Totality is the Path


I'm just emerging from a summer blog hiatus into a full-on end of summer hangover, realizing that September has hit...already!

One of my summer highlights was an eclipse trip to the Path of Totality in Columbia, South Carolina.

I'm still trying to digest it...

The weeks leading up to the eclipse carried much anxiety and mental confusion for me. If you could have opened my brain, you would have found a back and forth ping-pong game over decisions and next inner struggle that promised no winners and no victories.

Just when I think I have it all figured out ("I'm awesome, I'm the best," my mind shouts from its shadowy corners), life hits me over the head with new developments that seem best left to someone else to deal with...someone stronger, someone lighter, someone braver.

And so, as I headed down to the greet the Path, listening to a podcast by Neil deGrasse Tyson, I resolved to end the mental warfare just for this small period of time.

And with that proclamation, my body relaxed.

It really was that simple.  This was where I needed to be.  Not in some corner of my mind pretending to have it all figured out.  Being right here in this moment was all that was needed.

As I sank into that realization, I recognized just how many moments I take for granted due to believing it's somehow merely a stepping stone to get to the next moment, when I will really have it all figured out or reach that elusive holy grail of contented delight.  This final destination, however, can only be reached once my life is the way I've always envisioned it to be, perfectly achieved as predicted.

So as I planted myself on a rock in the middle of a river in South Carolina to witness the most stunning display of nature I have ever seen, I allowed for the uncertainties and imperfections to recede just for the day.

After watching the skies for two hours, the event came upon us suddenly, the darkness advancing swiftly and surrealistically.  Dots of light poked their heads out from behind the approaching blackness.  Totality threatened to hide behind a cloud, but at the last moment she greeted us onlookers, laughing at our upturned faces filled with incredulity.  I watched transfixed as the sun's rays majestically extended their tendrils past the darkness of the moon and stars sparkled for a full two and half minutes during midday.

It occurred to me then as I experienced our brilliant Sun God eclipsed by Goddess Moon, that dark and light had finally made their peace with each other in those few moments.  And for once, perhaps I too could begin to see things neither as black/white, either/or, good or bad.

I am anxious and defeated and I am also resilient and brave.  I am both filled with light and can be lost in the depths of my own darkness.  I reside both in this moment and elsewhere in time.  I have it all figured out and I know nothing, really.  I rip myself apart and I also deeply love all parts of myself.

For just two and half minutes, all was One.  There was no either/or.  There was no other moment.  Just that one.  And I left that eclipse with a feeling in my body that I only seem to have found a few other times in my life....a feeling of completeness.

And even after this bodily sensation faded, I took with me the possibility for fullness and integration within myself...and on a broader scale.  I know that it's possible.  I saw the visual representation before my very eyes.

If the very antitheses of our earthly reality, the Sun and the Moon can dance together, then surely the political left and right can find pathways to compromise, surely a racially-divided America can acknowledge the necessary steps toward healing, and surely we can find sources of strength within us to unite even our most divided and shadowy internal parts.

That's what the eclipse was here to teach.  The path forward toward recognizing the totality of our Human interconnection, may not be easy, or light... in fact, it will likely include much darkness along the way.

But sometimes, in the darkness, the stars come out.