On Thursday, December 15, 2016 the lights went down within the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. What followed was a miracle of sorts. In the darkness, light was suddenly projected upon the structure’s iconic spiral rotunda – 5 stories high – and the central gallery floor filled with healthcare CEO’s from around the globe fell awe-struck and mesmerized by nature’s beauty, filmed by Louie Schwartzberg. For some, this was an epiphany – the first time they had witnessed visual healing in action.
We’ve captured the event as Louie’s New Year’s gift to you in this video below. Find a quiet place to rest for 5 minutes and let it reveal itself to you. See if you are not filled with hope, resilience and gratitude.
A New Year Message of Hope, Resilience & Gratitude
5 minute visual healing meditation
Underwater cinematography credit: Howard Hall
This sold-out STIR event was hosted by Experience Lab, a new offering from Advisory Board dedicated to transforming every aspect of the health care experience from the inside out. It’s what they call “Big E Experience”–creating meaningful and memorable experiences for and with team members, providers, patients, and guests–because they believe everyone’s experience matters.
STIR is an example of a growing movement of individuals and organizations creating powerful opportunities to connect, unite and persevere during what many are calling a dark time. These events are gaining momentum at a time when we are thirsty for hope, looking for inspiration to strengthen our resilience, and asked to have faith in lightness over darkness.
Last year, on Christmas Eve, Louie had a similar life-altering moment, when his work was projected upon the Vatican. Light streamed nature’s treasures upon this precious monument. Louie, a son of Holocaust survivors, stood in wonder and awe, tears silently falling upon his cheek, knowing this moment proved lightness will always win over darkness. His heart was filled with gratitude.
Gratitude Revealed sat down with Louie to quietly ponder a year that had been book-ended with two similarly epic events.
Q&A With Louie Schwartzberg
GR: What was it like to shine light upon the Guggenheim rotunda?
Louie Schwartzberg: It felt extremely “hope-full.” Whether at the Vatican or the Guggenheim, or UCSD’s ground-breaking New Jacobs Medical Center which is shining a light on health care so that people who are suffering may receive a little bit of compassion and nature’s energy as part of their healing process, I couldn’t help but feel this year like we were shining a little bit of light into the darkness.
GR: How did this event come to be?
Louie Schwartzberg: Sonia Rhodes, of the Advisory Board Company ran up to me at the TED event this year and said, “Oh my God, you’re the Gratitude Guy. I’ve been showing the Gratitude video to thousands of healthcare workers.” She actually made this event happen, for which I’m tremendously grateful. This year has been filled with a number of incredible presentations – the Global Wellness Summit, Summit at Sea, Nature Conservancy, and others. They all share a common idea of hope in the face of darkness and fear.
This feels like a pivotal time in history with regard to technology and healthcare. We are discovering incredible breakthroughs with technology and creativity and art and evolved consciousness. When change must happen, there’s always going to be some resistance from the establishment, and it is painful, whether it’s the ’60s or the French Revolution, or Galileo or Copernicus. Any time there’s a new worldview, there are people opposed to it. That’s the reality we’re in right now. The way to overcome it is to shine light and truth. Copernicus was right. We revolve around the sun. We are not the center of the universe. We all must be vigilant and resilient, and we can’t be in despair.
The exciting challenge we are all called to answer is, what are we going to do about it? Throughout time, we have repeatedly been asked this question. People have always had to organize, get connected, stand up, and show resilience.
GR: When you speak, there is so much energy in your voice. You sound very “awake”.
Louie Schwartzberg: Well, that’s the silver lining in this. Fighting complacency is very invigorating. If you lay back and do nothing because you’re hanging your head low, then you’re left to feel despair or hopelessness.
Louie Schwartzberg: Gratitude Revealed is attempting this – shining light, truth and positive energy, love and compassion. That is the counter-message to the darkness. It’s going to force people to get connected and make one another stronger by being resilient in fighting against the forces that want to turn the clock backwards. I am interested in ways to inspire us all to wake up, to be alive, and realize this must be shared with your fellow humans, take value from it, look them in the eye, be willing to connect, be open to feel wonder and awe, so that you can give that to somebody who may have different views than you do. We need to find common ground, and protecting the earth and our children for a sustainable future can be something we can all agree to work on. Try to create an event for somebody else, take them outside for fresh air, a simple walk in the garden. Expose them to nature.
GR: Even though your stages have been quite epic this year, your message seems to be that truly the greatest gift is the very smallest idea.
Louie Schwartzberg: Yes. It’s the little things in Life that make the world go ‘round. The simplest of notions can actually have the most profound affect. Trying to change the system may or may not happen quickly, but it’s only possible one ray of light at a time, one person at a time.
GR: When you first created Gratitude Revealed, did you have any idea what you were creating, the impact that it was going to have?
Louie Schwartzberg: I did and I didn’t. I believed that the combination of imagery and spoken word and music is powerful and can shift consciousness, but I also had young, teenage daughters who would keep me in line by always being very cynical and rolling their eyeballs every time I’d say something that sounded too New Age or cheesy. That kept me very authentic and down to earth. [laughter]
GR: That’s hilarious.
Louie Schwartzberg: It’s healthy to challenge your previous generation. As a parent, you want to help your kids, but sometimes there is a tendency to provide clichés. A cliché is a truth told many times. You can’t help it, because you’re just sharing with them the truth you’ve experienced. But, man, teenagers keep you honest, that’s for sure.
GR: This reminds me so much of social media, where the key word is authenticity. People can smell a mile away if you’re trying to manipulate them, and they can’t stand it. I think what is so striking about your work is how simple and pure it is. You really just let Nature do her thing and get out of the way.
Louie Schwartzberg: I think everyone has to speak their truth. I’m not worrying if this going to be derided as being overly New Age or whatever, because it turned out the Gratitude video did go viral, and it does appeal to a lot of young people. Everybody needs a moral compass, and now more than ever. I think nature is something that young people can wrap their heads around and appreciate for giving their life value and direction. Nature doesn’t tell you what to do. It’s not on the nose. It’s not preachy. But every life lesson can be discovered in nature, in terms of survival, connectivity, networking, how to flourish, how to work well with others. Nature has been my greatest teacher, and I try to share this with others as honestly as possible.
GR: Louie, if you could project your work anywhere in the world, where would you project next?
Louie Schwartzberg: I would love to do El Capitan, and Half Dome. I think it would be great to put nature on nature. Yosemite is a grand Cathedral, with vertical flat granite walls that soar to the heavens. It would be an ultimate way to commune with the divine.
GR: Ok, that absolutely has to happen. That’s brilliant.
Louie Schwartzberg: After we do El Capitan, then the next one I want to do is the moon.
GR: The moon?
Louie Schwartzberg: We’ll probably need a stronger laser projector, though. On the dark side of the moon you could project light.
GR: I like how you’re thinking.
Louie Schwartzberg: After all, when you shoot for the moon and you miss, you still hit the stars.