A little surprise
So today I was looking at my pictures from the eclipse. It brought back lots of feelings of wonder. One of the things I was curious about was other planets. I saw Venus off to the side at quite some distance, but was curious about what I was seeing closer to the sun. I simply wasn’t sure during the eclipse and focused more on the wonder of the moment and the sun/moon combination (and worry about my eyes).
I Googled other planets today and saw that many were hoping to see Mars or Mercury close to the sun but didn’t, so here are my pictures during the eclipse. I checked my camera record and it turns out that these pictures are from around 12:55 to 12:57 - a minute before the total eclipse. It may well be a reflection, but there sure seems to be a celestial body moving from left to right relative to the center. Anyway, if it's a planet, I don't think it was moving at that speed. I suspect that the light from the eclipse was shifting, which re-centered the image of the sun on my screen. But no matter how you slice it, something is moving in the picture. Maybe some astrophysicist will see this and can explain it (if it's just a reflection of the eclipse itself, sorry I got too excited, but even that is a little interesting).
The main thing was it was so fun. So full of mystery, beauty and surprises. It totally left me feeling that we’re part of something incredibly special in being alive on Earth and getting to be part of this celestial dance. I experienced a rebirth of appreciation for the whole thing, for life itself and for people to enjoy it with. I hope these pictures and blogs help you feel that too.
As always, thanks for journeying together!
Okay, so I thought I'd video the horizon just to record what happened. I didn't have eclipse glasses (couldn't find any days in advance). I was sore behind my right eye after trying out my little solar shield from my old telescope, so I was using my phone to try to tell when it was safe to look. Turned out my phone never showed when it was safe. Glad I gave up on trying to gage things with it.
But the video captures a few things: How beautifully eerie it got, our excitement and our wonder. I had tingles from when I looked up until it was over. It was more moving than I expected (as you can read about in the blog - "A Revealing Eclipse").
Thanks for journeying together!
(P.S. Oh, and my eyes are fine, thanks).
A Revealing Eclipse
The total eclipse touched something in me I didn’t even know was there. It was a physical, mystical experience where science and the sacred met – like there was an opportunity to feel deeper into how some things really are. So please read between the lines here for what you already know in your heart - that the Sun, Earth and Moon are beautiful celestial bodies in a life-giving dance. There's lots of math and science behind that and at it's core, it's also spiritually beautiful. It's a both/and, not an either/or. It's timely for me to more deeply appreciate that dance and it’s participants rather than keep taking them for granted. My guess is that I am not alone in that.
To speak poetically - which seems wisest after yesterday - there was a stark yet holy darkness to the Moon during the total eclipse. Part of me felt sheepish when the Moon's beauty struck me, like I should have asked her permission before staring. I had a sense of why the ancients associated her with goddesses of love, beauty, fertility and the rhythms of life. It's like the eclipse revealed the sacredness of the Moon’s usually unseen, underappreciated role in the relationship – like the nature of a womb that creates in the dark and the unforced, graceful rhythms that give life. The Moon was both black as night and radiant at the same time. Caressed by the corona of the Sun, her darkness felt sacred.
Please do not misunderstand what I am saying as I speak of the sacred in this way: I am not diminishing the Great I AM as the most high, most extensive, most fundamentally revealing image of God. I am speaking in the spirit that inspired St. Francis in his Canticle of The Sun where he spoke of Brother Sun, Sister Moon and the beautiful divine dance revealed in nature - in particular, how the dance of life expresses the divine in form. The dance of life in our solar system begins with the dance between the Sun, the Earth and the Moon. You and I are but some children of that dance. Our dance is completely dependent on them and their moves. Understanding that brings humility, gratitude and the opportunity to grow in wisdom. They're in the groove much better than we are. In particular, the Moon guides much, from the ocean’s tides to women’s cycles.
The Moon represents the more mysterious of the life-giving rhythms. As a sister or daughter to Mother Earth, she expresses something holy that is most often experienced at night. Because of other things we associate with darkness, she has often been seen as suspect, when that is the last thing she deserves. She represents the unjustly repressed feminine. We have a complex attraction to what she represents - both wanting and being suspicious of the power she wields in our lives through things like sexuality and primal, kundalini (life-force) energy. In particular, patriarchy has had a love-hate, push-me-pull-you relationship with the divine feminine which isn’t good for anybody. It undermines the healthy, creative interplay of the sacred in all of us. Respectful harmony between the complimentary and sometimes contrasting masculine and feminine energies is the way to go. Just ask those who saw the wonder of the eclipse. There was grace in this dance where one stepped in front of the other in perfect symmetry.
The bottom line is that you and I and every single other sentient being on this planet are born from and sustained by life-giving relationships. Science and spirituality agree on this. These relationships all start from the Great I AM, the Living God from which everything is born for the sake of holy, redeeming relationships in form. To redeem is to re-value, or to reveal value that may have been devalued or gone unappreciated. I hope the experience and memory of this eclipse helps redeem us as humans in those areas where we have lost a sense of who and what we really are spiritually and physically. The Sun, Earth and Moon are beautifully expressing themselves in a life-giving dance. They are giving us life and invite us to move in sync with them in how we live our lives. I want to live gratefully and live accordingly, with as much appreciation as possible for what gives life. That is what brings out the sacred in us.
Thanks for journeying together!
“Watch the world argue, argue with itself. Who’s gonna teach me peace and happiness?”
Dancing on the Jetty, INXS
So I was doing emails, listening to this song and thinking about our country when I heard a crack and a “thud” that shook The Center (thecenterec.com). I looked out to see the rest of this branch crash to the ground. I went out and realized that it had to be dealt with soon because it blocked the drive down to the Pottery Studio. So, I grabbed it by a little branch sticking out and started pulling it down the hill. I was wondering if the little branch might break right before it did, sending me rolling down the hill like a 2-year-old with no sense of how things really work. (Thankfully, I was aimed at the grass and not the asphalt). After I realized that nothing was bruised but my ego, I laughed and considered a new approach.
We are somewhere like this as a country. Going back to the branch, I think it broke because it had become unbalanced. In pursuing growth, it went in a wrong direction. It bent over too much to get it's leaves in the sun. The weight of the rain simply made it too heavy to stay connected to its roots.
It was weird for me to watch people I otherwise admired bend what I took to be core values to vote for Donald Trump. I listened and thought I understood - They were sick of the establishment. They wanted “our country to take care of itself. Get our house in order.” I get that thinking and the feelings behind it, but what is at the heart of America if not a sense of respect for people as people? What good is any democracy if a sense of respect is not guiding it? Without respect, no house is a home and no country is at peace.
Nazism and the Confederacy were built on one group saying “it’s all about us” and “to hell with so and so.” That’s the problem with their philosophies and it’s a fundamental problem. Those philosophies are selfish and narcissistic to the point of dehumanizing others. That’s why they are so dangerous. At the very least, they lead to not caring about your opponents as people, and at the worst, they lead to things like slavery, death camps and genocide.
From the very first debate, it was clear that President Trump did not value a sense of respect for others. That’s fine for him as an individual. It does not make him evil, but it does make him unfit to be president of a democracy. If he changes his philosophy, I’ll gladly change my feelings on him being president, but unfortunately, his philosophy still seems to have the same bent towards selfishness and narcissism. We cannot keep bending in that direction and expect things not to break, branch after branch. Barring doing something illegal, Trump will probably remain president, but reality will be right in correcting things if we as a country keep going in fundamentally disrespectful directions.
If we re-center in things like valuing love and treating others the way we want to be treated, we will head in the right direction (remember, God is Love, and things like respect and fairness are fundamental aspects of love). Love is the way and truth that leads to life. That’s why Jesus lived it and why both God and history raised him.
I got drenched today but it turned out to be fun. What helped most was taking a minute to pause and be present when I started to feel frustrated (about the rain). As I settled in with the reality of how good the creative forces of life are, and simply felt the goodness of pure awareness - of being alive - I was no longer frustrated but able to really enjoy the rain.
The rest that works is an approach to being present. It's about giving fears and distractions a rest so we can settle into the moment with the creative forces of life in us and work from there. It enables us to let go of expectations and accept what is, so we can work creatively in whatever way works best. It has a lot in common with mindfulness practices.
Maybe listen to what I say and then if you want to, replay it and follow the meditation on your breath, feeling for the creative forces of life in you. They feel good. That's always a good place to work from.
Thanks for journeying together. More power to you in your adventure!