Psychology Today: Bookshelf Winter Reads Includes Epiphany!

For Epiphany! True Stories of Sudden Insight, author Elise Ballard compiled life-changing moments from both celebrities and ordinary people. Here, she shares three tales that speak to her personally.

Forgive freely
After activist Linda Biehl lost her daughter, Amy, during a political uprising in South Africa, she established a foundation aimed at reconciliation. She even built a relationship with the men responsible for Amy’s death. “At one point, I was shocked by a serious betrayal by someone very close to me, and I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to fully let go,” Ballard says. “Linda’s story made me realize true forgiveness is possible.”

Step up
When actor G.W. Bailey visited a ski outing for kids with cancer, he
was struck by the children’s laughter and high spirits. He immediately began volunteering with the nonprofit
behind the event, and eventually became its executive director. “This is a common theme in the book,” Ballard says. “G.W.’s so successful and busy, and he thinks he’s just going to take a quick detour and then go back to his normal life. Then one moment changes everything.”

Believe it
During a voice lesson in her early 20s, Maya Angelou’s teacher asked her to read aloud from a book. She came across the line “God loves me,” and repeated it until it rang true—and she realized that even she, a young black woman, could do great things.

“Dr. Angelou’s voice—this gorgeous mix of power, grace, passion, and humility—impacted me for life,” Ballard
says. “I saw how self-acceptance fueled all her wonderful accomplishments.”—Vanessa Pinto

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