What would it be like to see our planet, everything you’ve known, all of the people you’ve ever loved, the places you’ve called home, all at once against the backdrop of infinite space? There are very few of us who have had this profound experience, but we’ve got a moment of awe to share with you, that will get you as close as we terrestrial humans possibly can.

The incredible storyteller, musician, and filmmaker MaryLiz Bender set off on a mission in 2017 to discover why so many astronauts—who leave this planet with some of the most intense training and job descriptions in the world—came back to Earth profoundly changed, going on to become humanitarians, philanthropists, and artists.

What was happening up there in space? And could we bring that profound sense of empathy and connectedness astronauts were experiencing to everyone on our planet?

Image: Astronaut Franklin R. Chang-Diaz works with a grapple fixture during extravehicular activity to perform work on the International Space Station

Source: Unsplash // NASA

The Overview Effect

This experience that astronauts were having has a name, coined by space historian Frank White: The Overview Effect. Hurtling through the vastness of space, astronauts were seeing our planet and our humanity in an entirely new way: devoid of borders. And the sense of awe this experience elicited was profoundly life-changing.

As NASA Astronaut Ron Garan put it in an interview with MaryLiz Bender:

“When you have a really profound beautiful experience, it makes it deeper and richer if you share it with others… Imagine if 555 people were the only people who ever saw a flower or the Grand Canyon or a sunset over the water… Wouldn’t you feel an obligation—really a call to action—to share that? And not only share the beauty of it but the profound meaning and the profound inspiration you get to make the world a better place for all of us.” – Ron Garan, NASA Astronaut

MaryLiz Bender has made it her life’s mission to bring the power of the Overview Effect to all of humanity. Through her incredible work as a musician, filmmaker, writer, and performer, she has used her creative energy to create experiences aimed at teaching people about and emulating the experience of the Overview Effect.

Last year, at our 2020 Conspiracy of Goodness Summit, she created a film that gets us as close as we possibly can to the experience of going to space ourselves. From the launch pad, to lift-off, to finally seeing all we’ve ever known and loved below us, she captured something incredibly profound. Something so few humans have experienced, and yet if more did, it could and would change the way many of us walk through the world.

So, I encourage you to grab a pair of headphones, turn this video on full screen, and let yourself be absorbed for the next 15 minutes. Who knows, maybe you, too, will experience what so many of us at last year’s Summit did: a small taste of the elusive and powerful Overview Effect.

If you’d like to learn more about MaryLiz’s work and support her efforts, go check out the Cosmic Perspective website, and subscribe to their YouTube Channel. She and her partner, Ryan, are creating some incredible short films documenting our current era of space travel.

“We are all on this spaceship together.” -Charlie Bolden

You’re probably here, in search of signs of goodness around the world because you already connect with, even if just in small part, the importance of the message of the Overview Effect. And you’re not wrong to want to believe in and want a brighter future for yourself, and others. There are thousands of people, like you, who feel this same way.

Feeling the power of our shared human connection and our connection to our planet is important. But that power goes far further if we have a way to connect with one another and share our unique sets of talents and perspectives.

Last year we were on a mission with our first Conspiracy of Goodness Summit to Find Goodness. And it was talks like MaryLiz’s that made us realize that our next step for year two: helping people find what they were uniquely built to contribute to this world, so that they could continue to expand the goodness that is happening all around the world.

What are you uniquely built to contribute?

In the last year, a lot of us have gone from wanting to just “know” there is a better world out there to wanting to do something about that. From recent grads, to 9-5ers, to those reaching the end of their careers, people are searching for a meaningful next step in life: they want to live with purpose.

If this resonates with you, we want to invite you to join us for the second annual Conspiracy of Goodness Summit on October 10th from 12-3 EST. In an afternoon of talks, interactive sessions, and live Q&A you will get the tools and insights you need to develop your roadmap to living with your unique purpose & a community to support your journey.

We are bringing together five remarkable speakers who are knee-deep in making the world a better place to share their stories and insights. And in addition, we are opening up our online community designed to support and connect people who want to make the world a better place to this year’s audience.

To learn more, meet our lineup of speakers, and get your tickets, head to COGsummit.com.

Together we can build a brighter future.

After 7 years of talking to and connecting with the people who are hard at work making the world a better place, we have learned that the only way to make lasting change is to find ways to combine our efforts. If the work of MaryLiz, bringing the Overview Effect to us Earthlings, can inspire one person, and that person is given the tools and opportunity to contribute their unique talents to a brighter future, we start to create a powerful ripple effect together.

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!


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  1. Ever Widening Circles. “Awe with MaryLiz Bender.” YouTube, 3 Oct. 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hvz-BAVhJCs. Accessed 30 Sept. 2021.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

CEO of Ever Widening Circles, Founder of EWCed

Since 2015, Liesl has been a writer, editor, and is now the CEO at Ever Widening Circles. She is a life-long camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often root-tripping—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV