It happened the way it does in the movies. I was standing in broad daylight. Suddenly, the darkness swallowed all the light. I found myself standing, alone, in the dark, surrounded by complete silence. I looked around and saw nothing, but darkness and fear took ahold of me. I didn’t know what to do and out of the blue, a light shone down on me. I looked up but the light was blinding. I looked around and the darkness was the only friend I had, yet it offered no comfort, only uneasiness. I closed my eyes and I started doing breathing exercises to calm myself down. I was in the dark, with a light shining down on me, from an unknown source and I was completely alone. I simply stood there, discombobulated, lost, and afraid. The scariest thing was the silence. It was heavy, menacing, and it threatened my sanity. I stayed silent and I kept doing the breathing exercises. Then, in a blink of an eye, the darkness, the silence, the light, everything disappeared, and the day returned. I was whole again. I smiled because I understood what had happened.

This overly dramatic/cinematographic scene imagined in my mind put aside, the epiphany was as real as it gets. I am talking about clarity. I am talking about understanding something on a level I had never felt before. I am simply talking about getting the sort of knowledge that almost allows you to levitate. It looked like when Neo from the Matrix came back to life and he could see the matrix itself, understand it like no one before. He owned the Matrix. I wouldn’t go as far as Neo, and I think it’s time I put the movie references on the side.

Well, I should stop about being so dramatic. Let me get real; I feel like I understood the meaning of life. Let me be even clearer; I understood the meaning of MY LIFE. I wouldn’t pretend to understand the meaning of LIFE. It is Yet, profoundly true, at least to me. I might sound like those people who say they saw the virgin Mary and stuff. Yes, I do sound like them but who cares. I know the epiphany was and still is real.

It has been 20+ years in the making. I have been looking for that elusive understanding we all look for in our lives. We are similar. We all look for meaning, for direction, for purpose, for clarity, for a way of life, for our identity. As we look, we don’t get the full picture but pieces of the puzzle that only make sense once the damn puzzle is assembled. Nothing happens out of the blue. My epiphany hit a few days ago but it had been brewing for more than 2 decades. It might seem sudden, yet it isn’t. Most things happen in due time, and they are always an accumulation of small steps that make a big ensemble.

My epiphany helped me understand, in the most simplistic and comprehensive ways, that I was on the right path about how I deal with life. This isn’t a bulletproof way of living, and many things can happen that can alter my worldview. Yet, some things will not change, no matter the circumstances. Certainly, my outlook on life will change once I become a father but once again, the foundation is way too strong to wobble and the collapse won’t happen.

This to say, I have accepted so many facts about life. It wasn’t easy but it had to be done. Life doesn’t give you a choice sometimes. Accepting that there is so much you cannot change is a herculean task, but it gave me the foundation and the time for the epiphany to manifest itself. First, I had to accept that I can only control myself, a task I can’t accomplish sometimes, as the ego fights with the soul and brain almost every day. Sometimes, I win. Often, I lose but I always learn something about myself and the world. So, if I can barely control myself as it is, how can I possibly claim to control other things, or the world? And don’t even get me started on people who want to control other people! Who the hell are you? Professor Xavier from the X-Men who reads thoughts and controls minds? Relax!

The epiphany laid out a simple truth; some things, that were already profoundly meaningful, became infinitely more meaningful the past few years. The epiphany was simply the realization of that simple yet important fact. The things filled with meaning keep becoming more meaningful with time. It’s like something that never stops growing. Things like health, love, family, self-respect, writing, being there for others, being of service, asking for help, vulnerability, honesty, friendship, relationships, having a strong sense of humor, forgiveness, moving on, caring about others, putting smiles on people’s faces, being a force for good, fighting injustice, making something of myself, and so much more, those are the things that matter. They matter above everything else, and the work is never done. I believe there are no days off with those important subjects and the fight is still alive and well.  

On the other hand, things like hate, pettiness, anger, holding grudges, complaining, being mean, disrespect, idleness, laziness, meaningless fights and confrontation, taking things personally, allowing people to take me for a ride, allowing bad behavior to fester, bad habits, unhealthy habits, letting the ego take the wheel of my life often, and so many more things, have become obsolete, unnecessary, a waste of time and energy, a weight on my shoulders and on my soul, an anchor that holds me steady instead of allowing me to move. Life is about moving forward, not backwards and certainly not about staying still. There is no shortage of bad consequences once one allows those unproductive and pointless things to take root in one’s soul.

Please understand some extremely basic; I am not saying I understand everything or that I have answers to everything. Any person who claims that should be shot because they are literally lying. I am simply saying I understand what I must do, who I am, what I should do for my life to be better, more meaningful, more impactful for myself and others. I am saying the epiphany literally reinforced my existing goals and aspirations. As if everything I was feeling already, got confirmed somehow.

As I said before, life is unpredictable, and things can change drastically in a blink of an eye. Yet, it would take a change of seismic proportions to change my outlook on life and what I want to do. The person I am, the things I do, the things I believe in, my values, are the sum of everything that has happened to me, good and bad. Mostly, I am here because of my family, my parents, brothers, cousins, uncles and aunts, and my friends, or “my chosen family”, as I like to call them.

They helped me get to my epiphany. They helped me be the man I am today. They helped me become a better man. And my epiphany also told me the work towards improvement never ends. I can’t sit here and be complacent, as if I made it. I haven’t made shit. The things that matter must keep mattering because I must care about them. So, allow me to end this text so I can go back to improving myself for my own benefit and so I can be a force for good for my people and my fellow human beings! The epiphany came on point.

Just one man’s opinion.

Now smile and go on with your day!

Freeman. B

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