As North America prepares to host a total solar eclipse, which travels from west to east coast later this month, I was thinking of another definition of the word ‘eclipse’. When someone or something is deprived of significance, power or prominence, it is said to be eclipsed. Now that’s something that may resonate more personally than the going-ons of celestial alignments, doesn’t it?
So how can we take the science of the planets and stars and combine it with the mental and emotional challenges when we, or a situation we are in, are prevented from shining as well as we need or want?
From writings about total solar eclipses, it seems that as the moon passes between the earth and the sun, the light of our nearest star is completely obscured. So, in the middle of the day, an eclipse makes it as though it were night. The temperature may drop, and stars can be visible. Shadows can be sharper and shift with the strange and temporary mid-day dusk and dawn.
Because of this rare and atypical event, nature reacts quite strongly to this brief episode of darkness as well. Birds may stop singing, the transition from diurnal to nocturnal insects and amphibians may bring night-time sounds during this short period of time. Even larger mammals may feel compelled to take a nap…
So it is no surprise when we have an unexpected or darker shift in our life that we find our nature shifting in various different ways. Our temperature towards others may cool. We may change our ‘song’ or it could interfere in our waking and sleeping patterns.
Why is this important? Because as we can see how a disruption in the solar system affects so many, quite swiftly, we often fail to identify when there may be a major variance in our own patterns and circuit, and how that might negatively impact our relationships, work or life.
What might eclipse us? The loss of or trouble with a job, relationship or status; the learning curve of doing something new; reoccurrences or reminders of our past failures or limitations (and often the fear of their future manifestation); sidelining of our dreams, hopes or needs. People or situations can also extract our energy, confidence or resources, and leave us feeling alone and in an unexpectedly dark place.
A Star is Discovered…
Interestingly, this same experience that can darken our lives can also reveal aspects that may currently be hidden from or in us. Like stars that go unobserved while the sun shines, they are exposed as the light recedes during a solar eclipse.
I am often highly aware of the resilience and internal strengthening of my clients going through their biggest challenges – even as they feel at their most vulnerable. While their ability to overcome may often only be viewed in the light of hindsight, I have heard from others and have experienced this personally, that often our greatest challenges can result in our greatest lessons and powers.
This extreme change in our environment can position us to see our world in a completely different way – and may force us to rally aspects of ourselves that weren’t required when our lives were sunny.
No-one “Ate” the Sun…
I’ve been looking up websites with oodles of information about the upcoming eclipse. I have read accounts and expert summaries. Was I to be on the eclipse’s path during this event, I’m sure I’d be surprised by some aspect of the eclipse but I have enough data not to be completely caught off guard.
Imagine someone hundreds or thousands of years ago, though. The sun completely disappears in the middle of the day. Would it be the end of the world? Would it be that a god was displeased? Imagine not having any scientific understanding for what was going on. Scary.
Yet limited information of our own emotional and mental ‘orbits’ are often dealt with as superstitiously. The power that our own system has in deeply affecting us – our reactions, chemistry, protective patterns – can catch us unprepared in the same way as earlier cultures might be ill-equipped to deal with an ‘unseen hand’ that has seemingly extinguished the sun.
Many people are dealing with emotional shifts and life challenges without the information they need to know what’s happening from the inside out. Information and support can give us potential power to understand and grow through these events in our lives.
Heavenly Body Help
Over the past months we considered driving up to cross paths with the solar eclipse event and then decided not to. We saw that while the swath of darkness was wide, it was still very specific. You could be in one part of a city and ‘miss’ it, while another part of the same city would be in complete darkness. From the central ‘full’ eclipse, there were lower percentages of ‘partial’ eclipsing spreading away from its path.
I can relate to this as someone who supports people who are going through dark days. In my job, I’m near the eclipse but not in it. I can see the light that may be obscured from view when a person comes with a personal trial or dispute.
The sun isn’t snuffed out like a candle during the eclipse; it’s just not visible behind the moon from the perspective of earth. All the bodies are there, they have just shifted to make it hard to view them from where we may be standing. When we’re stuck in one place, the absence of light is all we see or experience. A few miles/kilometers away, the view is quite different.
It may feel that everything is dark when you’re in the middle of it, but it’s actually much more localized than we may believe it to be. With some simple questions, I can usually tease out some bright spots in a person’s life, even when it seems at its darkest.
Another reason we didn’t go was because the viewing of eclipse in one place was mere minutes long. How does that compare to our mental, physical and emotional eclipses? These struggles often feel like they will NEVER end, even though most of them tend to pass. Usually with some clarity and support we can realize that while the situation may be serious or even dire, there is a certain amount of temporariness in these situations as they stand right now.
Imagine driving after the eclipse – following it from coast to coast, chasing the darkness. It might sound cool for a solar eclipse, but sometimes we to do this with our personal challenges and hurts. We spend a lot of energy to stay with the pain or darkness. We believe so strongly that it will last forever, that we suggest ourselves into that state for even longer than we needed to be there.
The old saying goes, “when you find yourself in a hole, first stop digging”, and understanding that many of the downs in our lives are not permanent reminds us that the sun will shine again.
If you look at eclipses from the perspective of earth, you’ll need to realize that you’re not alone – there are others who are experiencing this event too. Similarly, as we go through tough patches in our lives, we may feel isolated, yet we often share a commonality of experience that others can understand, empathize with or advise us during these times. It doesn’t make the discomfort any less personal, yet it may help to know that others have trod this path and emerged with greater internal illumination.
If you look at yourself and others as galactic spheres, each is following her own path, may sometimes affected by others, but is always whole and complete. Just because others may say, do or imply that we are less than the planets or stars we are doesn’t actually make it so.
Looking from a different perspective, something that looks obscured pr dark from the ground, looks perfectly aligned from higher up. Sometimes we just need some help to get the right viewpoint. Any eclipses in your life don’t change who you truly are.
Yes, you are a heavenly body/mind.