photo courtesy of heavywordstoliveby.blogspot/2012/7/nelsonmandela
When I began writing this blog over a year ago my intention was to present definitions and examples of epiphany in its many incarnations and to encourage people to be aware, listen to your inner voice and allow the messages of illumination to be heard, especially in regard to the gifts of creativity that you have been given. Your creative gifts are awarded to you free at birth – what you choose to do with them is your choice. That is still my purpose, but I would like to emphasize that I believe every day brings epiphanies, and messages from your inner self, your soul, often repeat themselves in an ever-increasing frequency and urgency. Many times I will write about my experiences, my crazy observations about life, my concerns, etc – all of which are epiphanies to me. In my previous post about the bitter cold here in Colorado, seemingly a casual commentary on the weather, an epiphany is buried. I will allow you to find it for yourself if you care enough to go deep.
Life is rich with layers of discovery, both inside your mind, heart and soul and from the world outside your self. So much to be learned in so short a lifetime. I learn something every single day, whether it be earthshaking or subtle. Today I have re-learned something – I have been re-visited by a piece of wisdom that is so monumental that it might seem obvious, and yet we forget. With the death of Nelson Mandela I have once again been confronted with true greatness and reminded that the authentic heroes of our time or any time in history are people who have cast aside bitterness, hatred and revenge to take the high road, because they know that the most effective way to spread their message is to forgive but keep speaking the words of truth. You can be a highly enlightened person, as was Mandela, and have feelings of bitterness in your heart, and he did admit to having bitterness, but the key is to moderate those feelings, control them and channel them in a positive direction for the greater good. That is no small accomplishment – many people allow the bitterness of the wrongs they have experienced to consume them in a fiery blaze that burns burns burns for as long as they live, destroying everything good in its path. Twenty-seven years in prison could easily do that to a man, but Mandela kept his dignity intact and walked away from his cell a better man determined to seek not revenge but monumental change for both the blacks and the whites in South Africa.
Mandela was a normal human being, first and foremost, capable of both love and lust and violence in defense of what he believed, who found himself in the right place and the right time to do the right thing, and his actions were heroic. He is a hero in all of that word’s definitions to me, and to many other people. The very definition of personal strength. But he had a wicked-good sense of humor, he called a man who was a jerk a jerk, he made friends with his captors during the 27 years he was imprisoned and he invited them to sit in the front row when he was made president. This man was as real as anyone can be.
The epiphany of his reality as a human being has re-hit me strongly today and the knowledge of that is both encouraging and enlightening. I am also, once again, struck with the belief that after death a person of this magnitude does as much or more good work than he was physically able to do in life. Life is confining, finite, and as we grow older we become weak of body – but the spirit soars in death and becomes a larger, more encompassing force than any one frail body can ever be. There is epiphany in all of that.
SO true and so beautifully put! Thank you for writing this. I agree, part of his imprisonment was being in his body – which became frail, and ill. Let his spirit soar and inspire with the force of greatness – free from the fetters of suffering once more.