The loyalty, devotion and love of our four-legged canine friends is nearly always undeniable. They’re there when we need them, offering us compassion, empathy and lots of licks, the kinds of qualities and gestures that can lift our spirits and make our days a little more bearable, even under the worst of conditions. In fact, such treatment might easily lead us to believe that they’re something more than just furry, little tail-wagging companions, almost as if they’re angels in disguise.
Contrary to popular belief, experiencing the breadth and power of the divine is not something necessarily limited to civil, sedate, well-mannered, rigidly choreographed rituals conducted in ornate indoor settings by individuals decked out in costumes not unlike what one would find in a Las Vegas floor show. Rather, in its purest state, it’s more of a wild, untamed force that unleashes its raw, unrestrained energy in potent, unexpected ways that often leave witnesses awestruck as to its sheer magnitude and expression, particularly in natural surroundings. It’s not exactly what most of us were taught in Sunday school or what we heard in sermons from the pulpit.
All things eventually come to an end, whether we’re ready for it or not. We may not like what we see, either, especially if we’re troubled by what’s on the horizon. We might even feel like there’s more that we could or should have done to forestall what’s unfolding while we had the chance, opportunities that slipped through our fingers and are unlikely to come again. But sometimes destiny has a way of intervening, giving us another unexpected shot at realizing our aspirations and perhaps even making a meaningful difference.
Where do we turn when the bottom falls out? That’s difficult enough at any age, but what is one to do when going through an impressionable time of life, such as adolescence? The coming of age considerations that teens face are often burdensome enough in themselves. However, when they’re compounded by a significant loss, starting over may seem impossible.
When we think of the concept of “family,” we most often consider it as something made up of those with whom we’re developed our closest bonds. This has traditionally been built on a basis of biology, but, over time, we’ve seen that change. And, in some cases, it’s become something that may arise as a result of unexpected circumstances, sometimes exceedingly unfathomable ones.
It’s quite something when an event happens that captures the world’s attention. Unfortunately, it usually involves some form of natural or manmade disaster or the death of a prominent figure. But then there are times when occurrences take place that collectively captivate us, bringing out the compassion and humanity in us all and frequently producing miraculous results.
When life doesn’t pan out as we hoped and believed it would, it can be disillusioning, if not devastating. It can even lead to tremendous strain among those who thought they could count on one another when it came to living up to expectations. Such exchanges can turn into seemingly irreparable estrangements filled with bitterness and no hope of reconciliation. But need that be the case?
It’s easy to dismiss certain possibilities as being wholly impossible. But, as life has often shown us, that’s patently lazy, unimaginative thinking. The seemingly implausible can indeed occur with a little adjustment in outlook (and, of course, the accompanying logistics).
“The New Bauhaus” (2019 production, 2020 release). Cast: Interviews: Olafur Eliasson, Elizabeth Siegel, Joyce Tsai, Robin Schuldenfrei, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Hattula Moholy-Nagy, Barbara Kasten. Archive Material: László Moholy-Nagy, Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, Walter Gropius. Director: Alysa Nahmias. Screenplay: Alysa Nahmias and Miranda Yousef. Web site. Trailer. A Chinese fortune cookie I once cracked open imparted a simple but inspiring message, “There is no greater joy than creation.” Those words have stayed with me for years, and I’m always moved when I see comparable sentiments expressed through other means. And, in that vein, a recently released film echoes that notion through a portrait of an individual whose calling epitomizes that very idea, the central figure profiled in the engaging new documentary, “The New [...]
“The Peanut Butter Falcon” (2019). Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, Zack Gottsagen, John Hawkes, Bruce Dern, Thomas Haden Church, Jon Bernthal, Yelawolf, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Mick Foley, Wayne DeHart, Bruce Henderson. Directors: Tyler Nilson and Mike Schwartz. Screenplay: Tyler Nilson and Mike Schwartz. Web site. Trailer. How many of us are living truly fulfilled lives? Do we approach our existence with all-out gusto and a willingness to pursue our dreams? Or are we restricted by rules, regulations, fears and regrets – many of our own making – that keep us from fulfilling our potential? Sometimes it takes breaking out of rigid, ingrained patterns of thought and behavior that prevent us from getting the most out of our time in [...]