Lightbulbs, Pharaohs, and the Essence of Change

An epiphany is, by definition, a realization that someone has in an almost extraordinary fashion. Many elements can trigger epiphanies, from a quick glance at a photograph to a scent floating momentarily in the wind. Though epiphanies are seen as an almost unreal event, they're just as realistic as the human condition itself. Sure, Lester Burnham has one in American Beauty and miss Audrey Tautou's character lights up with one in Amelie, but these life-altering events arise on an everyday basis in our very lives.

And, to my experience, these are the closest things that everyday humans can, and do, experience in the exact same fashion as in films. Smaller scale "light bulbs" go off with everyone almost everyday, but that's now what I'm talking about. I'm referring to thr earth-shattering, body-numbing, tear-swelling earthquake of emotions that shutters down your body once you've discovered that life, in itself, changes. It's hard to remember that from time to time, especially in a world where everything seems so difficult to endure that it almost feels like concrete solidified around our bodies.

But guess what? It's completely probably that we can have Jerry MaGuire like moments of unabashed, relentless clarity about the world we live in. The scary part about the epiphany is that countless, upon countless, people experience them on a daily basis - but lack the emotional solidity or availability to harness this ball of emotional radiance. They see something in their lives that hurts them, that chips away at their emotions, and they shrug it off as an element that they must endure. They become martyrs, in a sense, dying for a cause outside of their control.

What they fail to realize, and this is a recurrent theme in many a thoughtful film, is that the emotional bonds and connections that you make in this world, whether its within a relationship or with yourself, are the only things that you carry with you when you die. You're not like Nordic kings or Egyptian pharaohs who perish with their riches. No, humans actually perish with the treasures that they hold in their minds and hearts. Without those, it's not worth living. It's like Tyler Durden callously throws out over a beer in Fight Club - "We're consumers", but we're trained to do so to mask the difficulty of intrinsic growth. Simply, we seek instant gratification instead of paying attention to sporadic, emotional epiphanies.

Here's the real kicker to epiphanies: they're scary as hell. When they arise, they usually bring about change. And, as to be expected, we inherently despise change - especially the kind of change that flips your world upside down. That, right there, is the root of epiphany's fear. We don't all have Lester Burnham's gusto to just spin around, drop our life, and change the entire fabric of our universe. However, if things stagnate long enough, then such a cleanse becomes a necessity.

All of this can be triggered from something as minuscule as a song playing in your ears. There lies the balance, the ever-present fork in the road of life. Do I shelter myself and take the road traveled, one of safety and caution that I know, or do I brave the elements and embrace the gravitas to follow through with an epiphonic moment in time? It all comes down to what makes sense, to what connects with you on a personal level. Don't be surprised if it all unfolds like the scenes from a movie when you experience such a moment, because it can be quite ... liberating. Happiness pours into your cheeks, slapping a grin on your face that you thought to be buried underneath the rubble of your existence. You can be Lester Burnam, Amelie from Montmatre, Jerry MaGuire - hell, even Holden from Chasing Amy.

Fate has its ways of showing you what's right and, most times, they come in a package that looks much like an epiphany. Don't be scared to dive in and see what it has to offer, because if you pass in it this time there's the overwhelming chance that the same opportunity may not arise again. It's one of those rare times where you can enjoy a moment in life that radiates much like a scene from a movie - true, difficulty may come afterward, but boy that moment when the absolute right solution surfaces for plain sight is something to marvel at. Epiphanies are finite in this world, much like shooting stars. Don't just wish upon them, however - reach out and snatch that stars with everything you've got.


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