While this week has left many of us in a state of shock, feeling defeated and disheartened by the undeniable divide in our United States, it serves as a great reminder that we must always clear space in our hearts for hope and compassion.
This morning, a good friend of mine reminded me of a discussion we had over a year ago about the phenomenon that some astronauts experience called the “Overview Effect,” which refers to the cognitive shift that occurs when they see Earth in space. These astronauts describe a change in how they view the world — they realize the fragility of our planet within the endless universe and truly see it as a whole, claiming that “national boundaries vanish” and “the conflicts that divide us become less important.”
Although most of us won’t have the chance to explore space (be safe up there, Leo DiCaprio) the Overview Effect doesn’t have to remain just a romantic, far-off concept. We can still imagine and continue to hope for a unified future with two feet planted firmly on the ground. By creating unnecessary divides, we will continue to isolate ourselves from the opportunity to learn from and help one another.
We all see the world through our own complicated prism that is being continuously reshaped by experiences unique to each one of us. If we make an effort to chip away at our biases and create a new angle through which to look, we can hope to shift our perspective and shed new light on the situations we face.
Let’s look up and remember that we are all on this tiny planet together. We can each do our part to respect, love, and try to understand each other. We exist in turbulent times, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hope for change, stability, and unity. I am choosing to try to look at the bigger picture and move forward with optimism. Join me?