There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. -Edith WhartonToday I want to give you a gift of light at this dark time of year. And this time, I'm not talking about candles. I'm talking about human brilliance.
I am immensely grateful for the technology that makes it so easy to connect, inspire, and bring more light into our world. I was moved to start this blog while floating in my kayak in the middle of the river feeling profound peace and at-one-ment and wishing I could bottle the feeling and give it freely to everyone to make the world a better place. The closest I can come is images and words. I believe each of us has the responsibility to let our own light shine in the world to the best of our ability and to spread the light of those who have inspired us.
I love seeing the different ways in which human beings shine and am endlessly amazed and inspired by the ideas people come up with when they think outside of the box and use their unique voices to express their light. Today I'd like to share with you some remarkable videos that have truly uplifted my spirit, in hopes they will have a similar effect on you. You can view each of the videos by simply clicking the links below.
The first is an exquisite video about nature, beauty, and gratitude by Louie Schwartzberg and narrated by Brother David Steindl-Rast. Do yourself a favor, and watch this one:
Louie Schwartzberg: Gratitude
*Note that the video begins at 3:30, but Schwartzberg's introduction is also well worth watching.
Schwartzberg's short films are truly inspired and often feature absolutely stunning time-lapse nature photography. To view more of his films, explore his Moving Art channel on YouTube:
Louie Schwartzberg on YouTube
"The Beauty of Pollination" is another of my favorite Schwartzberg films.
Earlier this year, I watched a mesmerizing film called Baraka that is essentially a guided visual meditation completely devoid of dialogue and commentary. The following short film, which is lovely and uplifting in itself, is comprised of a narration by Vietnamese Buddhist monk and teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, and images from Baraka and two other movies (Home and Earth):
The Great Bell Chant (The End of Suffering)
Most recently, I was awestruck by a video about an orchestra in Cateura, Paraguay in which all the musicians play instruments made from trash:
Landfill Harmonic Video
The video speaks profoundly to the power of music and creativity. A feature-length documentary, Landfill Harmonic, is in the process of being made about this "recycled orchestra."
Finally, I offer a full-length documentary called Garbage Warrior that is available online in its entirety. Probably my favorite documentary, it is about New Mexican eco architect, Michael Reynolds, and his fight to create green, off-the-grid, self-sufficient communities of "earthship biotecture." This is the story of a brilliant person who, in Gandhi's words, works to be the change he wishes to see in the world and learns that his only hope of bringing about meaningful change is to become part of the very system that oppresses what he is all about. This is a dynamic to which I relate strongly, and his story gives me energy and hope - along with the desire to live in one of his "earthship" homes.
Garbage Warrior on YouTube
In case anyone is open to suggestions for a movie night, here is my list of feature-length movies that I have experienced as especially worthwhile and inspiring:
- Tree of Life
- The Way
- Local Color
- Travellers and Magicians (Bhutanese film)
- Nosey Parker
- Shortcut to Nirvana (documentary about the Kumbh Mela festival in India)
- The Namesake
- Ten Questions for the Dalai Lama
- Between the Folds (stunning documentary about origami)
- The Shift (with Dr. Wayne Dyer)
- Field of Dreams
- Off the Map
- Rumi - Turning Ecstatic
- Searching for Sugarman
Although I generally am not a fan of movies with battle sequences, the following two have enough spirit and substance to include them on my list:
- Cloud Atlas (multi-genre)
- Avatar (science fiction)
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