“The Wayshower” (2011). Cast: Jsu Garcia, Peter Stormare, Eric Roberts, Sally Kirkland, Howard Lazar, Evan Hart, Sebastian Barr, Nina Bergman, Rachel Lara, Edward Melchor, Rick Ojeda, Tod Huntington, Emily Yeskel, Sara Malakul Lane, Dey Young, Laura Eichhorn, Thomas J. Post, Leigh Taylor-Young. Directors: John-Roger and Jsu Garcia. Screenplay: John-Roger and Jsu Garcia. Story: John-Roger. http://thewayshower.com
Finding our true path in life—and the authentic self that manifests it into existence—can be quite an ordeal, as well as an amazing journey. This is particularly true when we face a rollercoaster of successes and difficulties that in the end leave us more disillusioned than ever. It’s a scenario that prompts desperate calls for guidance, for someone or something to point us in the right direction. Such is the odyssey of a middle-aged lost soul in the metaphysical drama, “The Wayshower.”
Jesus (Jsu Garcia) is urgently in need of answers. He’s a man with a past, one that appears to have had its share of triumphs and mistakes, but one that has also been lacking in a crucial element—clarity. After having lived the high life in Los Angeles, he dropped off the radar to set out on a new journey, one both literal and figurative, in search of the insights and enlightenment he so desperately craves. And for his efforts, his travels turn up…nothing.
So, with nothing to show for his efforts (and, at the same time, nothing to lose), he goes on a pilgrimage to the small town of Helper, Utah, the childhood home of his friend and one-time metaphysical mentor, JR (Howard Lazar). He’s not sure what he’ll find there, but he feels compelled to make the trip, hoping that it will yield clues as to his own destiny. And what he gets is not what he was expecting, but it’s exactly what he needs.
During his time in Helper, Jesus retraces the legacy of his spiritual teacher. Through dreams, writing and other experiences, he gets glimpses into JR’s upbringing as a boy (Sebastian Barr). He sees through flashbacks how his mentor’s future was shaped by the guidance of those around him, most notably a wise, loving father (Eric Roberts) who imparted many valuable teachings to his young son. He also witnesses the many challenges that JR faced in early adulthood (Evan Hart), incidents that helped prepare him for the emergence of his spiritual wisdom and miraculous abilities.
At the same time, Jesus receives serendipitous assistance from locals like Jeena (Sally Kirkland), a waitress at the local coffee house who helps point the way through passing observations that are more significant than she perhaps realizes. Such synchronicities, combined with the new insights about JR, take Jesus ever closer to a new level of personal understanding.
The most powerful experiences Jesus encounters, however, involve his interactions with externalized projections of his other selves (Rachel Lara, Edward Melchor, Rick Ojeda). These surreal episodes allow him to come face to face—literally—with those portions of himself that he has been unable or unwilling to deal with, a deeply rooted aversion that’s ultimately responsible for his present difficulties. It’s an issue that eventually gets forced, too, when Jesus is pushed into confronting the source of his underlying inability to resolve his unanswered questions, the Prince of Doubt (Peter Stormare), an externalized manifestation of what has been holding him back internally. This results in an intimidating encounter, to be sure, but, thankfully, JR arrives on the scene to provide the guidance that Jesus just may need to get him through the ordeal—and to point the way for a rewarding new future.
One of the early lessons JR’s father teaches him is that what he experiences in the world around him originates from within. This is, in essence, the practice of conscious creation (even if it’s not specifically called that as such in the film). It’s a solid, foundational teaching that provides a strong basis for coming to know and understand oneself (and one that Jesus, apparently, is in dire need of coming to terms with). The significance of this is especially true for the protagonist (and those of us experiencing comparable circumstances) in learning why our creations don’t always pan out as hoped for; that is to say that our disappointments, as well as our successes, all originate from us, and this occurs through what we allow to either enhance, or undercut, their materialization. The elements of doubt, fear and worry (all manifested here with physical embodiments of those qualities) are integral ingredients in recipes for failure, and they all begin with us if we allow them to be present as part of the materialization process. The sooner we face up to that, the sooner we can get past them and the better off we’ll be in becoming more proficient conscious creators who live out our destinies in line with our authentic selves.
Of course, timing plays an enormous role in all of this. Jesus might wonder why it has taken him so long to come to the realizations he discovers in the film, but that really shouldn’t come as a surprise, for nothing happens until the time is right. Jesus obviously had to become so disenchanted with his circumstances that he had to force himself into dealing with his unresolved issues (not the most effective way of handling things but one that many of us, regrettably, allow to take place). However, by signaling his commitment to the Universe to get past the prevailing unsatisfactory conditions, Jesus goes on the record that he’s ready for change. Consequently, doors begin opening up at every turn, insights become apparent (and clearer), synchronicities unfold on cue and, perhaps most importantly, and in line with the film’s title, wayshowers begin to appear. (Amazing how that happens, isn’t it?)
In a radio interview on Coast to Coast AM earlier this year, co-director Jsu Garcia spoke about the making of this film and how much of its storyline was semi-autobiographical in nature (Jsu became Jesus, and JR was inspired by his metaphysical mentor, John-Roger). One of the potential pitfalls in transferring a story like this to the big screen is that the storyteller may be a little too close to the material to do it justice so that an outside audience can fully appreciate the message. Thankfully, that problem has been avoided here for the most part. The odyssey of a seeker following through on his mission is presented in an engaging manner (and not the easiest of feats, given the many threads of the narrative). Admittedly there is some material that is glossed over a bit too hastily (such as information on the significance of Jesus’ three selves) and some other material that is needlessly stretched out (such as a sequence involving reincarnational lessons whose relevance, interestingly enough, is not developed quite as fully as it might have been). On balance, however, the effort to deliver a personally meaningful message that isn’t “too inside” in nature is handled well in this picture.
Unfortunately, “The Wayshower” is a film still in search of an audience. Thus far it has been playing primarily at special screenings and at film festivals celebrating independent productions. One can hope, however, that word of mouth about it will spread throughout the metaphysical community, helping the picture earn a wider following and the recognition it deserves. Check the film’s web site for upcoming screenings in your area.
Finding someone to help show us the way along our paths is indeed a blessing, but what we do along that path ultimately comes down to each of us. This picture illustrates that clearly, helping us to help ourselves in this journey called life.
Copyright © 2011, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.