The final line “You’re part of this place, not a visitor” from My Octopus Teacher grabbed me, as did the whole documentary.* It resonates deeply with an awareness I’ve had since I was young, beliefs I integrate into my work and things I’m currently reading.
At a time when we’re being inundated with divisiveness, pulled apart by our differences in all arenas and scared for our future, there comes this documentary to remind us what is true. We’re interconnected and part of everything. In some ways this is scarier; we have much work to do to heal from the hatred and acrimony that has torn us apart. Yet nature tells us survival means accepting, adapting and accommodating everything around us.
This is the lesson the documentary creator, Craig Foster, learned when he developed a bond with an octopus after regularly visiting her habitat in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Town, South Africa. He makes himself part of her world, and she accepts him. His motive, to restore his health from depression and work overload, becomes a lesson on how interconnected we are.
There’s a simple analogy – we’re literally the pebble tossed in the pond. The concentric circles from our impact radiate out to touch everything around us, on and on outward. It invites a basic understanding of the natural laws of the universe, starting with ourselves at the center and moving outward.
BEING A PART OF THIS PLACE IS COMFORTING
When I was 10 years old, in the darkness of my bed, wide awake, scared and feeling alone after my parents died, I would slowly breath in and out and sooth myself with this thought: Every breath in came from somewhere that connected me to others, every breath out did the same. All over the world people were breathing. I was not alone, I was connected to everything and belonged. I had a place. I had forgotten how important that thought was until this film.
Wherever you are now is your place, as the Law of Vibration teaches us – your energy is part of your place. Whether you like it or not, accepting it and being part of it is necessary for your survival, even if it is to get the courage to leave. Just as a bird has its nest, a bear has its cave, we have a place as well. The Octopus made peace with the regular intrusion of Craig in the area around her den, coming to trust he would not harm her. We are invited to do the same. Simply be present and accept that you are part of everything around your place.
IT COMES WITH RESPONSIBILITY
Everything we do leaves an impact. It is also one of the laws of nature, (Law of Cause and Effect) that there is a cause and effect relationship to our actions that requires recognition and responsibility. We create a ripple – it has consequences. We have to consider others, whether it is our neighbor, the environment, or other countries. It is not about power or profit. This simple point is being hotly challenged particularly around climate change. How did we stray so far from this simple truth?
We have a responsibility to one another and the world. In politics, we see the contrast of divisiveness, driving tensions and violence, versus the promise of greater unification. We are the United States, not a division of blue or red states. We can come back together and be responsible for one another. In the film, Craig knew his boundaries; he could not interfere. He had to be responsible for the impact he was making without changing the course of the Octopus’s life. He took the role of responsibility seriously enough to bring us this lesson.
THERE IS A HIGHER GOOD
Once you see you’re responsible for the impact you make in life, it’s a simple step to consider the concept of a higher good. This higher order perspective is also part of the natural law. The Law of Correspondence – as above, so below, as below, so above. When we have a relationship with source energy, or spirituality in any form, that interaction guides your decisions so that actions in our physical world are consistent with higher values. Thinking about what serves the greater good comes easily.
Yet there are many who are still unconscious, who do not take responsibility for their actions making the concept of a higher good remote or ridiculous. People who want to use the environment or exploit others for their own gain are in this group. Eckhart Tolle talks about this in Power of Now,* which I am re-reading with my clinical supervision group. As he notes, in a place of consciousness, you allow what is and accept both ends of any polarity, another natural law, so that when you move to a place of neutrality, you can witness how the greater good always moves things toward the positive. It creates peace, stability and acceptance of the natural order of life. Just as the film maker accepted the short life of the Octopus, whose death left hundreds of babies to repeat its experience of life.
The lesson from “My Octopus Teacher” is a wonderful story that helps us consider how important it is to live as a “part of a place, not a visitor”. It gives us comfort to know we are interconnected to everything and everyone. It helps us recognize our responsibility as we make an impact on the lives of those around us. And it moves us to consider that we are all here to make a positive contribution to the higher good of the world. It is why we are here.
If you would like to explore this concept further for yourself, reach out. My Transformational Life Coaching and Counseling services offers tools to help people make big and small shifts in their life. To live congruently with who you really are is a tremendous gift, one that’s never too later to give yourself. Go to www.spectrumtranformation.com and use my Free consultation link to send me a message. Give yourself the chance to connect to who you really are, an important person in the world!
- “My Octopus Teacher” – 2020 Documentary on Netflix https://www.netflix.com/title/81045007. Photo captured while watching the film.
- Tolle, Eckhart, “The Power of Now – A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” https://eckharttolle.com/books/