You need to keep that eclipse high going
You will probably remember right where you were this past Monday morning if you participated in viewing the eclipse. You might remember the anticipation leading up to it, the actual viewing or what it felt like for you during the maximal eclipse. Some of you may have been in the "totality" and had the most intense viewing. And then like a blink of the eye, wherever you were, it was over. The endless stories of the darkness, the cold, the shift in the animals, all of it has been moving. But I propose that it does not have to end. And even more so, why it should not end. There was power on Monday, Aug 21st that could live on in your life. Let's talk about how.
First of all, let me preface this with the fact that I didn't even know the eclipse was happening, except in peripheral ways, until probably a few weeks before. Yes, I am not very good at planning in general so looking ahead is not my forte and on top of that, eclipses of all kinds have never been more than a passing interest for me. So, I was not one of those people who had planned for over a year where I would be. I had not figured out how to be in the totality. I was by no means an eclipse curmudgeon, just not your most committed attendant.
So, as a result, I was at work that morning. But I had my glasses and had every intent on catching a glimpse of this event that everyone was so excitedly awaiting. I heard news of the anticipated traffic, the right kind of glasses to have, all the fear inducing stories of those who had permanently damaged their eyes during the last North American eclipse in 1979 (leave it to us to concentrate on the worst outcomes of that event!) I was all in. And although I had tinges of regret of not planning ahead I was ready to indulge in the moment before me and so grateful that I was going to be part of this.
So, I went out to see it from when it started to maximal eclipse (which for me was only 93%), and then to the end of the moon and sun's meeting that morning. I left my clinic several, maybe over a dozen times, to watch. I took patients with me. I stood alone. I stood with others (especially at the point of maximal eclipse, we had a crowd on the sidewalk viewing together.) I took deep breaths, I felt the power of this natural phenomenon, I smiled long and hard, involuntarily. I smiled so hard my nurse took a picture of me because I radiated such joy. I almost cried, I was in pure awe.
The awe was for many many reasons. For one, as the moon and sun came in alignment, I felt what a huge thing was happening here and the entire concept of alignment was something I felt deep in my bones. How could I align more powerfully was the question racing through my heart. Align more with nature, with my loved ones, with MY passion and deepest purpose?
Since I was not in the totality, there was still 7% of the sun visible at our maximal point of eclipse. I did not get the experience of the amazing darkness, stillness and wondrous corona that others have told me about. But what I did get a sense of was that even just 7% of the sun was enough to light the sky and radiate its heat. That's right, you can cover 93% of the sun and still feel its power. What an amazing thing the sun is?!
And in that moment of eclipse, there were three big lessons that stood out for me.
1. We are but one small, insignificant part of this universe. Small and humbled by the larger forces that surround us.
2. For even just a short moment, the awe and wonder of this realization can create stillness like no other. Stillness deep in your heart and soul. That's what happens when we become truly present.
3. And all it takes is a short event of something greater than us, like this natural phenomenon, to bring community together all across the country. To focus on something other than ourselves, our differences and our grievances with each other. For that two plus minutes, we were all aligned towards the same thing instead of in opposition of each other. That was a wondrous (and for me a much, much needed) thing.
The eclipse was a moment to focus on something not only greater than ourselves but also something greater than what lies between ourselves.
And for that I am grateful.
The eclipse should not be such a rare event.
What if you spent even just a minute or two each day focused on something greater than yourself? (this could be through prayer, meditation, a walk in nature, true presence with a loved one, service to others...)
What if you felt even for just a few seconds the stillness that can create? These seconds and minutes add up to stored bliss that we can tap into when needed. That eclipse high is accessible anytime.
And what if even if for just a millisecond you allowed that to be your focus instead of anger or hate? Forget the bigger political scene. What if when you are feeling so angry towards someone in your life, you decide to focus on presence instead? How might that shift us?
And then, what kind of world would we live in?
Don't let the eclipse be the only time you practice this kind of presence and humble gratitude. Let it maybe instead be the event that jumpstarts you to do this every day.
Commit to a morning meditation on the sun. Feel its heat, Feel its power and remember how beautifully it can align with the moon.
Then find a place in your heart where you too can feel your own light and power. Remember that you can align with so much more than any anger, fear, or sadness that may live in your heart.
The eclipse reminds us we can align with all that is good and strong in ourselves. And when we do that, we give the world a gift.
When we get still and present, when we align with the true essence of who we are, we become a force of good in our own hearts and then in the world around us. Take a pointer or two from the sun and moon. They have been around quite a while and have some wisdom to share.
Here's to eclipse energy living on in your life!