Lessons Learned During the Eclipse
I got my hands on a pair of glasses and ventured outside yesterday to watch the solar eclipse. I was at work, in the courtyard of my building, and I was surprisingly alone in the viewing. I say surprising, because I thought that many people would be at least marginally curious and we would gather together, like during a fire alarm or other event that gets people out of their offices. I was disappointed to be alone, but that time allowed me to be with my thoughts, which I don’t take the opportunity to do as often as I’d like to. As I sat there watching the gentle progress of the moon covering the sun, I thought about the parallels to relationship, and specifically, the relationship between parent and child.
I think all of us can relate to a feeling of being shadowed, but it might be more difficult to think about when you shadow someone else. For the purpose of this posting, I am thinking about this overshadowing as an attempt to hurt or humiliate another person.
In our best selves, it’s easy to see that we don’t want to act that way, but what about when we’re overtired, stressed, anxious, or otherwise compromised? It’s something to think about.
When do we block someone else’s light from shining?
Think specifically about parenting. Do you ever dim the light of your child?
I think it’s important to think, not only about overt ways we might do this, but also about more subtle ways in which we talk about or to our children. It’s also important to think about how we allow our children, if we have more than one, to speak to each other.
Do you have a rule in your family about how you show respect, even in times of conflict?
This little light of mine…
On the other hand, the dimming of the sun allowed for a different, unexpected kind of brilliance to emerge. The expectation that one might shine brightly 100% of the time is unrealistic, and sometimes as parents we have to moderate the amount we glow about our children, and help them through times when they are in shadow. It helps to have perspective about your own expectations and how you handle disappointment, so that you can help to navigate these rough waters with your child. Growth and character development occur during mistakes or hardship. These moments in shadow really are necessary and brilliance forming.
It was a wonderful moment to take to be with the universe yesterday, and an unexpected gift to be alone in thought. I think the greatest reminder that the eclipse offered for me was to slow down, and take time to notice the movement in the universe. Maybe, it was an opportunity to think about what we take for granted, to look at things through a new lens and to be reintroduced to the ever- changing constants in our lives.