Elise Ballard was an actress and filmmaker living in Austin, Texas, when she had an epiphany that changed her life. Her experience sparked her own research into these kinds of revelations. Interviewing people from all walks of life—from celebrities like Barry Manilow, Dr. Oz and Maya Angelou to her own friends and family—she asked, “What has been your greatest epiphany?” She collected their responses in her book, Epiphany: True Stories of Sudden Insight to Inspire, Encourage and Transform. Mysterious Ways asked Elise about what she’s discovered.
What is an epiphany?
An epiphany, by definition, is a moment of great revelation that usually changes your life. What makes epiphanies different from an everyday realization is their divinely inspired quality. They feel like something deep within. Something greater than yourself.
I believe that epiphanies are a deep, deep calling. It’s your soul calling to you, guiding you to use your gifts and talents to accomplish your purpose. Every person experiences epiphanies differently, but generally, an epiphany feels as if it’s something different and more important than an average thought. It’s ephemeral, and it feels like truth.
And what got you so interested in epiphanies?
I had an epiphany of my own. I was an actress in Austin in a play. I was playing a woman who was madly in love with her husband—a Texas politician— and desperately wanted to have a baby. But she couldn’t. I kept noticing parallels to my own life. I was married to a politician too. But I had been unhappy in my marriage for years. We both were. But I was stuck. I couldn’t bring myself to end the relationship.
In preparing for the role, I did a lot of research into adoption and fertility. One day, before dress rehearsal, I was printing out a brochure about adoption to use as a prop. Suddenly I had this thought. I could do that. And instantly it felt as if everything just shifted.
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