Total Eclipse of the Heart

Last weekend my husband, Nevin, and I were driving back over the Bay Bridge towards San Francisco in the early evening when he asked me, “Want to watch the eclipse?” If you know my husband, you wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear that he had MacGyver’d together a viewer using a small welding lens, cardboard mailing box, and packing tape (and remembered to put it in the trunk). We stopped off at Treasure Island and settled in to watch.

Our makeshift viewing device worked splendidly. There is something amazingly peaceful about watching the sun as, little by little, it is obscured by the moon. It helped that it was one of those perfect weather days where you wish you could paint the colors of the sky and preserve them forever. Gazing out at the water, it reminds you of why you put up with the cost of living, parking, and fog to live in San Francisco.

Yet I almost the experience. I thought about the laundry at home that needed folding, the emails I needed to return, and all the other seemingly pressing to-dos on my list. Did I really want to spend an hour watching the sun?

I thought about how easy it is that I can fall into my own eclipse.

There are times where I feel a bright blaze of warmth in my heart. I’ll be out in nature or curled up with a purring cat on my lap and it occurs to me how lucky I am. Sometimes after teaching or just being around close family or friends where I genuinely feel bursting with love.

Yet how quickly I can let darkness start to creep in. Uncertainty, criticism, and self-doubt come up and I let these seep in, effectively dimming my brightness. Eventually, everything from traffic to the aforementioned parking to the dishes Nevin left on the table, turns into a negativity that blocks me off from my spirit.

In an eclipse, the sun doesn’t disappear or go away forever. It merely slips away from our view. Similarly, my spirit isn’t gone for good, but I can let a cloud of negativity block it off into darkness. Unlike an annular eclipse that will not return for another eleven years, my own eclipse can recur in mere days–if I let it.

It would have been so easy to listen to that nagging voice. Instead by ignoring it, I got to share watching the eclipse with Nevin. As we drove off and the darkness started to unfold across the sky and the predictable San Francisco fog started to roll in, neither could block off the re-kindled sun inside me.