I wonder if you’re like me and just wish you could unplug from all the media noise, social and other wise, and go to an idyllic place to rest, relax, and rejuvenate. I did that for three weeks in July but it didn’t take long to join the rat race again. I was feeling a bit frazzled again a week or so ago, and decided to read a couple of books by James Hilton. The first was Random Harvest, the basis for one of my favorite movies of the same name. The other was Lost Horizon, again the basis of a movie. Both star Ronald Coleman, an actor with one of the most famous, and my favorite, voices in film history.
Both books were soothing to my soul, but the idea of going to place like Shangri-la away from all the current strife was really appealing. Just reading the book was restful. The main character Conroy, suffered great stress and maybe even PTSD from four years fighting in WW I. The usual striving for success and prestige mean little to him after such an experience. He’s in the British diplomatic corps, but is at a very junior level, which suits him fine. But rebellion breaks out in China where he’s posted and he must get all the Europeans out safely. He and his assistant and two others, an American businessman and a woman missionary are the last to leave. But they are kidnapped and taken to a remote hidden village and monastery in the Tibetan Himalayas, a place called Shangri-la. It’s just the place Conroy needed. The American and woman missionary find reasons to stay, but Conroy’s assistant, a young man in his twenties, has ambitions and is constantly trying to get commitments from the leaders to organize a caravan so he can get back to civilization. He wants Conroy to go with him. But the struggle for Conroy is that, though he likes and even feels responsible for his assistant, he’s content to stay.
It seemed to me that Conroy and his assistant represent two opposing view points we are struggling with today. Conroy is an older person who has gone through enough traumas and setbacks to know that solving problems often takes patience and emotional intelligence. Whereas the young assistant thinks that constant pushing is how you get things done. But constant pushing is exhausting and oftentimes fruitless.
Maybe the pandemic made us realize that Conroy’s way of doing things is best. That trying to soothe our fear by pushing through is not the best way to feel better. That allowing ourselves to feel our fear and then letting it go so the answers to our current situation can come to us, is best.
What I learned from Lost Horizon is that I can access a kind of Shangri-la at any time. All I have to do is stop my fussing and be still. The answers will come if I stop pushing.
I highly recommend both Random Harvest and Lost Horizon both in book and movie forms. James Hilton’s style of writing is different than any I’ve read to date. He tells the main character’s story through a third person, which I found fascinating. The movies are not like that, of course, but still they are both worth a watch.
This is a long weekend for us in the U.S. I hope you are all well and getting ready for the change of seasons. This year Autumn feels different to me since I’m not teaching. From now on August will not bring a flurry of activity trying to get ready for the new school year. I was never ready to give up summer in August. But now September is here I do feel ready to embrace a kind of getting cozy and slowing down my working pace. Since I’m officially retired, it’s time to enjoy just being in my own Shangri-la as much as possible.
Welcome to my new followers. I appreciate your comments, likes and even shares.
Have a blessed weekend wherever you are in the world.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2022
The Space Between Time
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.
Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, after the last few years, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.
The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.
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6 thoughts on “Hanging Out In Shangri-la”
I should read Lost Horizon. I saw the movie when I was pretty young and remember having my inexperienced mund blown. The scene were the couple cross the border, out of the utopia was super jarring and was probably pretty instrumental in forming my love of storytelling. I imagine the book has a much deeper illustration of that moment. AND is probably easier to pull deeper meaning.
It’s been a really long time since I saw the movie. I looked it up on IMDb and found they had added a love interest character for Conway that is not in the book. The interesting thing about the book is that it begins after Conway has left Shangri-La but he is recovering from the arduous trip and something happened to his memory. But once he remembers he tells his story to his school friend, who writes it all down and give it to another school friend and as the second friend is reading the account we find out what happened in Shang-La and by that time Conway is on his way back there. That’s what I mean by the interesting plot construction. Yes, when Conway decides to help his young assistant leave there is a jarring feeling. We find out more details about the the “escape” trip from the first friend who was a journalist, I think and he followed the trail of events. I loved the book.
Have you seen the doc, “5 Came Back”? About 5 WWII era Hollywood directors (including Capra) and how they were affected by the war. Really interesting.
I’ve heard of it but I don’t think I’ve seen it. That would be interesting. I’ll have to look it up.
It’s on Netflix, if you have that.
Yes we do. Cool.