This past weekend seriously felt like the universe was out to get me. In small “ugh” moments like temporarily losing my cell phone for a half hour right before needing to leave for an appointment, spilling a water bottle in the driver seat five minutes into a 45 minute drive (sloshing around in wet jeans afterwards was good times), & forgetting where I parked my car and having to go from floor to floor searching for it to bigger “ahhhh” moments like dropping my $100 apartment key down the elevator shaft and feeling like I had undone everything positive I’d worked towards in the past year of my life in just 2 and a half days, this weekend was a disaster. That is until it ended with me randomly watching the documentary, “I am,” by director Tom Shadyac (http://www.iamthedoc.com/).
Watching “I am” was one of the most bizarre experiences of my life because I felt that everything I have ever believed, felt, thought, cared, & wondered about had just been manifested on screen in a short one hour and 16 minutes. It was the most powerful movie I’ve seen (“Waiting for Superman” & “Taare Zameen Par,” my all-time favourite Indian movie, are both films that had previously rocked my world) and I can say that “I am” is now my new all-time favourite. I enjoy your typical entertaining movies just as much as the next person, but the movies I have always really loved are either a testament to the human spirit, inspirational, challenge my way of thinking (or more importantly, my way of being) or some combination of the aforementioned.
This movie had it all, and I felt like it was the grand finale in what has been a year and a half long spiritual journey (post being laid off, two 2-month trips to India, doing the Landmark Forum, reading the works of Swami Vivekananda and other spiritual leaders, re-exploring the Bhagavad Gita, Mahabaratha & Vishnupuran, my nephew being born, moving from Chicago only to move back again & more) and “my being” in this world is forever changed after having watched it.
I know that’s a really big thing to say and you’re likely thinking “err… if there was a movie out there that could do that, why have I not heard of it before?” & my response to that is that you haven’t heard about it because most of us would rather be entertained than challenged… we’d rather be distracted from real life than actually have to think about it. Just like every “mega-hit” Bollywood movie is some absurdly dumb comedy (with an insanely hot “Item #” dance) and films with a message are either banned or are “super flops” in America, we’d also rather talk about how we’re so excited to see “Hangover 2″(I am seriously really excited!) than a film that makes us take pause and that holds us responsible for everything not only in our own lives but in the world. Whether it is poverty, hunger, war, hatred, terrorism, racism or any of other society’s evils, without imposing any blame, “I am” holds us each accountable.
Basically, along with the message that unless I am part of the solution, I am part of the problem, “I am,” challenges the beliefs that the more money you have, the happier you are… that in order for me to win, someone else has to lose… that the purpose of life is to be more, have more, be the best and have the best and most of all, that we are all separate. It reminds us that we, as individuals, are interconnected and not only powerful enough to make positive changes in our own lives but also in the world and that if we took all our individual power and put it to collective good use that we are fully capable of eradicating all the evils that plague our world…
“I am” makes you wrap your brain around things like in America, where 60% of the population is obese, no one should go to bed hungry and where 5-star resorts and hotel rooms that cost $5,000 a night exist, no one should be without a roof over their head… that in India, where one of the country’s most popular & wealthiest individuals, Shah Rukh Khan (non-Indians, think Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt), lives, the view from his balcony shouldn’t be a polluted beach and mini slum (check out this video that I took from my trip to Mumbai – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0M2dIn406Q – please ignore my odd accent & sing-songinessness!)… and most importantly that if any or all of the above bother us, that we have the power to change it and that we are responsible for changing it because whether it’s that slum, the pollution, the hunger, the lack of shelter, the tsunami or even 9-11, at some level, we caused all of it.
I know this is supposed to be a “dating blog” (although I did say that I would be writing about much more than just dating when I launched this new site) and I’m sure many of you who come to it for the related content are confused or displeased, but oddly enough, this movie was also very positive for me because it reminded me of why I am “still single” and why I am okay with it (if my Dad is reading this post, he is having serious heart palpitations right now – sorry Daddy!). Watching this film reminded me of everything that’s important to me and which because of, I will happily continue to be single until I meet someone who, more than “makes me happy, is 5’8″or taller, has so and so degree/job/income, would be a good provider/father,” or any of the other qualities and criteria that we all seem to be seeking in a partner, has good character and is a decent human being… who views the world with a similar kind of idealism that I do and feels some kind of responsibility to make a difference no matter how big or small… who sees himself in others and as a result, treats all people – irrespective of what they do or have – with respect and decency… whose purpose in life is not to simply acquire the most and best stuff… who I can have a soulful and spiritual connection with, learn from and most importantly, who inspires me to be a better person.
I know in the present day world that’s a whole lot to ask for and because of that, I might have a lot more of being single in my cards, but when it comes to a “life (one that can be both short & long) partner” that’s what I am looking for and I have no intention of settling for less than that (I am sure some friend or family member will plan a “are you out of your right mind?” intervention with me soon after this posting :-P)
Anyway, enough about me and back to “I am.” Watch the movie, and if you are a friend of mine who ends up watching it because of what I wrote here and if it makes zero impact on you, just let me know, and I will seriously Paypal your money back to you.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Mead