There is a television show that my children adore, called The Flash, about a super-speedy-super-hero named…drumroll please… The Flash. I like to call it a super hero soap opera, with implied violence and romance. It’s quite entertaining. We’ve watched every episode. Several times.
In this show, there is a phenomenon called Flash Point. It occurs when our hero, The Flash, runs so fast that he literally runs backward in time, and is then able to tweak events. Change things. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse; he grows in wisdom and prudence as he makes a few mistakes and tries to correct them. However, the original timeline, whether he intervenes in a moment of his own inner strength or weakness, is forever changed. He may return to the present timeline and find someone who had been alive is now dead, or find that a couple who’d had a baby boy now have a baby girl, all sorts of changes. He evens saves the earth once, through the use of Flash Point.
The Flash Point intrigued me. I realized, our lives are full of such Flash Points, chock full to the brim with them actually. Moments where little things; seemingly unimportant, superfluous, or even risky enter our minds. Or, on the other hand, our minds are so cluttered with worry and brooding and desire that we miss these sweet whisperings altogether. But even if we miss it, the Flash Point is there.
We non-meta-humans, unable to race back in time and change past events, are limited to the present moment; to notice and act upon these Flash Points in front of us. Right here, right now.
So, what is a Flash Point? Ah. The better question is, what is your Flash Point? A very personal question, unique to you and the life you’ve created around yourself.
I had one today that I, regrettably, missed. I was grocery shopping, perusing aisle 3 for marinara sauce, when I passed a relatively old woman, who was clearly overwhelmed by the blinding variety of rice in front of her. Zatarains and Knorr and Rice-A-Roni, and then onto the fancier and pricier containers of Texamati and Jasmine and even wild rice-quinoa mixtures, just to throw her over the edge. She was clearly baffled; she even looked a bit nervous. I mused, as I walked slowly past her, that probably, for most of her life, rice had been brown or white, with maybe a flavor or two involved, and then suddenly one day she went to the grocery store and got bombarded by brand differentiation and became utterly confused on the rice aisle, and where the hell was the Uncle Ben’s anyways.
But I kept walking. I was afraid to ask her if she would like some help in her selection, afraid she would feel insulted or bothered or more confused. So I never found out. And I got home, and unpacked my groceries, and thought about her, and realized that I would have much preferred an awkward moment of her rejecting my help than the now soft sadness of not taking that tiny risk of an uncomfortable moment, with the the equally viable possibility that I could have grabbed the box of rice for her, and shared a smile and a laugh. Perhaps. Perhaps.
Most of our Flash Point opportunities come from those around us every day; family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors, local store clerks, pets. You know, the lady walking her dog, the child tugging at your jeans, the mentally disabled man who grins and mumbles to you in giggles as he bags your groceries, the fat wiener dog that spins in circles to greet you at the door. Your wife. Your husband. Your children. Your friends. Your boss. Your clients. The ingredients of your life.
There are Flash Points of courage, of newly discovered strength and depth. There are Flash Points of kindness, of patience, of openness, of vulnerability. Moments where we allow ourselves the big guffaw, the off-beat dancing; where we let the tears and the questions and the quiet love flow. Flash Point yourself. I am finally, finally, finally, getting good at this. Moments of saying, My god, I love you, you beautiful, magical creature! to myself. Yea. You read that right.
Flash Points are honest, simple, profound gestures towards connection, with ourselves and with others. And these gestures change the timeline completely. New trajectories of adventure, connection, wisdom, and understanding unfold before us. The sharp angles of the old timeline begin to bend and blossom into lovely deepening spirals of felt experience.
Some gestures you may deem successful connections, and some maybe not. But in noticing and acting upon these Flash Points, you will find you are much more than you ever knew you were before. And I suspect you will find that those around you are much more than you ever knew they were before.
We are each of us, beautiful magical creatures; if we can own it, if we can embody it, if we can shine it. Illuminate my friends, all parts of yourselves. And flash!