New Castle News

October 17, 2013

Tim Kolodziej: No defying ‘Gravity,’ but we sure can learn from it

Tim Kolodziej
New Castle News


That’s it.

That’s all I had.

That’s all I could muster at that moment.

We had sat, transfixed, for just over 90 minutes at that point. Though the credits continued to roll, I wasn’t quite sure if I should leave my seat in the theater.

I glanced at my daughter.

“What did you think, Dad?”

“Wow,” I responded.




If it’s still a bit unclear whether or not I liked the movie “Gravity,” I did. A lot.

In fact, it was unlike anything I had witnessed before. If you want to get an impressive glimpse at what it would be like to travel into space, go see it.

But be warned — it’s not for everyone. It’s intense. Really, really intense.

You will rock. You will roll. You will feel the G-force inside the space capsules and you will feel hopelessly out of control when the astronauts are “walking” through space.

You will laugh just enough to relieve some of the pressure.

And you’ll cry enough to remind yourself that those who risk their lives by soaring hundreds of miles from the earth are real people with real families who face real issues at home, too.

Just don’t expect to catch your breath during this thrill ride. “Gravity” was created to take your breath away.

You will be jolted more than once. You will be confused a couple of times but don’t worry, it will clear up soon after.

You will be overcome by the majestic “view” of Earth.

But mostly you will be amazed.

Especially when you realize that just two actors appear in the entire film. And maybe — maybe — 90 seconds of the plot takes place on Earth.

If you haven’t seen “Gravity” and plan to go, here are three quick pieces of advice:

•Find the biggest screen you can with the best sound system. And spend the extra couple of dollars for the 3-D technology. You won’t regret it.

•Don’t waste your money on popcorn or drinks. Seriously. Within seconds of the film starting, the last thing you’ll want to do is eat or drink.

•Don’t down a lot of coffee before entering the theater. Did I mention the film is intense? If you’re prone to a rapid heartbeat and get a bit freaked out over heights, you won’t want to add to the anxiety with caffeine.

That said, “Gravity” is a film that will stick with you long after you leave the cineplex. There are dozens of life lessons we can siphon from this fantastic piece of cinema, but for time’s sake, I’ve narrowed the list to five, based on dialogue in the movie.

5 ...

“It’s not rocket science” — That was a joke, obviously, from astronaut Matt Kowalski, played by George Clooney. He was trying to lighten the mood for his anxious partner, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock.)

Our lesson: What Kowalski said is true. The things we love to do — the gifts we love to use — often just FLOW. While we marvel at the talents others possess (“I could NEVER travel into space”), you can be sure that others are watching you and feeling the same way. If I would attempt to be a contractor tomorrow, that would be rocket science. If I would try to be a computer programmer or an accountant next week, more rocket science. For those of you with that calling, it just feels right. It’s a gift. Only you know what your sweet spots are. Please continue to receive your gifts gratefully and share them generously. We’re all better for it.

4 ...

 “It’s gonna be one helluva ride” — That was from Stone, who was preparing for a trip back home after chaos ensued in space.

Our lesson: Life really can be a thrill ride, you know. Boring is a choice. So is average and mundane. But you and I have the power, the resources and the opportunities to create a life of adventure each day. Not sure how? Start small. Take a different route to work. Enroll in a class. Try to make contact with someone you really admire. Stop asking the question, “What do I want to do?” Instead, ask yourself, “What do I REALLY want to do?” Then do it.

3 ...

 “Clear skies with a chance of debris” — Seriously. Isn’t that EVERY day for us? Things are moving along smoothly, almost too smoothly, and — bang! — out of nowhere your ship is struck by debris from a meteor. Thanks for the reminder, Dr. Stone.

Our lesson: Keep focusing on the process. Our lives often go haywire when we stress over potential outcomes. We often have no control over those outcomes, but we always control the steps it takes to get there. We can’t dodge ALL of the space junk. When we get hit, we must take the blow, grab hold of the controls and steer the capsule back toward our destination.

2 ...

 “I never get tired of this view” — The wise-cracking Kowalski became the voice of reason as he uttered that line while gazing pensively at Mother Earth. But he got me thinking.

Our lesson: Which view do I see each day? Problems or solutions? Frustrations or opportunities? Do I pause from my busy schedule long enough to be overwhelmed by the beauty of fall foliage? By the laughter of my children. Of savoring a quiet meal with my wife. The joy of coaching young people and, as I write this, the gift of communication. When we truly stop to ponder it all, the view really is quite impressive. But we have to open our eyes and look for it.


“You have to learn to let go” —
Without spoiling the movie for you, that morsel of wisdom from Kowalski occurred during a pivotal moment where Stone realizes she can’t cling to both life AND death. The clock was ticking. She had to choose.

Our lesson: Our lives are simply layers of “letting go” so our true selves can blossom — from something as deep and heavy as a miserable childhood to something as shallow as a loss by our favorite sports team. In order to truly live — not just existing but abundant living — sometimes we have to release the tether to what binds us to the past. We must live in the present. We must focus all our attention on “the now.” Sure, it’s OK to look back and grab some courage from a previous success, but all too often we try to soar while gazing at the ground below.

If that’s the case, gravity will always keep us earthbound.

Now it’s time to defy it.

It’s time to let go, buckle up for the ride of our lives, play our own unique roles on the crew and savor the wondrous views all around us.

Ready for liftoff?

Me, too.

I hear the view is spectacular.