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Does everyone have the capacity to be extraordinary—as many claim, or does it take a massive intervention for us to be able to touch…what? Higher consciousness? The Universal Mind? God? What should we call an ability to know what we cannot know—to be more than we ever imagined possible? In her autobiographical book THE HAPPY MEDIUM, psychic Kim Russo describes a small study she read about (in THE LINK by Matthew Manning) in which Dr. Joel Witton reported that gifted psychics have often suffered a severe electric shock before the age of ten. Russo herself was nearly electrocuted when she was five years old by sticking a wire in an electrical socket and has experienced myriad unusual abilities that have increased in intensity since. She is dedicated to using her certified talents for a higher good—spreading unconditional love. She writes, “I never asked for this life, but I firmly believe this life chose me.”
Harriet Tubman was never electrocuted, of course, because she was born into slavery in the late 1820’s. However, she did sustain a serious brain injury when she was only twelve from being struck by an overseer wielding a two-pound weight. Thereafter, she experienced narcoleptic spells during which she “saw” information about the present or future that some credited with her uncanny ability to lead 300 slaves to freedom in 19 separate trips through what was enemy territory. The film HARRIET depicts her dogged determination to rescue herself and other victims of slavery after she was denied the freedom that was legally hers. To her, from then on the choice was “be free or die.” Once she reached safety after nearly perishing as she scrambled north alone, she couldn’t live happily while others were still suffering, so she went back…again and again.
Beyond the time frame of the film, Harriet Tubman continued trying to act for the common good. For example, during the Civil War, she not only spied for the Union, but she was also the first woman to lead an armed expedition, the Combahee River Raid. Later, in spite of her financial difficulties, she donated a portion of her land to a church that built a Home for the Aged there. Her raw courage and incredible dedication seem to set her apart from mere mortals. Her unique insights aside, she didn’t simply talk about doing what was right. She moved forward and did what she could see to do until her death at age 93. A person who could look at the color of her skin and deem her inferior to anyone would have to be using a deeply flawed scale.
The times in which we live are hazardous—for most of us nowhere near as hazardous as those of Harriet Tubman—but we’re no longer able to sail blithely through our days complaining about boring weekends or the price of gasoline. With or without extraordinary abilities, we are challenged by hatred, violence, inequity, and disease to be what we say we believe. We must act from our hearts as did the abolitionists—both Black and White—of old, stepping in where we see something we can do to demonstrate what loving looks like. We cannot stay the same and expect our world to be different.