Looking back from the station, I imagined a world in which people set aside their differences and realize that each and every one of us is riding through the Universe together on this Spaceship we call Earth. They realize that because we are all interconnected, we are all in this together and because we are all family, the only way to solve the problems we all face is together. ~ Ron Garan, Astronaut
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ~ Maya Angelou
The Overview Effect is a powerful one, causing those few who venture into outer space to then experience their inner space in a much more profound way; seeing the planet from that very rare vantage point puts everything into perspective, not the least of which is how fragile, seamless and beautiful our Gaia truly is, and how now, more than ever, we need each other to survive. With our increasingly micro-focused obsession with frivolous and trivial mundane matters, it’s always a good idea for us to do the same, sans the spacesuit and shuttle.
And what better time of year to do so than now, a month of fresh starts and new beginnings, as we go back to school, perhaps eat apples and honey , and usher in a new season. In NYC this is also when world leaders come to town, replacing the fashion models and tennis fans for a more serious UN General Assembly, Clinton Global Initiative, Global Citizen Festival, and this year, a visit from none other than his humble holiness hailing from Vatican City – all ceremoniously gathering to solve the most pressing problems facing humanity.
It’s a time when change is in the air, not only from the crisp temps, multi-colored leaves and sweaters coming out of the closet, but even more palpable after a summer, or longer, when you probably experienced unexpected shifts, fundamental transition, major moves, and/or perhaps, like me and several friends of mine, the loss of loved ones.
Death and dying is an important theme that I have always thought about and express in my talks, but nothing makes it more real than to actually lose someone close to you and then interact in the world, in their world, without them, and on their behalf. And there is something quite primal about losing both parents, especially a mother, that activates a flesh and blood desire to be part of someone with the same DNA, the unsettling feeling of not having a direct tangible link to a very specific tribe or lineage. The challenge for us is to evolve beyond that, knowing that in fact, not just theory, we are each a part of the human tribe of Mother Earth and are all seeking community, connection, a feeling of safety and belonging, acceptance and being understood, regardless of where we come from, the color of our skin or the god we pray to.
When you think about how your life will be looked at and celebrated once you are gone, what will people say about you to your loved ones? How did you make them feel? What have you created? What material stuff have you left behind and who will benefit from or be burdened by it? The more we can start looking at our own lives with the overview effect, the more we can plan for our highest and best exit when the inevitable day arrives.
I have been blessed to increase my appreciation of and connection to my mom through those whose lives she touched, and embrace how others who expressed their sympathy to me but didn’t know her thought she must have been great because they are so impressed with and impacted by who I am. Because I have kept myself open and vulnerable, and allow myself to feel my feelings, I have deeply absorbed and sincerely integrated all the heartfelt sentiments coming my way (thanks to so many of you who reached out with your condolences!) The whole process has only reinforced to me that the most important thing on this journey is demonstrated love – experiencing and knowing you are thought of and cared for, and that you thought of and cared for others in whatever form it may take; that you exist and your existence matters.
One thing is for sure: We reap what we sow. And once you’re physically gone you’ve still left an imprint on this planet. What will you leave behind? What quality and quantity will the harvest of the fruits of your life yield? What intentions, thoughts and actions will you plant in people and on this planet today that will help make its inhabitants thrive and become more peaceful, loving and abundant? Remember, in order to have good crops you must begin with good seeds and soil – and it’s never to late to cultivate that which you want to grow.
Not sure how to Prepare for Liftoff? Give me a buzz and I’ll make sure you’re like John Glenn , ready to have a blast and make the most of your orbit, with or without gravity, and whether or not you relate more to being a farmer or a foreign delegate!
If you like what I write, you’ll love what I have to say in person! Click on above links for info about my coaching and speaking services and contact me today.
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