That Heist Vibe


Two weekends ago I woke with a voice clear in my head:

You need to connect to the heist

The instruction hadn’t come as part of a dream I was waking from. It had come as I was waking, as though picking the sweet spot to relay the message. It’s the first time something quite so obvious and specific has happened to me.

What the hell, I thought, as I lay there in the dark. What does my depth work have to do with a heist?

It was an odd but also kind of liberating experience to think of my depth work from this perspective.

I could see parallels when I let go. Then across the next few days I went down rabbit holes learning more about heist films.

Act One — The Preparation

Every heist movie begins with a mastermind assembling a group of people with specialised skills with the intention of pulling off a highly complex robbery.

As someone pointed out, it’s not a heist film if it’s just George Clooney or Sandra Bullock alone doing it (though The Thomas Crown Affair does successfully thwart this convention!)

So that’s us right now. I’m calling in and assembling that group. You’re heeding the call. We gather (a carrier bag word!) with unique life experience and skills we can collectively draw on to successfully navigate what comes next.

Act Two — The Execution

And what comes next is the successful execution of the plan, where the group gets what they set out to obtain: money, diamonds, priceless artwork etc.

It’s worth noting at this stage that heist films are usually inherently anti-capitalist.

So in my depth work, we go down, together, into the Underworld seeking to retrieve what was cleaved off and stolen by the patriarchy, capitalism, restrictive religions, shitty family etc.

Together, we’re successful at getting ourselves down into the Underworld, navigating and trouble-shooting the challenges that inevitably come up — because that’s the nature of an Underworld journey. But, we find what we went seeking … and more, because there’s always a few surprises along the way.

Third Act — The Aftermath

The third part of the heist movie is what happens in the wake of the successful operation. (Charlie Kunken — more on him in a moment — points out that it’s not a heist movie if they don’t get what they came for — there must be a successful robbery.)

That’s the part of the depth work where we’ve got what we sought and now we start to experiment with what it means to have that in our lives, then the slow process of integrating that into our current and future lives.

There’s usually some kind of twist too.

For us, that’s going down into the Underworld and finding something quite different than what we anticipated, followed by the unexpected ways that ripples out afterwards.

I mean, it wouldn’t be fun if we knew every single beat of our stories unfolding.

From Heists to Cancelling

Believe me, this was not where I anticipated trajectory the thinking on my depth work to go.

Doubly so when in the dead of the night, thoughts of heist movies segued into thoughts about cancel culture.

I have a theory that we can only have a successful cancel culture movement because we have been practicing a form of liberal perfectionism and policing on ourselves all our lives, canceling and hiding parts of ourselves that can’t and won’t ever fit the ideal — whatever that ideal might be.

They’re the stars of the Underworld, the ones we plan to go down and repatriate.

Enter Stage Left, Charlie Kunken (Heist Nerd)

Other than watching Ocean’s Eleven, two decades ago because I didn’t mind spending two hours watching George Clooney, I didn’t know a lot about heist movies. Then I found Charles Kunken who knows an unprecedented amount about heist movies.

Using Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid* process he identified 16 characteristics/conventions of a heist movie, then used his paternity leave to sit up late with his baby daughter and watch, as well as take detailed notes, on 32 films. I loved the comment that his daughter’s favourite movie was The Great Muppet Caper.

Looking more granular at heist movies, the similarities between the depth year and the great robberies fell to pieces.

Except I kind of loved the idea that we, as we enter our villain phase, are becoming the “bad guys” of patriarchy and capitalism. The self-proclaimed “bad girls” putting our lives ahead of what we’re told is appropriate for us — and going after what was stolen from us.

Take from that what you will.

Twelve Hours and Counting

Registrations for Unseen close at 8pm this evening, Brisbane time.

There are three core components of Unseen.

💫 monthly 1:1 session which last 90 minutes (leveraging my unique synergy of tarot, storytelling, coaching and intuitive downloads.)

💫 two group calls (2nd/4th Saturday/Friday depending on where you are in the world)

💫 weekly audio check ins via Signal.

I have one final email to send at lunch time then we can all take a deserved break (and I can thinking about returning to my post-trauma romance writing again, given I finally know what happens next).

Enjoy today’s Mercury Cazimi (a moment of startling clarity or easeful answers to crunchy problems) as well as the Venus vibe of Friday if you are in my corner of the world.

And if you’ve never seen the opening scene of Edgar Rice’s Baby Driver … let me leave that for your enjoyment. One of the best uses of music in a movie ever — and a sweet car chase (once upon a time I wanted to grow up to be a racing car driver!)

*Last year the Story Grid offered up a questionnaire that spat out the genre of the book you’d written. I punch the data in for What I Left to Forget and discovered I’d actually written a modern morality story, which once I saw it, I knew that was what it was at the heart — even though it had begun as a dark love story.

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