It’s time for a new article in our “Lightworker Lessons from a Netflix or HBO show”-series. This month we are going to look into The Gilded Age, streaming on HBO Max.
Before we get started, I want to point out that I’m not a reviewer, and the articles in the “Lightworker Lessons from a Netflix or HBO show”-series are not meant to be reviews of the shows. I’m trying not to give any spoilers away, but sometimes it can be a bit difficult if I’m able to use the scene or situation as a lesson for teaching. The length of these articles also depends on how many lessons I’m capable of finding that have enough “meat” on them to be used as teaching.
As the title reveals, the Gilded Age is not exactly a time with a tendency for the deeper things in life, like body, mind, and soul. Compassion. Benevolence. It’s a time in American history that was all about money, success, belonging to the right families, class distinction, and HUGE egos. The men built fortunes… or at least tried to… while having hidden agendas behind every step, all on the cause to make even more money, gain more influence, and become the most powerful man in the state or country. The women spend time in their group of higher society, gossiping and making sure their family stays friends with other prominent and important families to ensure their husbands’ business success. The women also organised charities to help raise money for those in need. But the women’s charities were, of course, also a way to look good and make a good name for their families. There is a strong split between the “old money” and the “new money”. Often the split caused by the “old money” doesn’t want the “new money” inside of their social circles, which of course, makes it difficult for the “new money” to be accepted in the higher society.
The Gilded Age was also a time when white people looked down on black people. Black people were limited in their options for climbing the social ladder ONLY because of their skin colour.
The show, The Gilded Age, takes place in the 1880s New York upper class. Despite giving a peek into New York’s elite of the time, it also touches base on racism, homosexuality, and suicide. But unfortunately, probably due to the time period and that the show is highly focused on white, rich people, topics like racism, homosexuality, and suicide stays in the background as taboo they were at the time. So, it’s very difficult for me to use those topics as a foundation for Lightworker Lessons.
The show begins with the young blond woman Marian Brook sitting in a meeting with the lawyer of her father’s estate lawyer. Despite being from one of the most prominent families in America, her father left her with nothing when he died. Marian travels from Philadelphia to New York to live with her aunts.
Lesson #1 – It Doesn’t Matter What Your Social Status is, Where You’re From, the Colour of Your Skin, or How Much Money You Have – If You See Someone In Need of Help – Offer to Help Them!
In the very first episode, we meet Peggy Scott (Denée Benton), a young black woman who helps Marian Brook (Louisa Jacobson) when she is robbed at the train platform. Peggy pays for a new train ticket to Marian. Since Peggy is black and Marian is travelling with her, it leads to her having to travel together with the black people on the bad end of the train. However, Marian is grateful and insists on paying Peggy back as soon as she gets to her aunts. I would say that Marian is probably one of the only main characters in the show who would be absolutely okay with travelling back at the end of the train with the black people. Maybe aunt Ada would be okay with it too. But the rest of the main characters are… hm… a bit snobbish… to put it politely.
When Marian and Peggy arrive in New York, the weather is awful, and the ferry to Brooklyn is cancelled. So Marian insists Peggy go with her to her aunts. They let Peggy stay for the night. Agnes offers Peggy a position as her secretary.
In the household of Agnes van Rhijn, it’s only a few of the servants who had an issue with Peggy being black. The two aunts had no issue whatsoever, because Peggy was an ambitious and good person. The people in the aunts’ social circles also accepted Peggy because she was introduced as Agnes’ secretary and companion of Marian when she was out and about. Agnes wanted to make sure her niece was safe in the city, so she asked Peggy to accompany Marian. Peggy is from Brooklyn, so she knows New York better than Marian from Philadelphia.
Being in the household of Agnes van Rhijn opened doors for Peggy that no black woman at that time ever would dream of. She met influential and interesting people with whom she got into a dialogue with. Peggy is both intelligent, wit, and not afraid to start a dialogue with the people she meets. It also seems like some of the ladies in the society actually look past Peggy’s skin colour and acknowledge her as Agnes’ secretary and Marian’s companion.
It all started because Peggy looked past skin colour and status and helped a young woman in need.
The Lightworker Lesson here is to help someone if they’re in need! Do it with a selfless heart and with no hidden agendas. Do it because it’s the right thing to do!
No matter the colour of their skin.
No matter their gender.
No matter their social class.
A random act of kindness will always be rewarded!
Helping someone in need is even more likely to be rewarded because people are happy to show their gratitude!
While most Lightworkers don’t have any problem helping random people in need, we tend to have a bit of a challenge accepting the thanks from those we help. It would be super helpful if we could take a page out of Peggy’s book and accept the gratitude we have been offered in return for helping someone.
That said, don’t expect the gratitude to unfold on the same large scale as it did for Peggy. It is, after all, a TV show of 10 episodes 😉
Lesson #2 – Never Give Up, Just Because You Meet Obstacles On Your Way.
Peggy tries to get her short story published but meets obstacles because she is black. A Christian publisher is willing to publish her IF she changes the black people to white people and keeps her identity hidden.
We all meet obstacles on our way. We all meet people who are trying to make us fit into already established boxes because it “makes it easier for society to accept”.
Obstacles and prejudice are happening in all areas of life. I think everybody in one shape or form has dealt with obstacles and prejudice at least once.
Lightworkers have been dealing with obstacles and prejudice daily for centuries. There was a time when Lightworkers were considered High Priest(ess)es and someone people sought when they needed healing, guidance or help. When religion really started to get a grab around humanity in the first part of the 2nd millennium, the men of the church started the persecution of the so-called witches.
Thankfully, we aren’t burned on the stake anymore, but that doesn’t mean the witch-hunt is over. In today’s world, it usually happens online and on social media. People can be such rude and big bullies because they’re sitting safely behind a screen and often even an anonymous account. They won’t be held responsible for their harassment because no one really knows who they are. Thankfully, all social media platforms have a report function and a block button. Don’t be afraid of using those two functions! They are created to be used.
Most of the obstacles Lightworkers meet are not so much the society’s limitations for “people like us”! – I will never compare our obstacles with the discrimination people of colour and people in the lgbtqia+ community are experiencing. That’s completely unacceptable, and humanity should have been more tolerant by now since we have the world’s knowledge and information right off the ends of our fingertips… literally! Our computers and our smartphones have all direct access to the internet. But apparently, it’s more exciting to harass someone online and on social media than take the time to educate oneself on equality for all races, sexualities, belief systems, social classes, incomes, and gender, for that matter.
As I said, Lightworker’s obstacles are not so much the society’s limitation for “people like us” – it’s more our own fear-based mind and unconscious anxiety to be ridiculed and harassed by narrow-minded people and trolls online and on social media.
That fear manifests itself in the obstacles we’re experiencing, and we aren’t even aware that it’s a creation of our own fear-based mind.
The easiest way to change patterns is by feeding our consciousness with new experiences. Take the chance to put your dream/desire/goal into motion.
Do 1 thing every day that will bring you closer to your desired outcome.
- Send an email…
- Write a comment on an Insta post…
- Make a phone call…
- Show up to a meeting (make sure you’re invited, of course)
- Go to the gym (if you want to get into shape)
All big things start with those small actions… If you want to write a book, then commit to writing 1000 words every day, and you will have a book within 3 months.
Another important lesson to take away from Peggy’s meeting with the publisher is don’t let anyone tell you how to do your work! Don’t let them make such big changes in your work that the original purpose goes away. Stay true to your inspiration and to yourself!
Lesson #3 – No Matter What You Have Done, You Deserve a Second Chance.
Marian is the only one who doesn’t give Mrs Chamberlain the cold shoulder. Even though Mrs Chamberlain has done something in her past that’s not welcome in the 1800s higher society, Marian still tries to connect with her and see her. Marian doesn’t really care about what Mrs Chamberlain did in the past. She is just enjoying getting to know her and talking with her.
Later, when it’s revealed what Mrs Chamberlain had done it in the past, I’m kind of sitting with a feeling that it’s not such a big deal as the higher society makes it. Sure, it’s not a good thing she had done… but it could have been much, much, much worse. – and I somehow think that Marian can see that.
Sometimes we screw up!
Sometimes we screw up badly!
But everyone deserves a second chance! I’m willing to question the third and fourth chances, but the second chance should be given.
Because we all do something where we need a second chance at least once in our lives, just as we desire others to give us a second chance, they desire the same from us.
It’s a matter of acknowledgement and understanding that it can happen for everyone.
It’s also a matter of not settling on a judgement before knowing the whole story. We might think we know the full story, but the truth is we only know very little that’s actual facts. The rest is something our brain makes up to fill in the blanks – often accompanied by gossip and chit-chat.
If we are waiting to jump to a conclusion until we have the whole story, it would be easier to give a person a second chance. It’s very rare that someone has done something so terrible that they don’t deserve a second chance.
The situation with Mrs Chamberlain is also a classic example of women ganging up on another woman and excluding her from their circles just because she had done something they disapproved of. I’m not quite sure that the men really are seeing the same issue with Mrs Chamberlain as the ladies do. But of course, to keep the peace in the household, they silently agree with their wives.
I want to hear from you…
What Lightworker Lessons did you take away from The Gilded Age?
– Let me know in the comment field on the insta post below.
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