Sometimes it seems like the whole world is in disarray! Pressures and changes are from everywhere – the family, the country, the world politic, mother nature, the planets.
These past months have been the best of life, the worst fears, and the unexpected.
I recently had an experience of an emotional eclipse.
Two weeks before the Solar Eclipse, I had two days of an “eclipse” or a reprieve from the emotional pressures of the last two years – my parents’ health challenges and move, roiling in my professional life, a family member’s health scare, and the extended remodeling of a kitchen.
What I could see, feel, observe, and experience were my reactions to life over the past two years – with a perspective. What I observed is that when there is a disturbance I donate my vigilant energy and my default mind time to the problem. It is not particularly productive thinking, rather it is oriented to the compelling nature of the disturbances I am a part of. Doing something about it seems to give me the experience that I have some control of it, but it is really more a way of maneuvering the anxiety into action for the moment.
The palpable relief in those two days had nothing to do with my conscious actions or intentions. Rather something changed, and I was then “free” to experience this deep breath -- a reprieve. I know this vigilance to the systems around me is in all of life, more or less. All humans are more or less alert and paying attention to disturbances in relationships and to the changing environment. Bowen theory describes this as chronic anxiety. It is how we are built through development and over the generations to be vigilant to the stability of our emotional world.
I could experience how I have been simply responding, as I must. I was more irritated at others, less patient, more frustrated by what I perceived as their inadequacies. I was more self-critical – “you can not write, can not stay in contact with people, can not, can not, can not.” While I knew I was in a pressured time, I THOUGHT I was maintaining a perspective on it. What I did not appreciate was how much it influenced my body, my thinking process, my attitudes, my assumptions, my sensitivity, and my actions.
I EXPERIENCED the impact of the events and processes I was involved in. I say experienced it because I knew it with all my senses in my very being. My body was calmer and lighter; my mind was less muddled and less hyper-focused, I shifted into a neutral observational mode. I understood what chronic anxiety is for me. I could see the air that I breathe. In those two days, I had some “room” in my life. I was able to move towards people I have been more distant from. I felt physically lighter. I had more of a sense of humor. I initiated clearing out things. I could think creative thoughts and read. I could plan effortlessly. I enjoyed the garden and could smell the flowers.
That 48 hours of clarity and perspective ended with a rainy-day fender bender.
I had a second unexpected experience. My husband and I planned a road trip to the Totality of the Eclipse in the southwest corner of North Carolina. I had some convincing to do, but nothing short of 100% Totality was going to work for me. I read about the science; I read Annie Dilliard’s, essay on the Total Eclipse, I engaged a spiritual perspective.
There was no missing this! My husband searched for the least populated place with an open sky. After an appetizer of a few days hiking in the Blue Ridge mountains, and meeting people on the same journey from all over the world, we got up at 5 a.m. to stake out our site, checking the weather for clear skies.
We had the perfect weather, an ideal site where we were under a picnic cover upon a heightened plateau. We shared the picnic cover with a couple from Mexico. The husband, Edgar Cervantes is an amateur photographer who shared his photos with us. It was an interesting day – intermittently looking at the sky, taking walks, eating, talking……It seemed pretty low key.
Then…….the TOTALITY. Breath-taking, stunning ….. and…. I became nauseous. After the sun returned, I sat down in my chair under the picnic cover to settle my body’s reaction. I was disoriented and needed to be quiet. I did not want to engage with anyone. That was NOT what I expected.
I have been a student of observing my personal systems since 1978, documenting my physiology, emotions, psychology, attitudes and perceptions and how these individual markers reflect the emotional process in systems, be it my marriage, my family, extended family, work, or with societal forces.
These two different eclipse experiences seem similar. They are asking new questions. What is the impact of planetary systems on my mind, perspective, physiology and action. The moon affects the tides, how does it impact individual human beings?
I began to wonder about these two eclipse experiences:
How do systems of the individual’s biology, physiology, emotions, psychology, attitudes, perceptions, and actions synchronize with relationship patterns?
How are the systems of the family, society, nature and now the planets interrelated and affecting individuals?
How are the changes I observed within and around me influenced by planetary forces?
How is a level of disruption an opportunity to be more objective?
Thank you to Edgar Cervantes for photography