Gravity: On Meditation, Rebirth and Story


The image of Sandra Bullock’s character Ryan floating through space without a safety cord was enough of a

Wearing our 3D glasses (only way to see GRAVITY besides IMAX) - with my daughter.
Wearing our 3D glasses (only way to see GRAVITY besides IMAX) – with my daughter.

trigger to keep me from wanting to seeing GRAVITY. However, when my 16- year-old son said he wanted to see it  followed by my 13 year-old daughter *and* my film critic husband, that was a trifecta of agreement rarely experienced in my household. (Youngest stayed with my sis.)

I knew the story would be about death, but it’s really about rebirth and the symbolism is powerful.  I won’t give away any plot points, but the symbolism is present throughout the movie from the safety cord (umbilical cord); wearing/shedding the suit; oxygen/life; orbit/floating and the end is full of symbolism, which I won’t detail here because I’d like you to see for yourself. There isn’t a lot of dialogue, but what’s there is important, whether we think it is at the time.

Matt, the happy-go-lucky astro-vet played by George Clooney, is so chipper in the movie (and maybe too calm in the calamities) but in building great character, making your lead characters opposites nearly always works. If you’re a writer, I’d recommend watching the movie a second time to study the set-up, character arc of Ryan and how Matt (and the vessels themselves) play into Ryan’s transformation. In Story, we need outside forces to help nudge the internal story along and we get both in spades in GRAVITY. Of course I cried. I’m a feeler and always feel all the feelings.

For those of you who meditate, watching GRAVITY felt like an intense 90-minute deep meditation for me. (No, I never last that long!) Only once in meditation did I get to the point where I was floating in space, but it was white, not black and because I became aware of how it felt (light/free), I snapped out of it. In meditation, we try to get rid of the chatter  to clear our minds. Thoughts and images and words and bits of conversations come rushing by, much like all that space junk hurtling toward the cast in GRAVITY. There are several zen scenes in the movie, too, obviously the floating, but others, too and even the dialogue speaks to the peace state, the quiet in space and Matt’s insistence that Ryan “let go.”

The writers did a nice job of weaving in backstory throughout the action. No “story dump” or traditional character introductions. We not only get the history of Matt and Ryan through their interactions with Houston and each other, but small details about the personalities of the crew. Details matter to make your story believable.

Some questions to ask on your own life journey (that you can’t help but think about as you leave the film):

  • what experience from your past is keeping you anchored there instead of moving on?
  • how are your relationships working? who will mourn you when you die? Who will you mourn?
  • what needs to happen to help you let go of negativity to start anew?
  • what are you afraid of? why?
  • what is next for you? are you in need of a rebirth in one aspect of your life?

If you’ve watched the film, I’d love your thoughts in comments. If it contains spoilers, simply state that at the beginning.


PROJECT NEWS! After months of planning, I’m finally announcing the creation of Sooner Spaces, a site ce39b82432f411e39e9622000a9f09f1_8showcasing stories about living, work and travel spaces around Oklahoma and the people behind them and ideas and inspiration for getting the space of your dreams with how-tos, videos, and stunning visuals. Our tagline is “Love the space you’re in.”  I love architecture, nature and design so this project brings those interests into alignment with my writing, producing and marketing skill set. While the site doesn’t launch ’til 12/1, we are building our social media channels now and will be sharing lot of fall decoration, home improvement and places to visit now before our site is up.  Thankfully I have an excellent team I’m working with to bring this dream into fruition – marketer Ali Clark, educator Jill Martin and Terrell Sanders, who owns Main Street Enterprises web design.  Facebook here. Twitter here.  Our first YouTube video will be up before Halloween sharing a fantastic home in Edmond with every room decorated for Halloween – all to benefit a charity. Sooner Spaces will be a  media property under my company Athena Institute and yes, I’m still branding for clients but only on a project basis which freed up my time to do this. I’m also still managing Buzz Books and our lineup is great. (Our next release, Jenny Peterson’s CREATURE DISCOMFORTS launches Tuesday, but you can get a copy now on Amazon.)

Sooner Spaces is a nice example of CREATING YOUR FUTURE. No one was going to come to me and say, Hey, Malena, do this. I just had to do it, and I’m thankful sponsors are coming on board so they can be a part of it, too.

BOOK PROGRESS: I’m half-way through with my holiday novella, STERLING AND SLOANE and it took a nice twist, which I always enjoy. That’s the beauty of not sticking to a pre-meditated outline. As I write and get to know the characters, they tell me where they are going. Love that.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. gina says:

    Saw it. Loved it. And now-I can’t wait to watch it again after reading this. I tend to not be a deep thinker so I never think about these things when watching movies. It’s probably also what is holding me back from writing the book that’s floating around my brain.

    1. malenalott says:

      Thanks, Gina. Hey, I think you just had an a-ha moment right there. Awareness is always a good first step. Good luck on your writing and thanks for visiting!

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