Dr Lauren Tober: Louie, in this moment, what are you grateful for?
Louie Schwartzberg: Talking to you and the beautiful work you’re doing to share gratitude with the world. Primarily I’m grateful for my health….. I’m grateful that my fingers and legs work. When you get an occasional injury you should be grateful for the health that you do have. It centers me, and brings me back to my body. I know for me it’s easy to be disconnected form my body, and be in my head.
Lauren: What does gratitude mean to you, and how do you practice it in your every day life?
Louie: I let nature open my heart, that’s first thing I do in the morning. I pick a flower from my garden and it gives me an appreciation for the sense of beauty around me, a sense of wonder. In my work I inspire others to be more mindful and accept nature as a healing energy.
Lauren: What piece of advice have you been given that you’re grateful for?
Louie: It never helps to be victimized. We can shrug off the little incidents and if we don’t it causes us to suffer in the present moment. If something happens that’s disruptive, ask yourself, in 2-3 years from now, does it matter? And the answer will always be no.
Lauren: Can you think of someone you haven’t met, but you’re grateful they exist (or existed) in the world? Tell me about them and why you’re grateful.
Louie: Albert Einstein, is at the top of my list. He was after the definition of God…a sense of wonder. I think I believe this as well. I’m totally enamored with life, to celebrate life, to be part of life that flourishes. You don’t have to have an end goal, you just want to be on the journey. Einstein was a thinker who thought outside the box, and the theories he came up with changed the world, by changing our perception of the world. He’s pretty remarkable.
Lauren: What quality in yourself are you grateful for?
Louie: Determination. Perhaps I get that from my parents as they were both holocaust survivors. If you become aware of your life’s mission, and your life’s mission is to make the world a better place, it’s a responsibility that you shoulder. I have a responsibility to tell the story of the bees and the flowers and the pollinators. These are the foundation of life that support all the other living creators on our planet. It’s a weight and a burden at the same time. Others have acknowledged the determination I have, as so many of my movies have taken decades. I see myself as taking up the struggle for the little things we take for granted. Which are big.
Lauren: What does a day in the life of your life look like?
Louie: When I wake up it’s the little things in life that I’m grateful for, like the rising sun, coffee and berries in my cereal. I think we’re most grateful for the little things in life when we don’t have them. I then open my email. When you’re a film makers you have big ideas, I’m trying to unravel the big ideas in life and it takes a lot of determination and courage – when you shoot for the moon and miss you hit the stars. In my day I bring what is small and vast together. I look at things that are too small, too slow or too vast for the human mind to see. In my movie Mysteries of the Unseen World I’m looking at things the human eye can’t see, so I’m trying to explore the big questions in life. I do that because we’re trying to shift the consciousness, so people can be inspired by beauty. As if people are inspired by beauty, we’ll protect what we’re in love with. I think it’s the universe’s grand plan as we’ll protect what we’re in love with.
Lauren: What advice do you have for someone wanting to introduce more gratitude into their lives?
Louie: Take a walk in the woods, or go in backyard or on your porch, and get lost in the beauty of a flower. Nature is a great heart opener, and if you open your heart you become more compassionate and present, and this shapes your values and you make the right choices. I don’t believe anyone should give advice on how to live your life, you should open your heart and listen to your inner voice.
A visionary of nature’s allures and mysteries, celebrated filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg has made it his life’s mission to use his cinematic artistry to bring nature’s wonders and the heart of the human soul into our lives. His recent theatrical releases include the 3D IMAX film “Mysteries of the Unseen World” with National Geographic, narrated by Forest Whitaker, and “Wings of Life,” a feature-length documentary for Disneynature, narrated by Meryl Streep. As a storyteller, his TED talks have garnered over 31 million views. Using imagery that celebrates every facet of life, mood and emotion, his latest project Moving Art transforms the home viewing screen and mobile devices into an emotional – immersive user preference experience.
This interview was originally published in the Capturing Gratitude ebook (2004).