I'm no astronomer. I'm no astrologer either - not by a long shot. But there was something I absolutely loved about the recent eclipse. Not because it was a visual spectacle - where I live it was cloudy, and on a surface level, pretty unremarkable (living in the UK its not unheard of for the sky to go dark during the day - usually a prelude to rain).
But what I loved about the eclipse was its unapologetic reminder that we are part of something so much bigger. Bigger, even, than all the amazing things man has created. Bigger than our worldly existence. Something so big that even if we wanted to work out how to control it (and why would we?) we couldn't.
The planets have their own system that we have no impact on. The planets are going about their own business, and we have no part in it. Sure we can study it, and describe it, and try to understand more about it, but beyond that, it is literally no business of ours. It's beyond our control. It was happening long before we existed, and will continue long after we're gone.
And that blows my mind.
That make me pause and take a deep deep breath.
Because in the face of planetary movements, we are tiny. Our concerns so insignificant in the interplanetary scheme of things. We're on the pale blue dot - which makes me feel humbled and vertiginous and a whole lot more.
I'm not suggesting that we throw our hands up in the air in wild abandon, stop paying the mortgage, and start behaving recklessly - just because I've been reminded how insignificant we are.
Not at all.
But I am seeing the huge value in the reminder the eclipse offered that we are absolutely part of a bigger picture. That there are systems at play that are bigger than the concerns of our own individual lives.
When you consider your own existence in terms of the bigger picture, things start to look very different. The questions change. We anxiously wring our hands about the minutiae of our lives less, and we consider the legacy we want to leave behind more. We consider the contribution we want to make to the world, the impact we want to have, what it is we are here to do.
And when you start asking those questions, the conversation changes. The whole energy changes. Eclipse or no eclipse, when I allow myself to dwell in these thoughts, however briefly, there's less fear and self criticism. There's more resolve. More determination. More power.
If I'm writing this post, and I'm all tangled up in how well it's going to go down, and what will people think, and will it get enough likes, and am I good enough - frankly, it's hard work. It's a battle. It's clumsy and uncomfortable.
However, if I'm able to get all eclipse minded, and see myself as part of a bigger picture, and write this post with the conviction that I'm part of a bigger system - that I have a part to play on this planet, and that this post is simply one of my contributions - it flows. My fingers type faster. I angst less, and express more. I'm braver. More authentic. And best of all, I enjoy the process. It's not a chore. It's not something I'm doing because I should. I'm doing it because I'm part of the bigger picture.
I have a part to play.
As do you.
As do we all.
In my early 20's, I had a job that scared me witless. A job that took me into human situations that made me want to run for the hills. A job that made me fear for my safety and the safety of those I served. Some days the only thing that kept me going was reminding myself that the day would end as surely as it started, whatever horrors I saw. The world would keep turning, even if something hideous happened.
I didn't know it at the time, but that was being eclipse minded. The challenges of a scary job forced me to recognise I was part of a bigger picture. Come what may the planets would keep moving, the world would keep turning. Night would turn into day.
It's as true now as it was then.
I invite you to try eclipse mindedness on for size.
Go there, even if just for a moment.
Release yourself from the shackles of fear and limitation.
What's your contribution?
What are you here to do?
Go do it.
This post was originally featured on Michaela's blog Parenting in Public. Read more from her there.