The Day the Lights Went Out

11 Years ago today, my Radiance Revolution began. I had no idea at the time, and it was a long, dark, dusty & windy road, but the events that occurred 11 years ago today in NYC were an integral part of my path, and really was the first step onto it.

I don't tell many people, but I used to go to World Trade Center 1 most days for a semester in college. I was a participant in the Drew University Wall Street Semester in the Spring of 2001, just months before the terror attacks of 9/11. For months, I traveled by train into the heart of the bustling trade center, sat in a conference room of a stockbrokers association on the 44th Floor of World Trade 1, and met executives and leaders in the world of finance who mentored and taught us the ways of Wall Street.

I still remember the excitement that flooded me every time I stepped onto the train, my pure delight at the monstrosity of the whole WTC and energy of those working there. Classy women and men making the world turn- it felt like. I can still feel my heart racing as we ran to catch trains, stand in line for soup at Au Bon Pain below tower 1, my first visit to a Banana Republic down in the mall, where I saw my future as a successful businesswoman- the classy suits and fashion worn by women I saw running (gracefully) from meeting to meeting. I saw a bright future in those months and an excitement of making my mark on the world in those buildings.

3 Months later, on the morning of September 11, 2001, I was out for a long walk around my university. It was the first day of classes of fall semester of my senior year, and I had a massive fight over a guy with a roommate the evening before. I remember so clearly how clear blue the sky was that morning- not a cloud visible for miles and the sun shining with intensity for such an early hour. I felt a supreme peace that morning, a calm- it felt like a moment suspended in space, where nothing could hurt me or upset me, and I thought to myself as I walked to the door to my suite: This year is going to be so different from anything before, life is going to change.

Moments later, I walked into chaos of tears and images on the TV that rocked my being and tore my soul to pieces.  Yes, I was right. Life was going to change, though not how I imaged it moments before.

At that moment and in the following days, weeks, months, my Light went out. I let go of my own Radiance, and started down a deep spiral of having no place in the world, no grounding, no hope, and at times- especially in some of my business deals and my relationships with men- no soul. A part of my spirit left me that morning of 9/11, and it wasn't until the past few years that I was able to find it again.

We all were affected in some way by the events of 9/11. Many, especially those of us who lived and worked around NYC, lost their lives or loved ones. I knew so many people who were there that day, and I still have dreams of having to escape the 44th floor, even though I wasn't there that day. I had one again last night, that's how strong a part of me is still holding on, still trying to break free.

I say this was the start of my Radiance Revolution, because it was the day that I lost hope, the day that I allowed others to win over me, over all of us. I lost my spark, I lost my love of politics, I lost the idealistic college kid gusto that I had. This was the day that my light went out, and thus, was the start of my long fought journey to find it again.

I will Always Remember, I will always be grateful for those who were heros that day. I will always be grateful for not being there that day, and for the incredible journey it sparked for me that led me to where I am now.

I bow in humble gratitude to all of you on this day.

Jennifer Blackstock