American Beauty

1/23/2010  2:20pm

The title sounds so cliche, but the movie’s content is anything but.  I am watching American Beauty and realize it profoundly affected the way I think.  Then when I get to the “plastic floating bag” scene where Ricky is showing Jan the most beautiful thing he ever filmed–a plastic grocery bag and Fall leaves are being blown around in cyclone of wind in the corner of two brick walls–and I realize that what keen observation of things we see all the time but don’t look for, is beautifully rewarding and calming (the American Beauty screen writer described the scene so ellogquentally as “just a minute away from a snowfall”), because it shows us the beauty in the common things.

Don’t Buddhists practice this philosophy of life, whereby they are keen to everything, from simple color to the presence of grass or the shade provided by trees.

Passing Strange

You might want to seriously consider ordering the DVD of this Spike Lee-directed film featuring the award-winning Broadway rock musical of the same title.   It was an incredible performance of an intensely human and well written production.   Tip: watch through to the very end…the encore and audience reaction seals the deal.    Learn more about the production and how to pre-order a DVD on the production’s website.

Into The Wild

To deny the reaction I experienced to this movie, would be an act of dismissal against myself.

Sean Penn and Eddie Vedder–through the imagery and soundtrack–made this story come alive in ways that made tears come to my eyes and goose bumps cover my body, throughout the movie. 

I guess this movie has helped me understand my love of nature and the outdoors, and some of my frustrations.   Interacting with nature’s beautiful collection of elements and enduring in its challenges have made me feel a deeper connection to life that I have not found elsewhere.    Nature does not exagerate; it simply is and we know its indiscriminate power.  I wish life were as fair as nature is.

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it is how you react that matters

I think bad stuff happens to everyone, and that how one reacts to an unfortunate situation is more important in the long run than the circumstance of situation the person has at least indirectly gotten themselves into.   Here, I am referring to life situations that do not warrant falling into mental depression because they do not involve some kind of life or death scenario affecting directly, you, or someone very close to you.

When we find ourselves in challenging situations, do we stand tall, as if wholly cognizant of life’s big picture, or do we fall into mental depression?    And, isn’t strength of character one of the most important things by which we measure the people we want in our lives?    And, maybe we are smart for measuring this quality in other people because we know on a subconscious level, the people with this quality are good to have around.   Maybe we know that people, who are willing to take risks and learn from their failed attempt(s) to achieve a specific goal, are not only interesting and fun to be around, but that these people will be successful in a variety of arenas. 

Take for example the situation of an entrepreneur who started a company that has recently gone out of business.   The entrepreneur can look at the situation as a learning experience or simply a failure.

The takeaway

The moment when one feels like crumbling under the pressure of an event that–in the big scheme of things–does not call for such a reaction, is exactly when you cannot afford to crumble.  Not only because you risk spiraling out of control into depression, but because other people are watching, and nobody wants be around people who cannot handle the messes life throws at us or–especially–the messes we get ourselves into.