I’ve never seen a total solar eclipse. I’ll have to wait since I’m not in the path of the 2017 totality that will stroke from Oregon to North Carolina. Over the past few weeks media coverage has picked up and when I look at the pictures of past eclipses it looks like there is a hole in the sky.
In recovery I’ve heard the phrase “a hole in the soul” as one of the causes of addiction. The idea is that there is a hole in our soul that we try to fill with booze, drugs, sex, food and so forth, and that we need to fill it with something healthy. I’m not sure why, but the hole in the soul analogy has never sat comfortably with me. Perhaps it’s because it implies that we have a piece missing, and I don’t believe that.
The pictures of total solar eclipses made me think that addiction, codependency, low self-worth, and similar issues are more akin to something that is already there being covered up rather than there being a hole that needs to be filled. Fear and wounds have put a shield over the part of us that loves. Just as a shield protects against things getting in, it also stops things getting out. The moon that sits over the sun of our love hinders us from giving love, and receiving love. Loving is a virtuous circle where the more you can give, the more you can receive.
Fear, shame, anger, and resentment are all related to being cut off from love. When we can dissolve the shield occluding our heart, we can start to connect to ourselves, to others, and to the universal love that is not only available to all of us but is actually a part of us. It’s a birthright as fundamental as our pulse, and as the warmth of the sun. People who are cut off from this love turn to drugs, isolation, violence, and alienation, forgetting care for themselves and for others. We see this within ourselves and we see it across the world from the Middle East to Middle America.
The way to uncover the brilliance of our love is through connection with ourselves and others. Check in with how you feel. Ask others how they are, not in a perfunctory way but in a genuine way. The irony is that our true selves are intrinsically loving and yearning for connection. You can see that in babies as they reach out, and seek eye contact. That urge and ability never leave us, just as our heart never leaves our body. With practice we can move the shield that has been erected through trauma and wounding and return to this elemental way of being.
It takes courage and fearlessness to be vulnerable, to let yourself know that you care about yourself and about others. The beauty is that once we start to connect with the elemental love within, the world opens and becomes less threatening. When connected to ourselves, we become resilient.
There will be breathless coverage of this eclipse and as you watch the images think of your brilliant love, as powerful as the sun, and what you can do each day to let it shine. Move the moon.