I will attempt to retrace my steps. I will be relying solely on memory as I did not record this anyplace else. This will be only the 3rd time I share this.
Before I dive into this let me just clear the air on the word Epiphany. The connotation most associate with this word is from the divine or the spiritual. Both of these words belong to religion or to those who believe in a higher power or being or energy. Epiphanies, for the most part, are linked and will probably be linked forever to the supernatural.
I beg to differ. I am not trying evoke a supernatural spirituality or a moment of “touching” the divine. This is my story. My epiphany.
Nothing special about the day. I had spent the morning looking for work. Looking for work became a full time job without pay and I tried to break up the monotony of sending resumes and taking psychological profile exams with bike rides to keep my sanity.
I rode that day from the house and down the road. I live about 5 miles from the Pacific Ocean. I took one of the longer routes that day. I opted to head north instead of west (directly to ocean). I had my ipod on and away I went.
I rode to the end of the bike path and turned around. The ride back home was nice and quiet. My music keeping me company.
I don’t usually wear headphones when I ride. Although I try to stay on the Bike Path (paved path along the beach) I will inevitably ride on the street for a fair portion. This day I opted to wear them the entire ride.
I was coming up on the final hill before I get to the street that takes me home. As I hit the top of the hill and made my left the following song started to play:
I couldn’t help but picture a feather… I was quickly flooded with images from the movie itself. Tom Hanks waving at Lt. Dan from a busted up pier and then falling into the water. The Bench. The shoes.
Then my mind started to drift.
My mind became the feather. Instead of floating and landing on a shoe…
I felt as though I left my body. I had the sensation that I could see myself riding my bike. I then hovered over my pedaling self and up, up, and away…
I paused, as though viewing my position on Google Maps, at about 500 feet. Still following my progress.
Then to 2,000 feet. I had to squint to make myself out.
At 30,000 feet, forget it. I couldn’t see myself. But I could see the curvature of the earth. Higher.
I was now at around the same level as the International Space Station. Our Blue Marble still dominated my sight.
Pull out even further. The Sun, still bright, was rising from behind our Moon. That was beautiful.
Out further. I was now slowly moving out further and further. I passed Saturn. I was approaching our heliosphere. I saw Voyager. I passed Voyager.
The entire time I somehow managed to keep a fixed position on Earth. I knew exactly where it was even if I could not really “make it out”.
The music kept playing.
I passed quickly out of our solar system and out of the Milky Way. As I did, I felt – physically felt this – the hair stand on end on my back, arms, legs…
My mind had traveled outside of the MIlky Way. And it kept going.
My mind suddenly, yet slowly, started to turn. My point of view was no longer back to Earth. I was turning my back to Earth and out to see the direction I was traveling in. Facing the vastness of the universe. Our Universe.
It was grand. It was vast. It was gorgeous.
It stopped. I stopped. I was weightless. I was able to move in any direction. I could turn and look back and where I knew Earth would be.
Somewhere. Out there.
Then I began to wonder how far I had traveled. What would Earth look like once I got back. It would be different. It wouldn’t be the same. Everyone I knew would no longer exist and anyone who knew anyone I knew would also be long gone. No one would be alive that would have heard any stories about anyone I knew.
Would I come back? If so, to what?
I was back. I was on my bike. I was crying.
It was strange. It was elation and rejection at once. It was the highest happiness and the lowest deepest sadness at once. It was joy and horror. It was pain and euphoria. It was intense heat and bone chilling cold…. at once. Every opposite you could imagine and those that don’t come to mind…. meeting.
Existence and then non-existence.
Relevant and Irrelevant.
I was everything and I was nothing. Simultaneously.
The song was somehow still playing.
This was my epiphany.