As a young girl, I remember my teacher telling us about solar eclipses. I was eager to learn more. We were going to have one. I had never seen one before or previously known what it was. This is also one of many times as a child, I was cautioned of the dangers of looking directly at the sun. We made pin-hole camera type contraptions that would allow us to view the event indirectly.

I have been applying my mindfulness practices to examining my deep irrational fears of being a bad wife. This is a fear at my very center and it hurts my heart. Looking at it has been like looking into the sun, scary with the potential for great power and insight. Looking into the sun causes damage. Looking into the center of oneself can also unearth damage but instead of being permanent, it can also open the way to healing, resilience, and strength.

Right now I am at the unearthing damage part. It’s pretty hard. It’s a bit disorienting. I need more time than ever for quiet contemplation. I did not think of this when I went on vacation recently, what it would be like to be with my family 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I found myself very anxious, feeling simultaneously vulnerable and aware of my own destructive powers to lash out and hurt others. Don’t get me wrong, parts of vacation were wonderful. But I had some difficult times. I found that I did better when I took breaks from my family to write my blog on the public library computers. I think my family appreciated the space from my anxious emissions of unpredictable solar flares.

I felt considerably less anxious after I returned home but as is typically true, John and I are working to re-connect with each other. We are both empathetic and sensitive people. Just as our moments of happiness are highly contagious, so is our anxiety, anger, and sadness. Our daughter is the same way. Fortunately, we all love and like each other and will rally to get things back on track.

I have been disappointed in myself. But today I remind myself that it is difficult to look into the sun, even if only looking at the edges as are visible during an eclipse. I have found that in the past, as I’ve examined my thoughts and feelings about other issues, time and time again, through mindfulness, I get an objective distance while still feeling connected to myself.

Many years ago, John and I camped in Shenandoah National Park. We happened to be there during major meteor showers. I had never and have never before seen anything like it.  We laid down side by side both looking up at the sky, full of stars, moving stars, cascading stars, tumbling stars, one after another. Many of those stars were as powerful as our sun. Many were likely more powerful than our sun. But the distance allowed us to look right at them, fully engaged with the wonder, the power, and the beauty of the sky.

That is the image on which I will meditate. Perhaps some day, looking at myself will be like gazing at the heavens, looking up with wonder, the appreciation that not all can be understood in this life, and that this is the way it should be.