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Opening Our Eyes – What’s in a Name?

by Gail Mooney
July 13 2010

Little did I know when trying to come up with the right name for our documentary, did I stumble upon and recognize the perfect title “Opening Our Eyes”. I had been listening to a Jackson Browne song, “Alive In The World” and there it was in Browne’s inspirational lyrics:

“To open my eyes and wake up alive in the world
To open my eyes and fully arrive in the world
With it’s beauty and it’s cruelty
With its heartbreak and it’s joy
With it constantly giving birth to life and to forces that destroy
And the infinite power of change
Alive in the world”

And so on day 50 of our 99-day journey around the world, we’ve reached our midway milestone and with that our eyes are wide open. We have been inspired and deflated, energized and depleted, hot and cold, happy and sad, healthy and ill, hungry and satisfied, content to stay and restless to move on. We’ve run the gamut of emotions, climates and cultures. Yet, we carry on and continue because of the people we have met, who are helping others – the heroes and the subjects of our film. These incredibly selfless people are following their passions and helping others to realize their dreams – giving others a chance at life. That in itself has been a powerful thing to witness and one that has changed our lives.

As we move further on to northern Thailand today, to follow a doctor and trek into the villages of the hill tribes, we leave India behind. This has probably been our toughest week so far. India is a land of extremes. Beauty and history lie beneath extreme poverty and oppressive temperatures that give way to the torrents of the Monsoon. And as hard as I try, it’s difficult for me to grasp an understanding of a caste system that to my mind seems hopeless – at least for the people who are born into the bottom – the untouchables. But it does shed light on why so many seek the boundless opportunities that America offers. And so in trying to understand another culture, I end up understanding my homeland better.

When one travels they begin to know for the first time where they come from and who they are. Perspectives are shaped by real experiences, not from the nightly network news or the black and white print of a newspaper, but from one’s own eyes. It brings a deeper understanding and the desire to know more.

Our eyes have been opened and our hope is to open the eyes of others through our journey and our film. And if you’re reading this Jackson – thanks for the inspiration for the title of our film. And thanks to all of you who follow our journey and encourage us with your support and comments – it means the world.

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