Lessons from Pandora

My husband was dying to see Avatar. He worked hard to find an open night and a babysitter so we could be gone for a full three hours.

I heard the rave reviews and I watched James Cameron pick up two Golden Globes, but I still wasn’t excited. The action genre is not really my thing. But even without interest in the movie, I am always interested in a date with my husband, so off we went.

We find great seats and I am digging my 3-D glasses. As previews roll I daydream about taking a nap at some point during the movie, but as Avatar unfolds I am surprised by my response.

I spend the majority of the movie in an intense state of awareness and tears. Sometimes light tears and at times heaving sobs that necessitated hugs from my husband. Avatar moved me in a way that I have not experienced in a long time.

I was touched by the Na’vi connection to nature. I nodded along as Neytiri taught Jake to hunt respectfully and then thank the animal for giving its life to sustain ours. The Na’vi understand the connection between themselves and the forest of Pandora; they know that nature needs to be honored because we are all connected to the same energy.

Toward the end Jake talks to Eywa, the great Na’vi spirit of mother nature, and mentions that our planet “killed our mother.” I found myself taking deep breaths at the truth of it all.

And that gigantic breathtaking tree — I was beside myself about the fate of that tree. The “evil” characters in this movie were a bit overplayed (unbelievably disregarding), but the essential truth is that we have a history of taking what doesn’t belong to us and a history of expecting others to act like us.

The lessons of our past mistakes are only helpful if we decide to remember them.

I was most sentimental about the Na’vi definition of “I see you.” It’s very similar to the Sanskrit word Namaste, a salutation that is commonly used during yoga. It is difficult to accurately translate Sanskrit, but to me the meaning is, the spirit in me sees the spirit in you. Or the light in me sees the light in you. Or, for you Star Wars fans, the force in me feels the force in you.

It is the simple way of saying, I know my beauty and I see your beauty, too. Unfortunately, our culture is challenged by this. We have a tendency towards self loathing and personal judgment which eventually results in loathing and judgment of others.

Like many parents, I want to teach my children to see themselves. Regardless of physical beauty, achievements, or things, I want them to know they are worthy simply because they are here. I want to support them as they discover their gifts and realize their potential.

To teach this I have to practice it. Do I love myself? Do I see my light? Do I cherish my gifts? I know at a soul level that this is the first step toward teaching my children.

Embracing my light helps me see their light. It is the most sacred parenting work, and the most challenging.

I continue to cry on the car ride home as I share my deep thoughts and revelations with my husband. As always he listens, makes eye contact and nods in all the right places.

Five minutes from home I finally asked him what he thought – he responds with, I think we saw two different movies.

This brings me back to reality and I start to laugh. Of course he enjoyed the movie, but my analyzing and emotional intensity is in contrast to my husband’s straightforward style. I need this balance and this is one of the many reasons I am thankful for my husband. He “sees” me and he knows it is important for me to process the many lessons from Pandora.

But with his gentle humor he has a subtle way of reminding me to keep my feet firmly planted on Earth.

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