Levellers: 5 Drops of Gravity

by michaelmcclary 18. March 2012 09:30

I’m a great believer in the maxim ‘This, too, shall pass’.  It’s a way of keeping me cool during excitable times and also through worrying times.   As part of this I like to gather a small collection of videos/ideas which provide a damping effect: bringing me down to earth if I’m getting a nosebleed from too much hype or merely make me feel more grounded.  Thought I’d share 5 of these..

1. Embrace Life

I first blogged about this when I talked about the D&AD Design Awards in 2010.  It’s a wonderful example of emotional connection and creative execution; one of the few pieces I’ve found which can be given the tag ‘innovative’ in a world where the term is being overused by the unimaginative.  The slow-motion video, lack of shock tactics and particularly the expressions and movement of the little girl never fail to grab me.

Embrace Life

2. ‘This, too, shall pass’

A few years ago I was lucky enough to discover the podcasts of Ajahn Brahm, a Cambridge graduate who became Spiritual Director of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia.  I found that they were great for listening to on a jog and it was refreshing to hear some intelligent and funny thoughts on various aspects of life without laying on heavy religion or feeling like I’d stumbled into a semi-pro NLP course.  This is where I heard a number of stories including this one.

From the Wikipedia entry:

“the fable of a powerful king who asks assembled wise men to create a ring that will make him happy when he is sad, and vice versa. After deliberation the sages hand him a simple ring with the words "This too will pass" etched on it”

It’s the only thing I’ve considered for a small tattoo, whatever the form/language. (A very wise friend of mine advised me that I should consider it for at least a year before even planning it).  Maybe one day.

3. Kseniya Simonova - Sand Animation

If you’ve eight and a half minutes to spare, or even if you haven’t, I’d recommend leaning back with earphones and full-screen mode.  This is a stunning example of artistry, skill and timing but is really a way to engage you in the story of a country subject to war.   

Kseniya Simonova

4. Last Year I Killed a Man

Not dwelling in morbid fascination but appreciating the account of a tube driver who had a person step out in front of his train.  I’ve often heard the ‘person under a train’ announcements when rushing around for meetings in London.  This short article gives some sense of the driver’s perspective.


5. Dr Martin Luther King “I Have a Dream”

Sometimes I’ll put this on to appreciate the struggle, remind myself how recently the craziness of segregation existed in America and live the history, the mass of the crowds, etc.  Other times I’ll watch and listen to an amazing orator whose timing, pauses and vocal intonation surpassed any public speaking or ‘influencer’ training course.  Either way, 17 minutes well spent.

I Have a Dream