Transitions take time. Change does not happen in an instant. Often the process is slow, at times painful and confusing. Other times it can be exciting and refreshing. The only sure thing is that it happens. Sometimes we don't even notice. I don’t think I did. Yet now I realize it and in hindsight it seems so clear. The last year has been a major transition period for me. I’ve never paid much attention to astrology. That’s some hippy dippy shit if I ever saw any. But I’m in to plenty of other hippy dippy things. I’m pretty hippy dippy overall.
Today is the total eclipse. And it personally marks an auspicious coinciding of things. Of big things. A few months ago, I came out to the Pacific Northwest and found myself struggling through one of the deepest low points of my life. It was here that the transition began its end. Not knowing what to do and having nothing but time on my hand, I drove as far west as I could go. I reached the Pacific Ocean for the first time in my life. As I drove, late in the afternoon, I had the feeling that I was chasing the sun. The hippy dippy emo kid in me loved that metaphor. I decided to consciously make the effort to chase my sunshine. I needed to find my light again, and let it back out into the world. Because for the past year or so it has been locked up and hidden away.
I have always had an affinity for the darkness. We all have it inside. Some of us run from it. Some of us run toward it. Some of us just run along side it. When I was younger, I wrote and played a lot of music. It was my therapy. And the music tended to be sad, nostalgic, full of yearning, but also hope. I remember one day my father telling me that I wrote good music, but that I should try to make it sound happier. I tried, but it just didn’t come. Now, I would say I have generally been a really happy person. It’s just that I always had my dark side close by. It has been a close friend. Sort of an indulgence. I believe that we have much to learn from our darker sides. The shadows hold the secrets of the light. And without one, we cannot have the other.
A few years ago, I sat outside a cafe in Moab, UT. My wife and I were on what was supposed to be our epic summer road trip, the trip that was meant to bring us back together after a busy few years of work and school so we could reconnect with our love and start a family. It was not going as planned. We were fighting a lot as the stresses and realities of getting back to work and the real world pressed on us from all sides. I was faced with a decision. It was about a job. A risky job, with little to no pay, but the promise of a challenge and adventure, and maybe one day a big payoff. I knew in that moment, that if I said yes to the job, it was potentially going to push our relationship to the edge. I had no idea what would happen at that edge. We would arrive, teetering back and forth, risking certain death for a chance at saving everything. I honestly did not know how it would work out, but I knew we had to go there. As I sat in the morning sun, sipping a coffee, I was mesmerized by a wind spinner decorating the lawn of the cafe. As I stared, the two opposing wheels began to move together, giving off a sense of stillness. Then as the winds began to shift, I knew that they were about to switch directions. The two wheels spin one behind the other creating a spiraling effect. Depending on the directions in which they spin, it appears to spiral either inward or outward. The wheels had come to a stop and I could tell that they were about to start moving again. I told myself, if they caught the wind just right, and began to spiral outward, I had to move into that expanding place, into that entirely new realm. It was like starting into a vortex opening wider and wider, an ever expanding window into the possibility of the world. I knew that taking this job was going to require us both to step out of our comfort zones and into a world full of both risk and possibilities. And as the winds shifted, the wheels began to spin, creating the illusion of an ever expanding spiral. I made the choice. I knew I was risking our marriage. It wasn't even about this particular job, it was about taking a risk in general. It was about approaching the edge of everything we knew and seeing where we landed. I made that choice for the both of us.
A few months later, we decided to file for divorce. Shortly after that, I got my first real job as a mountain guide. The job that sparked this all was soon left behind, along with all the remaining ties to my previous career. There were ups, there were downs. Overall though, it seemed to be working out in my favor. I was lucky to have the distraction of launching into a new career to keep my focus off of the fact that I was leaving a seven year relationship. As time went on, the pain of that separation increased. And the string of good fortune around the career change tapered out. Things got hard. Money got tighter and tighter. Working in the mountains day after day was a hard adjustment for my body after nearly eight years of working behind a desk. The work and training got more demanding and difficult. It has been the most challenging year of my life. The closer I got to living my dream, the harder it seemed. The more I questioned whether I really wanted it. The universe was testing me, and I was not sure I would pass.
Yet I continued to follow my heart, even when its voice was impossibly faint and unclear. I had committed to a path when it was screaming at me and all I could do was stay on that trajectory and trust that it would lead me where I need to be. The past year has been a transition period, from one life, to another. Looking back it seems so obvious that it has all been part of a transition. Throughout it all though I was being attacked by fear on all sides. I was blinded by all the things that could go wrong, and a yearning for the good things I had in my past. I was sad, I missed my home, my wife, my dogs, my stable job… all of my stability. Rather than seeing it as a time of transition, I expected the change to come quickly. And I was discouraged by the reality.
I woke up to all of this suddenly, and recently. And this is what the eclipse means to me. It marks the end of this transition, and the beginning of a new phase. Tomorrow I start the first of my advanced level training and exams to become a certified Mountain Guide. I am back in the Pacific Northwest, a place that grows more special to me each time I come. I just began a new aspect of my career, working as a sales rep for an inspiring new climbing gear company and I am finding out that I really enjoy the work and seem to be pretty good at it, despite never having sold anything in my life. I finally make my living (barely at times) working as a guide and doing what I love. My ex-wife is moving back to the midwest after us both having lived in the same relatively small town since we split up. We recently repaired our relationship and I joyfully consider her a good friend. I am reconnecting with my yoga practice, something I loved so strongly and have all but abandoned over the past year. And there is love. So much love. Overwhelming love. Love I haven't felt in years. And it is not fleeting. The shadows are gone, for now at least. I will always respect the darkness, in ways I love it. Right now though, it is time to make more room for the light. We have to keep our eyes on where we want to go, not where we don’t want to go. There is power in manifestation. A very special someone left me with a wish, that I am sending on to all the rest of us…
May the moon’s shadow chase away your darkness. I would add, so that you may freely chase your sunshine.