The power of stories leads to relatedness, togetherness and ultimately happiness.
In this special issue we celebrate two things: The storytellers who created a dynamic lineup of films at this year’s Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF), as well as the stars who are creating their own stories through Purist’s premise: wellness. Thank you to HIFF, which for 30 years has brought significant culture in the form of thoughtful, mindful engagement through film, to the small communities at the end of our Long Island.
Our cover star, Naomi Watts, is one such trailblazer. She is pivoting the perception of menopause to a more positive one by creating a community, popularizing discourse around the subject, minimizing the elusiveness of answers, and lessening the unpreparedness most women face when they arrive at that four-part life cycle. It couldn’t be a more timely conversation, given that October is World Menopause Month.
In The Quiet Epidemic, a film featured at HIFF this October, filmmakers Chris Pennebaker Hegedus, Lindsay Keys and Winslow Crane-Murdoch create a twofold exposé—of the chronic and deadly nature of the true long epidemic of Lyme disease, and the massive causative role the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has played in public health by denying its severity. Sometimes science doesn’t have our back.
And sometimes, “Happiness comes from within, and happiness comes from without. We need the guidance of both ancient wisdom and modern science to get the balance right,” as Jonathan Haidt writes in The Happiness Hypothesis. Not surprisingly, reading this book lately has given me some of the best nights of sleep I have ever had. It’s no wonder that just thinking about human growth and development, relatedness, positive psychology and learning how to “diagnose” and develop my own strengths and virtues have knocked me out at bedtime.
What is clear—and is described in the Jewish principle of tikkun olam—is that we should find ways to come together in order to repair the universe, to make it stronger and sweeter. It’s a principle my father-in-law, Mario Cuomo, preached and practiced. In a letter to his grandchildren and future grandchildren in 1999, outlining the meaning of life, he wrote: “If one does what one can to make things better, that’s all God will ask. It’s a job you can work at every minute that you live and it’s a job that can make your life worth living…no matter what else happens.” While this notion of God having a role in our quest for meaning sometimes comes into question for me, there is a spiritual dimension in human existence that is undeniable in finding fulfillment in life: “Whether it is called nobility, virtue or divinity, and whether God exists, people simply do perceive sacredness, holiness and some ineffable goodness in others, and in nature,” as Haidt concludes.
Take time to let these stories—these films, those who lead by example, wellness pillars and paths of discovery that you are on—wash over you; engage with them, question them, connect with them. Therein lies a good night’s sleep.