Epiphanies, Divine Insight, and Ah Ha Moments!
It's The Little Things
An explanation of an epiphany is summed up as a discovery that seems to come suddenly from the outside. Some say, a divine insight and as I explained above, it's having an outside (or deeper) perspective.
I had an epiphany this morning after watching a commercial on TV (I know, nothing glamorous). The first statement on the screen read something about 'The little things make a big difference to us' and then showed some images of kids brushing teeth, etc. It was a commercial for a large company that makes anything from toothpaste to laundry detergent- you know, the things we take for granted every day. Kind of the way I feel on most days, being a mom. The last statement read "Thank you moms. We couldn't do it without you".
I had one of those epiphanies, ah ha moments, whatever you call them. IT IS the little things! I teach my kids how to brush their teeth, put on their shoes, make food, and get up and be with them every day through tantrums and triumphs. I'm a stay-at-home mom so I don't have a salary or job title to let me know how valuable I am. I don't even get thanked very often for what I do, and I don't get a sense of accomplishment for having completed a project because life after kids is never-ending, never finished or complete, and I don't see immediate gratification very often because my time is filled up with the taken-for-granted tasks. Those little things!
So why do I care so much that the little things ARE big and suddenly I have a renewed sense of self? Why am I just now getting it? I thought about it from their (kid's) perspective and those little things are very big to them. We take for granted putting on our shoes, but a 1 year old doesn't- that's a big deal. You should see my son's eyes light up when we go through the routine of helping to put his shoes on. When he first greets my husband home from work, he points to his shoes- that was his BIG accomplishment for the day and I assisted with it!
This random TV commercial gave me another vantage point- I saw through someone else's eyes and experience other than my own. We get so caught up in our one-person bias- our lives from our point of view. Sometimes all that's necessary for one of those glorified ah ha moments is another perspective- seeing things clearer. Every day I'm planting a tiny seed (or many seeds) to make way for bigger things!
I Hate Ah Ha Moments!
The term 'Ah Ha Moment' came from Oprah. I never cared for Oprah much- she is on this eternal journey to reach self-actualization (Psychology term) or in laymen's terms, self-awareness. She called it quits on her TV show after 25 long years, but now owns her own Oprah TV network, which I've watched more often than I ever watched her TV show. However, I noticed many of her guests are self-help gurus who don't have kids and their main focus is on the same self-awareness journey as Oprah. This is great..if you're them, but most of us have lives involving many other things...and kids can be a huge distraction.
You don't even have to be a parent to know that getting spiritual and self-aware has to be a major focus in one's life and chances are many of us have a top heavy priority list already. In other words, Oprah is very one-dimensional and some of her guests are as well. While I like the idea of an ah ha moment- I don't like it's origin. Featured guests from the past on her shows, have recently admitted they did not live the life they preached (or wrote books about) nor followed their own advice. They preached about Ah Ha moments yet never experienced one themselves.
The truth is, we are only as self-aware as our experiences lend us to be. We can't experience someone else's Ah ha moment and we can't force it to fit our schedule either. What experiences lead us to Ah Ha moments? Life/age, tragedy, illness, triumphs, major events, children, travel, responsibility. And in addition, we have to take time to see beyond the experiences and get something out of it.
I thought I was extremely self-aware at age 32, a very introspective person...until I had kids. Maybe most of us (I won't speak for others) have re-lived some of our childhood, or even acted like little brats ourselves, during parenting experiences with our kids. I've found myself reacting like an unruly child, only to realize the event at the time brought up feelings of when I was a kid. This can be good (when involving good memories), but also tends to bring out some of our Id or Ego- the primal and immature self inside us and the part of us where unresolved issues reside. Having children doesn't make self-awareness isn't impossible. In fact we get to know the very best and worst of ourselves.
A self-aware Oprah does not impress me much. I admire her goals, but she is simply someone who mastered her career. A self- aware Buddhist Monk doesn't impress me either- he has simply mastered His spirit journey. Ah ha moments in the middle of a busy life or tragedy ARE impressive! Those are the ones that stick with us:
- In fact, anything involving deep emotions leaves a stamp on our memory much more substantial than purposefully and routinely seeking wisdom, self awareness, and knowledge.
PEACE...an anonymous quote
Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
How About a Truthful Moment?
Our society is optimism happy! Whistle while you work when you feel more like wasting away the time on wine or whining. While optimism seems to be the word of the day for the last decade or so, more people are going on medication for depression than ever. We're so happy, it's depressing! In my opinion, optimism is a disease running rampant though our society. It has taken over truth. We fabricate, exaggerate, and brag, but hardly ever tell the honest truth. It seems as if truth carries with it a negative connotation.
Who are we protecting? Well, mostly our selfish egos and we can hardly reach self-awareness with those egos in the way. The more this false positivity/optimism spreads, the more we lose our truth, our moments of awareness and epiphanies. The trouble is the twisting of truth. Websites and people who claim to 'speak the truth' are often hateful extremists. This is not the truth. One aspect of truth that helps us reach self-awareness is accepting that both good and bad experiments help us grow. I think people know that logically, but we dismiss those bad moments, and the truth.
Optimism has reared it's ugly head as perfection in America. Perfection is a killer to all things good. It's also a lie. And in extreme cases, it leads to narcissism. Why is it so damaging to our society? A lack of innovation- this is detrimental to our society. Innovation comes through failure and acknowledging the weaknesses. Innovation and invention often come from having an epiphany.
Top 10 Leaders in the Global Innovation Index (2012)
- United Kingdom
- Hong Kong (China)
- United States of America
America falls short in areas such as education, human resources and innovation output, causing a drop in its innovation ranking. Innovation is supposed to be America's claim to fame, our main crop! Not anymore. People are too afraid to make mistakes now or appear imperfect to be innovative. If we view things, or ourselves, as perfect, there is no room for improvement, or innovation.
My personal view on truth is anything but the truth is a waste of time, but we've all been avoiding truth since Jack Nicholson uttered those words in the 1992 film, A Few Good Men: "You can't handle the truth!"
Being in The Moment
By now you've heard about the 'power of now' or 'being in the moment' and other magical phrases. Problem is, we are living too much in the 'now' and not stopping to reflect or consider consequences. We live for now, which has sped our lives up significantly. We wait in line, but act like we should be served right away. We want everything instant and now. How many take the time to make a good wholesome dinner? If I lived in the 'now' I'd go blow my savings today on something unnecessarily lavish and eat like it's my last meal. Hey, I think this is how at least half of America lives. It shows from our debt to our obesity.
A Buddhist quote on the importance of now- in the way "now" should be seen as: "If you to know what you were doing in the past, look at your body now; if you want to know what will happen to you in the future, look at what your mind is doing now"
In other words, our future is in our hands right now so there is no time like the present, but it does NOT mean live without concern for the future as if there is no tomorrow. Be accountable now!
Creating Your Own Inspiring Moments
I've compiled a list of ways and How To's of creating your own Ah Ha moments or epiphanies:
- I personally think the recipe for an Ah Ha moment is having some wisdom and fore knowledge combined with the right timing. Suddenly our past knowledge or predicament becomes crystal clear and it clicks. Without the past work, knowledge, or wisdom, Ah Ha moments will easily pass us by.
- Be a co-pilot instead of an autopilot. This has to do with getting out of our own point of view and out of doing things on autopilot. Like I suddenly saw things from another point of view to realize the little autopilot things shouldn't be on autopilot- they are big things to my kids.
- Humility is a big one. Our society has created avenues of social networking and constant optimism so that we never have to acknowledge our genuine self. We never have to dig deep because we can cover our self with material and superficial things.
- Always be a student. I'll give credit to Oprah for being the constant student, but she has limited herself to those in the field of self-help or celebrity when so much can be learned though those not in powerful positions. I learned a lot from working at a popular breakfast restaurant chain where the elderly frequented. We are so busy, we never lend an ear to those who can impart wisdom on us. We also undervalue the disabled or elderly when those who've struggled are the best teachers.
- Feel things- allow yourself emotions because feelings change the way you think. They have a more dramatic impact than anything else. Ask yourself how you feel about bot good and bad things in your life. If nothing else, it's a good tool for reflection.
- 15 Psychology Experts Share Their Personal "Aha" Moments | Psychology Today
Psychology experts share their psychological epiphanies. By Alice Boyes, Ph.D....