The Lightening Bolt

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The Lightening Bolt

Annabella Wood

Beauty comes from all different sources, or it could be said, beauty can be found anywhere. We expect to find it in such things as flowers, or nature, or the joy of friendly and romantic relationships. It is easy to find beauty in these places and they are often enjoyed. But for me the most beautiful experiences are those where I don't expect to find beauty, such as the fury of nature, or the ravages of a broken heart. So when I find beauty in things or situations I once thought ugly or frightening, the beauty seems more brilliant and it leaves a more lasting impression on me.

I once had the opportunity to walk through the experience of losing everything familiar in my life all in one day.

I had built a life filled with romantic love, great financial abundance and the feeling of complete security in this world. I was enjoying a relationship of more than 15 consecutive years with the same person. We had just celebrated our 15th anniversary with a large, opulent wedding in front of over 300 guests. Many of the wedding cards included the words, "Seldom have I been at a wedding where I was more sure that it would last." This echoed my own sentiments.

My partner and I owned three businesses together, and all three were money makers and we enjoyed working them together. We had no other income, for none was needed. Even in our spare time, we chose to do activities together, for we enjoyed each other's company. We traveled, worked, laughed and lived in a world of respect, love, abundance and security.

For the last 10 years of the relationship we had enjoyed moving along a path of inner exploration, each on our own, but knowing the other was there. We examined our motives for our actions, what our thought process was, and what emotions were elicited by what thoughts. We played with working with our thoughts and watching how our thinking affected our experience of the world. Though the process of inner exploration is definitely done on an individual basis, we often shared our findings with each other, and invited each other into the inner recesses of ourselves.

For reasons that are outside the scope of this paper, I woke up one morning to hear my wife say to me, "I love you, you have done nothing wrong, and I am through with this relationship."

I felt myself move into two different responses simultaneously. The first is the expected fear, dread and the feeling of enormous loss.

The second reaction surprised me, though it felt more real than the first, exhilaration and excitement.

I have often experienced the falling away of the old, familiar, comfortable but outdated, leaving a void, only to have that void filled with up to date versions of the old that are much more to my liking, often beyond my own imagination.

Somehow I contacted that knowledge immediately in this situation, and felt exhilaration at the journey that was now laid in front of me. If every void is a blessing, then the bigger the void the bigger the blessing. I was about to receive blessings beyond my wildest imaginings, for my entire life was now a void. I had an absolutely clean slate waiting for me to write upon it anything that I wanted.

My first three days after receiving this news were spent in this surreal state of exhilaration and profound peace like none I had before experienced. Some say it was shock. They may be right. But I picture shock to be a lack of feeling, and that was not my experience. I was super sensitized to the incredible joy of living in the unknown, knowing only that there were powers beyond my comprehension conspiring to give me everything I had dreamed of and more. And all the pieces of my new, improved life were moving to become my experience, freed up by the release of everything familiar to me, the release of my old life.

I couldn't see what these pieces were, or what life they would build for me, but I knew it would be current to who I am now, up to date with me, and exactly what I wanted whether I knew I wanted it or not.

Picture this against a backdrop of feelings of total devastation, betrayal, loss, fear, anger, and the feeling that nothing I had ever done in my life had meant anything at all. Absolute meaninglessness.

The sensation of experiencing such diverse emotions at the volume that I was living them was like being alone at night, deep in the desert, far away from any people or lights of any kind, and getting caught in an electrical storm. All is black, so black that no shapes can be made out by the eye. No stars, no moon, no rain, just me. Without warning a bolt of lightning flashes from out of the darkness, splitting the night, and lighting everything around me for 360 degrees. The jolt of power of the electricity as it sizzles and cracks, splitting the world open. The blackness shatters, completely disappearing without a trace. I am humbled instantly, dropping to my knees at this display of power, and my sudden realization of the verity that nothing I have ever done has had any consequence to the lightning. I stay on my knees and cry until my body is totally drained, and peace overcomes me.

The darkness of the surroundings represents the negative feelings I was experiencing. They permeated everything, making the next step on my path difficult to take. But I knew they would pass with time, like the darkness would pass with the rising of the sun.

The lightning represents the power that drives all life. It overcomes the darkness in a millisecond, completely obliterating it and rendering it powerless, even non-existent. And though the lightning only shows itself when it wants to, the electricity from which it is made is ever-present around me; in the air, in the water, even in the very molecules that make up my body. It holds what I think of as "the world" together. Without it everything would fall apart. Its power is so great and its presence so pervasive that I seldom see it or think about it.

And the promise was fulfilled. The first few pieces of my new life have come together, as evidenced by my presence at Bryn Mawr. The trappings of my life are nearly unrecognizable from those of just a short time ago. And I love every minute of it.
The whole letting go experience allows me to move freely in the world, not limiting myself in order to appear a certain way, or to impress particular individuals. I don't have to worry about my well being, for it is clear to me that something else is doing that. I don't worry about holding my molecules together. I just assume it is taken care of, and it is. So it is with the rest of my life. My job is to say thank you to whatever is taking care of me by enjoying the experiences made possible by its presence.

And with this as my only concern, this world is filled with beauty everywhere I turn.

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