“Tragedy is what gets our attention,” says Tom Chi, as he addressed the crowd on opening night of the 5th annual Illuminate Film Festival in Sedona AZ. We know how often this is true.
Tom Chi is co-star of the film chosen to set the tone for the opening night. Live Your Quest, a film about directing our focus, settling into our purpose and becoming the best version of ourselves. Tom is an innovator and founding team member at Google X. He is an out of the box thinker committed to action. He teaches people at all levels of involvement how to innovate quickly and how to bring the necessary tools to the people working on the solutions to the world’s most important problems. In addition to the work he as done on groundbreaking projects at Google including self-driving cars and Google glass, Tom is working with people around the globe on solar electrification, basic health care, micronutrients and creating access to clean water. Tom has tuned into the state of our planet, he has taken personal responsibility to inspire change for the betterment of life for all of us.
As the world’s premier film festival for conscious cinema, Illuminate explores a range of stories with the potential to ignite our spirits. A hallmark of this conscious media festival is with every problem presented, solutions are also explored. Ideas for what we as individuals can do today, right now, are presented. The theme that emerged for this year’s festival is the “hero’s journey.” Danette Wolpert, founder and director of this festival, and her dream team invite us to look within to find the power and the gifts inextricably a part of the human spirit. They encourage us to use our amazing potential as human beings to create lasting change.
Years ago, I began to recognize the dramatic and deleterious effects of so many widely accepted practices on our basic health and the health of our planet, I could feel my heart break. I invited myself to look deeper. As I became more aware, I could see clearly how our indiscriminate use of plastics is bogging up our oceans and our waterways. How our deep reliance on fossil fuels has created challenges for our Earth, the sky and all who live here. Our investment in factory farming has created deep imbalances in our soil and the atmosphere. We are hearing more and more about the long-term impact of our behavior and the serious mess we are creating. This includes but is not limited to life-threatening health issues, shortages of clean air and water, and the depletion of the nutritional value of the foods we love. But is knowing about these things enough to compel us to action?
Tom Chi made it simple as he engaged the audience after the film for “Reel Healing.” Reel healing, another powerful part of the festival each year, often offers an opportunity to hear from those committed to taking the lead in creating a more compassionate and sustainable world. During this segment on opening night, Tom asks the audience what our primary concerns are in the world today. Voices rose up from around the theatre, issues involving our expanding population, government controls, endangered species, education, elder care to name just a few. To all of these, Tom responded with an invitation to each of us to look within, to cultivate our “response-ability.” What moves you? Then ask ourselves, what action can I take now to make a difference?
This is a time for each of us to be the hero in our own lives and the lives of those around us, to look and to feel, to recognize the issues and call ourselves to action. Together we can create the world we would like to see.