It’s rare that my New Year’s resolutions “stick.” In fact, I’ve practically given up making them. But this amazing 9-minute movie by Louie Schwartzberg has me thinking about the new year in a different way. His movie has me wondering how often we show our best selves to the world. If you’re like me, it’s not often enough. All too often, I am more consumed with petty worries, fears, and concerns that take my mind off the present and close me off to beauty, wonder, and other people. Perhaps, like me, those rare moments of gratitude, of beauty, of joy circle through your mind from time to time. Perhaps, like me, your moments still have the power to make you pause. Perhaps, even in your distant memories, those moments still fill your chest with a singular feeling of wonder, of joy. Perhaps you were running on a country road on a spring morning in the rain, and the smell of new grass filled the air with the promise of summer. Or perhaps, you were standing hand-in-hand with someone you love on a beach at sunrise, the waves curling around your feet. Or perhaps you were holding your brand-new son or daughter, marveling over the perfection of every finger, every toe. Did you in these moments, pause in wonder and gratitude and murmur, “Oh, my God?” Do you think of these moments as rare and precious gifts?
As we end one year and begin a new one, I have watched Louie Schwartzberg’s 9-minute movie a half dozen times. In it, Louie, a filmmaker who specializes in time lapse imagery, gives us a preview of his latest film project “Happiness Revealed,” an exquisite and awe-inspiring tribute to nature, human kind, and the gifts we can all receive every day–if we only open our eyes and hearts to others and to nature. And so, my resolution this year is to follow Louie’s advise and try, as often as I can, to sweep the detritius of worry, impatience, fear, and anger from my mind and face each day with an open mind and heart. To paraphrase the wonderfully wise older man in this film, if we approach the new day in this way, our joy and gratitude will flow from ourselves to others through our “eyes, smile, touch, and (our) presence.”