The other day I caught the last episode of “One Strange Rock” narrated by Will Smith.
It’s a 10-part cinematic series exploring the fragility and wonder of planet Earth. Shown to be one of the most peculiar, unique places in the universe, it really delves into this beautiful planet. There are eight astronauts who provide unique perspectives and relate personal memoirs of the planet seen from a distance.
By the way, if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It left me feeling hopeful and optimistic about our planet and the human race, which is rare in our culture of “disaster” driven television.
The thing is, there was something powerful about the experience of the astronauts living out on the international space station. Looking down at our planet for the first time and flushed with a feeling that most of them said was so powerful that the words to describe the experience do not exist.
They also left space with the deep realization that they were no longer just citizens of where they came from.
Most of us describe ourselves as being from a town, a state, school, religion, or country. Our identity is wrapped up in the experience we have had.
I’m a New Yorker.
I’m a Harvard Graduate.
Most of the time when we identify ourselves in this way we are setting ourselves apart. Separating ourselves from the rest of the world. We find other people with a similar identity and we can relate to them… we have something in common.
What is interesting about this phenomenon, is when someone travels and stays somewhere for a while, they may adopt a new identity. Someone who travels the world starts to identify themselves as a person of the world.
For the astronauts, they were literally out of this world. They experienced something that not many of us will be able to imagine, a sense of looking at the whole planet and saying “There is my home”.
No walls, no borders, no race, no color, no gender, and no real separate identity… Just human beings living on a rock hurdling through space.
I think that is beautiful, and the words “One Shared Place” hit me in the chest and almost brought me to tears. So I created a tee shirt that I’ll be able to look at and wear to remind me of what is reality.
There are so many excuses that we use to set ourselves apart from one another, sometimes it is to give us a sense of being better than someone else.
But, we all came from the same place, we share the same place, we will die in the same place… The Earth.
We are all human beings, anything else used to describe us is only based on walls that we built in our own heart.