Growing older after breast cancer is such an amazing gift. I often wonder if everyone begins pondering life’s beauty and mystery with the same intensity as they age. It’s easy to think that, because I’ve dealt with my mortality a bit earlier than someone who hasn’t had breast cancer, I might tend to be more introspective, more interested in why we are here. I always find it encouraging when I see or hear something that tells me there are people all over the world seeking the answers to life’s often impenetrable mysteries simply because it gives their existence more meaning.
I happened to see Tom Shadyac on a talk show several months ago talking about his documentary movie, I Am. Tom is the comedian, writer and director who brought us the likes of Bruce Almighty; Liar, Liar; and Ace Ventura. After suffering a head injury while biking, his life took a dramatic turn. Although he’d been contemplating life’s bigger questions for some time (which is evident even in some of his movies), his injury put him on a more serious quest.
The result is his film, I Am. Essentially, it explores human connectedness, happiness and the human spirit. Tom and his film crew interviewed scientists, religious leaders, environmentalists and philosophers in an attempt to get a glimpse of the bigger picture. He posed the question, what’s wrong with the world and what can we do about it?
I think most of us have pondered this same question. I sometimes have moments when I am so overwhelmed with the problems we face in today’s world that I actually wonder why I fought so hard to live. I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of seeing worst-case scenarios played out endlessly on the news, or in television programs, or even when I overhear people talking.
Once, while I was undergoing chemotherapy and having a particularly difficult time of it, I went into my backyard to sit in the sun and sort of regroup. I distinctly recall being overwhelmed by the beauty that surrounded me in that quiet setting. I remember being moved to tears by the sheer intensity of how astounding a leaf was with the sun creating shadows and light on its surface. The green was breathtaking. I held the leaf close to my face and inhaled its essence. I can still feel how cool and soothing it was on my cheek. In that moment I felt so connected to all living things. I couldn’t tell where I stopped and the leaf began. I understood we truly were one and the same.
And that’s sort of what watching I Am did for me. It was a gentle reminder of our connectedness. If you haven’t seen it, you should. Not everyone will feel (or need) the same connection I did, but I do think it will serve to remind anyone that we truly are all in this together, and one easy step to making things better is to step back and marvel at the natural world we live in.
What a great time to hold onto this loving concept, as we move into the coming warm summer months. This time of year provides us with so many opportunities to let the sun shine in our hearts, thoughts and actions.
Have you ever had a moment of clarity and connectedness like this? I’d love to hear about it.