Passage 46 When Heaven and Earth Kiss
For my money, a good sunset is the cheapest shot of wonder out there.
Think of it —bursts of incandescent energy that can curl your toes,
warm your soul, and prove cost effective all at the same time.
The iciest hearts on the planet can be thawed by the heaven’s burnished flame.
Countries sitting down for peace talks ought to begin
with a joint viewing of rose-dipped hues and golden halos
merging into growing flowers of light.
And for romance, this daily dose of celestial seduction
is just what the love doctor ordered.
When first meeting the incredible woman who is now my wife,
I quickly caught what Bonnie was about when I asked the age-worn question,
“So, what do you do?“
“I chase sunsets,“ she replied. I was a goner.
I’m not sure if that was the exact moment when I fell in love,
but it was, at least, the start of my descent.
Cut to our honeymoon and one of my favorite settings in the world
—Ireland, the Emerald Isle.
One day we were traveling from the city of Galway toward the Ring of Kerry.
Late in the afternoon we discovered that a boat up ahead
could ferry us across a tributary and save some four hours’ driving time.
I made for the last launch, a mere ten minutes and eighteen kilometers away.
With luck, and no livestock crossings, we would just make it.
All of a sudden Bonnie called out, “Stop!“
Dutifully, I pulled over.
Bonnie pointed to the sky.
It was the sunset.
Not just any sunset.
This clearly was a masterpiece.
Getting out, we drank deep of a heavenly show of amber and golden hues,
rose finger clouds painting the broad canvas of sky.
The bridge would wait another day.
The Ring of Kerry wasn’t going anywhere.
Bonnie and I inhaled the magnificent sunset like ambrosia.
Sunsets, and sunrises for that matter, are gifts served up in plentiful procession.
It’s one of life’s ways of taking a simple pause, marking the day.
If we’re too busy, caught in the whirlwind of our own manufacturing, we miss the magic.
What is required in order to drink the heady miracle of morning or evening light
is a consciousness of how we use the time allotted to us each day.
Pausing for a moment, we willingly open our spirits to the gifts of the universe.
These are indeed the gifts that help make life this good.
Passage 47 Disrupting My Comfort Zone
I was 45 years old when I decided to learn how to surf.
They say that life is tough enough.
But I guess I like to make things difficult on myself, because I do that all the time.
Every day and on purpose.
That's because I believe in disrupting my comfort zone.
When I started out in the entertainment business,
I made a list of people that I thought would be good to me.
Not people who could give me a job or a deal,
but people who could shake me up, teach me something, challenge my ideas about myself and the world.
So I started calling up experts in all kinds of fields.
Some of them were world-famous.
Of course, I didn't know any of these people and none of them knew me.
So when I called these people up to ask them for a meeting,
the response wasn't always friendly.
And even when they agreed to give me some of their time,
the results weren't always what one might describe as pleasant.
Take, for example, Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen bomb.
It took me a year of begging and more begging to get to him to agree to meet with me.
And then what happened? He ridiculed me and insulted me.
But that was okay.
I was hoping to learn something from him—and I did,
even if it was only that I'm not that interesting to a physicist with no taste for our pop culture.
Over the last 30 years, I've produced more than 50 movies and 20 television series.
I'm successful and, in my business, pretty well known.
So why do I continue to subject myself to this sort of thing?
The answer is simple:
Disrupting my comfort zone, bombarding myself with challenging people and situations
—this is the best way that I know to keep growing.
And to paraphrase a biologist I once met,
if you're not growing, you're dying.
So maybe I'm not the best surfer on the north shore, but that's okay.
The discomfort, the uncertainty, the physical and mental challenge that I get from this
—all the things that too many of us spend our time and energy trying to avoid
—they are precisely the things that keep me in the game.