The moment that I later described as my “First Universal Life Revelation” occurred on Saturday, November 4th, 2006 as I stood in a record-setting torrential downpour.
I was a sophomore in University at the time, earning my degree in biology. Entrenched in academia, I was struggling to come to terms with what I learned in my study of science and how it related to my study of Reiki, as I had just completed my Reiki II training the month before. There seemed to be a substantial gap between the scientific community’s understanding of life and the world in which I was beginning to immerse myself: the world which taught me that there is no such thing as a barrier of space and time and that I am connected to All That Is. Looking back on that time of my life, I feel so much compassion for my 19 year old self. Sharing with other students the profound experiences that came from practicing Reiki served to isolate me from my academically-minded peers. The incredulity with which they met my suggestion that energy healing had a role to play in modern medicine dissuaded me from expounding upon my ideas.
On that Saturday in November, it seemed as though every circumstance had somehow come into perfect alignment to make me as miserable as possible. For one, I was sick. The previous Wednesday evening I had started to feel achy and tired, and I had woken up the following day with a burning fever. I missed all my classes Thursday and Friday as I lay in bed, drifting in and out of hallucinatory consciousness. My illness coincided with one of the heaviest periods of rainfall that Tacoma has ever seen. The drumming downpour on the roof set a dramatic soundtrack to my convalescence.
I awoke on Saturday feeling as though my fever had broken, though I was weak and somewhat shaky. When I finally ventured out of the dorm that afternoon, I enjoyed the bizarre sight of a few outdoorsy people kayaking in the flooded streets as sheets of water continued to swell the new, impromptu lakes. The whole situation felt almost unreal, like my hallucinations had followed me into the waking world.
For some reason, I decided that my first outing would be to go with my roommate to attend the last football game of the year. I’m still not entirely sure of my motivation for going. I have little patience for watching football even when I’m healthy and enjoying beautiful weather, so I’ll chalk it up to the pull of the Universe wanting to send me a message.
We stood there in the pouring rain as gusts of wind whipped cold strands of hair across my eyes to sting my exposed cheeks. At least my body was largely protected from the wind by the crowd of students, though the jostling on all sides felt just as invasive. The cold crept up my legs from where I had splashed myself leaping over a deep puddle and I bounced in place to attempt to bring some circulation to my freezing feet. I tried to watch the game, but the sky was so dark and the field was so muddy that it shortly became impossible to distinguish the color of the jerseys below. I had no idea how anyone on the field could even see the ball, let alone catch it.
I remember thinking how completely ridiculous the whole situation felt. I generally practice the philosophy of “things could always be worse,” but in that moment, things felt pretty close to awful. I was standing in the pouring rain after being sick for three days, watching a game I don’t care about, completely unable to tell what was happening on the field while being bumped and jarred by yelling people. And instead of succumbing to the monumental misery of the moment and hating everything about my circumstances, something clicked in my brain and I decided to have fun. That’s all: I decided that I was going to enjoy myself.
And so I did. I had so much fun watching the rest of the game in that record-setting downpour, surrounded by a crowd of screaming people while I sweated out the last of my fever. I felt like I was high, like nothing could touch me, and from then on the chilly rain seemed comical as it ran down the back of my neck. I have no idea who won the game (I could barely see anyway) but I had just discovered that I had the amazing power to decide how I felt, regardless of the circumstances around me.
This amazing high lasted for weeks and helped me to earn a perfect score on an exam for my Vertebrate Zoology class, deliver an amazing presentation to my Archaeology and Religion professor (he later cited my work to others in the class as an exemplary project) and navigate with more success than ever the challenge of integrating my growing understanding of energy into my academic studies. I found it much easier to speak with my peers about my experience working with Reiki, and found that they seemed much more open to hearing me. From that simple decision I made, that I was going to have fun in spite of the miserable circumstances, came a cascade of wonderful alignments and further validation.
I cite my “First Universal Life Revelation” as the beginning of a dramatic shift in my consciousness because, when presented with the opportunity to choose between misery and joy, I chose joy. It would have been so easy to succumb to all the factors pointing me in the direction of “everything about this is terrible,” but instead, I decided to enjoy myself. In that moment, I consciously became more powerful than my circumstances. I created my own experience, chose my perception of the situation and felt my joy reflected back to me on all sides.
We are all more powerful than our circumstances. We all hold the enormous capacity to create our own experiences, or at very least, to decide how we feel about them. I like to celebrate my own personal anniversaries of these revelations because they remind me of moments in which I experienced a profound shift in my awareness that has since altered the course of my existence. Reminding myself of times when I receive that teaching, that “lightbulb moment,” helps me feel empowered to embody those lessons consistently every day. There have been circumstances during the intervening years in which it felt as though my world was falling apart. And yet, I was able to move through it all relatively gracefully by reminding myself that, even in the moments when I feel least empowered, I still have the option to choose between misery and joy.
I’m finding my 10-year anniversary of this revelation particularly relevant right now. Between Standing Rock and the election (not to mention any of the other political and environmental atrocities taking place at the moment), I have had many opportunities lately to practice choosing joy, compassion and purpose over misery and despair.
Today, on the 10-year anniversary of my First Universal Life Revelation, I renew my commitment to choosing joy. I remember that I am empowered to create my own understanding. I take responsibility for making sure that my thoughts, words, actions and choices all work directly in service to creating an empowered, joyful experience for myself and others.
And if you feel called to join me, I invite you to do the same.