Last Sunday evening, I had the honor of welcoming the solar eclipse through teaching a Yin and Yang yoga class at One O One Yoga in my very own hometown. After a summer of adventure abroad, there was nowhere else in the world I’d have rather been than sharing the practice I love with my original community, which just so happened to stand at the prime viewing spot in the zone of totality. My cozy hometown of roughly 25,000 outstretched its welcome arms to an additional 50,000 wandering sky-watchers for the nearly 2.5 minutes of daytime darkness when the moon fully masked the sun in total solar eclipse.
This eclipse boasted a multitude of meanings for those who experienced its eerie wake – everything from the sign of doomsday’s dawning to the benign metaphorical kiss of the moon and sun. Yet the most powerful and potent message that resonates with me is that of transformation. Our inevitable collective and individual change was the intention of my Eclipse Eve yoga class, and it was the thought that raced through my stilled mind midday Monday throughout the eclipse.
I witnessed the eclipse in the serenity of family, friends, and lifelong familiar faces near the sky-high top of our overflowed local Saluki Stadium. During the hour of expectancy, when the built-up anticipation grew wildly to an impassible peak, a grey blanket of a cloud came to cover the passing moon and sun. The thick summer sweat began to dry on my skin and the hairs of my arms came to stand with prickled goosebumps as a swift chill ran down my spine. The colors of the atmosphere melted from a pristine sky blue to a deepening purple with bands of red coloring the horizon in a 360° sunset. Suddenly the crowd became silent aside from a swift roar of cicadas.
When I gazed intermittedly through my black-tinted solar glasses at this rare natural oddity that surrounded me to contrast so sharply with the mundane monotony of small town life, I had the fleeting opportunity to reflect fully upon the trajectory of my own life. In what direction am I orbiting? How do my everyday actions serve the bigger picture of my dreams? How do my personal aspirations serve the world as a whole? Does my minute impact impart positive change to global health equity?
I felt in my chilled bones that despite the internal shifts I’d experienced from my time away from Southern Illinois, I was still fundamentally the same unchanged part of a larger community whole. My dreams are the unchanging rock at the core center of myself, and no matter how high I climb on my stairway to heaven, I can always step back to view my personal progression as well as that of the world around me in this permanent safe haven that I call home.
The divine diamond splendor as clouds cleared for the last ten never-ending seconds of the eclipse to reveal the moon cresting over the sun allowed me to realize the true depth of organic possibility on this planet – that just maybe each of our pie in the sky human dreams are in fact possible with a helping dose of passion. The intimacy of the metaphorical solar/lunar embrace evokes recognition of passion as the key ingredient in harnessing transformation, and in reigning in our ascent to our goals.
As I stand in the crossroads of my own life, I embrace transformation with the passion of my open heart. Still fresh off the plane from Asia, soon I’ll be soaring through the sky again to embark on my next chapter: A doctoral degree in Austria, in which I’ll be envisioning solutions for social peace through Migration Studies. Yet in the interim of these two journeys, I fixed my curious gaze fully present at the eclipse, thanking the sun, the moon, and my lucky stars for the divine imperfection of the world around me as we follow our never-ending, ever-evolving transformation, eyes newly awoken by the rebirth of sunlight.