Movie Mandalas – Lilo and Stitch
Hello everyone. It has been a few weeks since my last Movie Mandala post. In the first three, as is the purpose of this post series, I focused a lot on how making the mandalas has helped with my depression symptoms. Making these crochet mandalas has been very helpful and meditative. But this post is just a little different.
Although I have been a little more achy with the fibro symptoms, I am happy to report that the depression has subsided some. I had been feeling the inner, emotional turmoil alternating with numbness that is a defining characteristic of depression. Very annoying! But giving it time, keeping up with my medications, and a conscious effort to focus on calming my negative thoughts through counting stitches and rewatching feel-good movies as I meditate on my mandalas has been a huge help in bringing me a peaceful stillness for a time. And I really appreciate it.
For this Movie Mandala post I want to talk about how the animated film Lilo and Stitch reminded me about something important in the recovery process of depression and other mood disorders: support. As I quietly counted stitches, I watched the story of a pair of sisters recovering from the loss of their parents adopting an alien that struggled to find his place in a world he wasn’t meant to be a part of. It was hard for all of them to adjust in their own way. And if not for each other, the darkest moments would have seemed impossible to get out of.
Social support for depression is much the same. Countless studies have shown time and again that support is an essential part in countering the isolation that depression brings (example study 1, example study 2).
I noted David’s willingness and attempts to help the two girls if they needed to be cheered up or when Nani needed to find a job quickly. I watched as Lilo tried to offer comfort and understanding when she saw that Stitch seemed lost and conflicted. As I saw Lilo struggle to relate to others, it struck me how amazing Nani was with trying to help her, even though she was struggling too and trying to adjust herself to her new role in Lilo’s life. And then I noted how Nani tried to find the right words to say to Lilo that might help ease her stress in the moment when their separation seemed inevitable. A heartrending moment.
(Press the bar to play.)
It all made me think of how fortunate I am that I have a support system. My family and close friends are understanding and a comfort, even on the days when I may seem as destructive as Stitch was when he first arrived. I appreciate their kindness, their humor, and their ability to call me on my nonsense when what I need is a hard nudge back into reality.
Just as the word ‘ohana designates, this type of family includes more than the immediate family, and my ‘ohana has become this very support group I have come to rely on at times. More importantly for me, I hope that I have been able to return the implied responsibility of ‘ohana to one another and helped them too.
The Pelekai Family
The dynamics of the family in this story is one of my favorite things to watch unfold. Well, that and the watercolor painted backgrounds (amazing artwork!).
Finding himself in an area of the planet where his designed purpose is pointless, Stitch has to start over and construct himself a new purpose and support structure. Depression can sometimes feel much the same when I am rebuilding my thoughts after a particularly dark bout of negativity, leaving me feeling raw and lost.
Dr. Jumba Jookiba, the scientist who created Stitch, puts it best when expressing his thoughts on Stitch feeling lost before his epiphany:
626 was designed to be a monster, but now he has nothing to destroy. You see, I never gave him a greater purpose. What must it be like to have nothing, not even memories to look back on in the middle of the night?
But he comes to learn the importance of the little family he found himself being adopted into, and that helps him find a way to be a part of it.
Lilo puts it best:
Our family’s little now, and we don’t have many toys… But if you want, you could be a part of it. You could be our baby, and we’d raise you to be good.
This kid is amazing. Despite her stressful adjustment in coping with loss and being unable to relate to others for a time, Lilo has a keen understanding of what a supportive family is supposed to be and tries to make it happen where she can.
This is your badness level. It’s unusually high for someone your size. We have to fix that.
But she is still a child and needs help pulling through hard times, whether she asks for it or not.
[praying] It’s me again. I need someone to be my friend. Someone who won’t run away. Maybe send me an angel! The nicest angel you have.
Asking for help can be tough when my depression sinks in and makes illogical thoughts seem rational. I’m taking a lesson from Lilo and remembering to ask for help from my support system when I need it. Then again, her other solution seems good too.
Stitch is troubled. He needs desserts!
Of all the Disney heroines, and there are many solid ones, I find Nani to be one of my favorites because she is one of the most relatable. Don’t get me wrong, a princess story is interesting and I can relate to their characteristics and behaviors. But Nani? She is a regular girl in a kind of tough situation that more people can understand on a personal level. If not in exact parallel circumstances, then something similar when it comes to a sudden and harsh adjustment in life.
And she does so well! Despite the difficulty in the circumstances surrounding an unknown alien threat AND her own personal stresses having to cope with the death of their parents, she keeps her cool and tries hard to make life go on as normally as possible for her little sister.
She works so hard to make sure she can get a job quickly and keep Lilo with her, never letting her little sister feel like it’s her fault that things went poorly.
Lilo: Did you lose your job because of Stitch and me?
Nani: Nah. The manager’s a vampire. He wanted me to join his legion of the undead.
Lilo: I knew it!
She is quick to sincerely apologize when she looses her cool at Lilo’s expected acting out. And she makes her feel better when Lilo is upset.
I’ll take a lesson from Nani too and strive to handle stress like her when I can.
Until Next Time
With things going well right now, I appreciated the calmer mood as I made these mandalas. It gave me a chance to think about how important those in my life really are. My ‘ohana.
If you are curious about the pattern I use for the mandalas, you can find it in the A Creative Being blog. Check it out and give this meditation a try. So worth it! Happy crafting!