Totally awesome redefined

I’m a girl who grew up in the totally awesome eighties, so it’s taken time for me to integrate the word awesome into my system with an emphasis on awe. But as I am awakening more to the magic in my life and in the world around me, I’m finding it necessary to rethink, “awesome.”

I processed this realization as I watched a trailer of an upcoming film in which astronauts describe what many of them say was the life-changing experience of viewing Earth from space.  Shuttle/ISS Astronaut Nicole Stott (who looks more or less my generation) says, “Awe is one of those words that you have a better understanding of once you see [what the planet looks like.]  I felt like using the word awesome was totally appropriate.”

(OVERVIEW from Planetary Collective on Vimeo.)

Listening to the interviews with the astronauts, combined with commentary from philosophers, made me think that a trip to space would be a suitable prerequisite for all youth entering adulthood. What if, instead of going to college or the military, human beings first shot up to space, gazed out at our collectiveness on this planet, and wrote a poem or a song? What if they curated a photo exhibit or painted a picture or choreographed a dance or just simply wept with understanding and wrote an essay called, “What I did on my summer vacation in space?”

Astronaut Edgar Mitchell may have been the most impacted by his experience viewing our civilization from above. Back on Earth, he later formed a non-profit institute that researches meditation, consciousness, and human potential. Mitchell says in the film trailer:

“That’s a powerful experience, to see Earth rise over the surface [of the Moon].   But instead of being an intellectual experience, it was a personal feeling… accompanied by a sense of joy and ecstasy, which caused me to say ‘What is this?’ It was only after I came back that I did the research and found that the term in ancient Sanskrit was Samadhi.”

I highly recommend watching this powerful trailer and then letting me know what was awe-inspiring for you today. For me, it was a dream I had last night that came true a little today; it was a work opportunity that appeared at the perfect time; it was a song I hadn’t heard in 18 years but appropriately so since it only suited me today.

Some say there was a shift in consciousness that took place in 1968 once humans got a glimpse of the planet from space. And that this shift is ongoing today.

“This view of the Earth from space — the whole earth perspective — is the true symbol of this age and i believe what will happen is there is going to be a greater interest in communicating this idea because, after all, it’s key to our survival. We have to start acting as one species with one destiny. We are not going to survive if we don’t.”  — Frank White, author, The Overview Effect

 

 

I’m a little obsessed with time travel, are you?

I love playing with the idea of time travel.

I’m not a quantum physicist. In fact, attempting to wrap my brain around the quantum physics aspects of time travel gives me such a headache I have to read a Danielle Steel novel to make it go away.

So instead of trying to understand the science behind time travel, I watch movies, read books, and write about time travel from an artist’s perspective. How writing letters to your younger self is almost a multi-dimensional portal waiting to be entered, and how reading poems you wrote as a child is like opening a window to the past.

From the view of an almost 40 year old woman who can still smell spaghetti sauce boiling in a pot in her childhood home when she closes her eyes and really tries, time travel is this easy. It’s the second step in a yet-unproven three-step process.

1. Dress up in period clothes.

2. Imagine yourself there.

3. Lock yourself in a dark room with a cassette tape playing over and over again, “This is 1987. You are now in 1987. When you leave this room you will see 21 Jump Street on the tv and the latest issue of Teen magazine on the kitchen counter. You will be madly in love with Matt Heitzer. Suzanne is leaving a message on your answering machine. It is 1987. You are now in 1987.”

This is, at least, how the Christopher Reeve character in Somewhere in Time goes back in time to meet a long-dead woman he’s obsessed with (played by Jane Seymour). And frankly, it always seemed the most likely way for time travel to work.

somewhere in time

(Up until today, I always thought the movie was loosely based on the story Time and Again by Jack Finney. But it’s not. The main characters use a similar process to get back in time in both stories, but the guy in Finney’s book puts a lot more effort into his preparation. He’s trained by the U.S. military for the project, in fact, and therefore, his time travel success is a lot more believable.)

The common overlap between my time travel theory and practice, and those of the quantum physicists’, I firmly believe, is that both are indeed possible, but have not yet been pulled off successfully.

I think the reason why so many of us are obsessed with time travel is not because of it’s magical-like inaccessibility; not because we are imaginative children longing to explore cities and places far off and forgotten; not because we are approaching middle age and overwrought by nostalgia and an urge to fix our past mistakes.

But because we understand somewhere deep down that time travel is possible and we are only one tiny step away from realizing it.

Like a fog-covered windshield, we need just to wipe away the moisture to see clearly where we are going and how to get there.