on monday night i saw a window of opportunity to truly charge my “alone” batteries. there was a little indie film playing at the local art house and i could see my way clear to take a few hours away. can i just tell you? i LOVE going to movies by myself. i realize that i have to acknowlege that the reason i love this experience is that i have not yet fully learned how to be with another and allow myself to have my own experience while they are having theirs. what that looks like in this setting is that when i choose a little art film, which i don’t know anything about, i would constantly be checking in with myself to see if my movie mate was “enjoying” the evening.
i usually give little thought to how i feel because i am so concerned about providing the perfect experience to my friend. but on these rare nights when i can carve out some time for myself, what happens is magical for me. i typically float into the theater just a few moments before the show starts, i make eye contact with everyone i encounter (just because i’m sooooo happy to be there) and i collect whatever refreshments my little heart desires in the moment. i waltz (well saunter, really) into the screening area and choose a seat near the front. i know — the BEST viewing is not in the front of the theater, but the best “cathy experience” is almost always achieved from this location. I literally tuck into my seat and await my evening. if i have timed it right — and on monday i did, the movie trailers begin as i put the first pieces of popcorn in my mouth.
through this particular outing the thing that has stayed with me was the overarching narrative of the film i saw. it had a continuing voice over of Carl Sagan’s “Pale Blue Dot.” because i knew very little about this particular piece of work, i was compelled on tuesday to look it up and i am soooooo very glad i did. there is a long, popular “quote” from his entire book that has served to “right size me.” here it is:
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
― Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
i’ve shared my enthusiasm for this writing with a couple of people and am feeling deep connection to humanity and my own life force today. i love that inspiration comes in so many forms and all i need do is OPEN.