We Are Planetary. Are You Connected?

Planetary RonGaran GuyReid StreamingMuseum SCHWARK 1a

Planetary Cinematographer, Christopher Ferstad; Director, Guy Reid; Astronaut Ron Garan

Do you know what made me smile and think and reflect this week? A film and the people involved in the making of it. This is not an advertisement, nor is it paid content in any way shape or form. I want you to do things like smile, and think and reflect too, so how could I not share what spurred this within me? If I had a cookie, I’d also share that with you. I, however, do not have a cookie, so this is what I have to offer you today:

This week, I attended a screening of a film called Planetary. Director, Guy Reid, has created a beautifully stunning film about the importance of waking our interconnectedness with all life, the elements of this planet and with the space around us. It takes on the heavy topics of social and environmental responsibility and it delivers a very important message about connectedness, but does so in a serene and peaceful way. It was inspiring and motivating without making you feel as if you are too small or insignificant to have an impact in this world. In fact, it reminds you just how important your individual purpose truly is in the here and now.

The screening was being hosted by the Streaming Museum as it kicks off a long term project called A View From the Clouds, a celebration of art and vision, and the setting at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, known as the Gateway to the United Nations, could not have been any more perfect. Audience members sat with headphones on, listening to the film which was silent to any passerby. Shortly after the film had begun, as was explained to us beforehand, an interfaith ceremony that was being held across the street at The Church of the Holy Family (The United Nations Parish) had just concluded. I couldn’t help but momentarily be distracted by the beautiful scene of individuals from different cultures and creeds spilling out onto the sidewalk after unified and mindful reflection, church bells bidding them farewell and crying out over the city skyline. Others hurried past, business attire and distant thoughts keeping them from missing the beauty in that moment. Parents walking with their children, stopped to watch the portions of film showing the International Space Station and Ron Garan’s spacewalk, leaning over to explain to their tiny companions what they were seeing, pointing out the simple beautiful blue line of our atmosphere. Nearly every couple that I saw in the audience, at one point or another, leaned over to share a kiss, hold hands, or lean in to embrace one another, fulfilling a need to experience their connectedness to another in a very real way. The film was stirring and awakening an awareness of connectedness, or at least that was what I searching to see in that moment, and it was there in an abundance. I may have gotten choked up more than once during the screening, but it was dark, so no one saw to confirm.

Ripples-of-Hope-Garan-Quote-SCHWARK-300x300We live in a time when shortsightedness and soundbites often win out. We live in a time when quick fixes and rewards are standard. We live in a time when people and ideas are placed into boxes with labels, making it easy to turn one’s back at the ugliness that exists in the world because it is pushed it out of sight and and out of mind. But there, in that moment, it was the desire to be more and do more with our time here on earth that was nearly palpable. I’ve mentioned before how Ron Garan’s book, The Orbital Perspective, had resonated with me and this film is a beautiful compliment to the message and idea that we need to work together collaboratively if we truly intend on solving the most difficult challenges that our world faces today. Many times I have walked close to the line of pessimism when I think about how short sighted people have become, but then, I remember that there are others in this world who choose to see beauty, opportunities to connect and ways to think beyond the smallness, inspiring me to keep hope around a little longer.

For some, it takes practice to see the world this way. For some, they’ve been inundated with negativity that weighs them down. For some, life continues to hand them a tough lot to deal with time and time again. I have been blessed with things such as clean water, food, shelter and the freedom to obtain an education and knowledge. Compared to some, I don’t have much, but my focus is not on what is lacking, for you will always find something when you start to compare, but rather, what I have to be grateful for compared with so many others in the world. It’s time we embraced this idea that we are all of the same cloth, one humankind, one world. Challenge yourself to not just see both sides of a coin, but to feel the relief of the coin, touching each nick and divot and scar. Think about how each side of that coin was shaped and molded into its current form. Challenge yourself to see life not as a game to be won or lost, but rather a continuous series of cause and effect, cause and effect.

What is the effect that we, collectively, are working towards? Peace? The well being of humankind as a whole? Cohabiting in a world which we share alongside other species? Protection of our natural resources? An understanding of how to heal? A constant hunger to learn and grow and to explore? Or are we just living just to make it through another day, celebrating Fridays because we made it through another week? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to ever settle for less that what fills my heart. My heart and my soul is fueled by this passion to help others see what a beautiful world we have. I am fueled by a desire to help them understand their power within to fulfill their purpose.

When I come across resources to express these things, especially ones that combine beautiful visuals, personal stories and reflections, set to a score that is certain to make your blood pressure drop significantly, I’d be selfish not to share them with you, right? If you haven’t seen Planetary yet, you’re in luck. You can find the film right here: http://weareplanetary.com/ as well as Ron Garan’s book here: http://orbitalperspective.com/ Take time to think about just how connected (or disconnected) you are with one another.

I challenge you this weekend, to get out and experience nature. Breathe the air, and drink up the taste of Autumn teasing us as she inches nearer. Listen to the sound of water as she travels along the shore of a stream, or as the leaves dance in the breeze. Feel the warm sun on your face, and yes, touch the cool ground below. Look for insects and wildlife. Look up to the sky and watch the birds fly, the clouds move and when evening comes, look to the stars and feel small. Because… we are small and short-lived in this world, but how we choose to live our lives and where we choose to pour out our love can have an effect that reaches on and on into the future. As always, choose wisely, for there are generations growing up now and those still yet to be born that are depending upon you.
Planetary StreamingMuseum SCHWARK 2a

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