YOU FROM YOUR BONDS!!”

Nothing happens.

Ragetti, on the other hand, approaches Calypso gently, and leans close to her, and whispers lovingly in her ear, “I release you from your bonds.”

This frees her from her bonds, and she is able to be a sea-goddess again.

Ragetti understands what we so often forget: love isn’t supposed to be a power struggle.

We aren’t made more powerful by trying to exercise power over our loved ones; we aren’t more useful to them because we are “impressive”. Our attempts to force are ultimately met by resistance, by contempt, and by failure. Ragetti knows that if we really want to show love, then we need to yield – not in a way that causes us harm (like “yielding” to people who want to hurt us), but in a way that allows other people to be who they are.

If we really want to show love, we need to be loving rather than forceful, because, at the end of the day, the one that was most helpful and most giving to Calypso was the man who accepted that she already had power over herself to begin with. By loving her instead of trying to be a commanding presence (with impressive arm gestures), Ragetti encourages something amazing and transformative to happen.

And we can do that too – if we’re willing to let go of the urge to control, to command, to impress; if we’re willing to release others from the bonds of expectation and power-struggle we’ve wrapped around them; if we’re willing to whisper instead of shouting.

If we’re not afraid to allow others their own power, then amazing and transformative things will happen, right before our eyes.

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