Let it be!

This is the message being shouted at me as I reflect on my experience with “The Great American Eclipse” on April 8, 2024. 

I first heard about the eclipse at some point during the fall of 2023. Having witnessed totality back in 2017 I was eager to have that experience again. When I realized that my hometown was in the path this year I knew immediately that I wanted to travel back there for it.

I was so excited. I bought my eclipse glasses in December, nearly four months in advance. I made plans with my kids to stay with a bestie and her kids. I let family and friends know I was coming. I scheduled the time off work and I reminisced about the places I wanted to visit while in town.

Somehow, in the all of the excitement I forgot one of the main reasons I left my hometown in the first place–the sun rarely shines there! Literally and metaphorically.

By the time this occurred to me, plans were set. I remained optimistic about the weather, hoping for the best. I also told myself that no matter what happened, It will be great to see loved ones.

On April 7th we spent the day exploring an outdoor sculpture park, which was one of those placed I reminisced about and had been excited to visit again. It was a gorgeous day! The sun was shining in a cloudless, blue sky and the temperature was warm enough to enjoy being outdoors.

We scouted a spot for eclipse viewing–a peaceful, country road with wide open stretches of sky. We were ready.

The following morning the sky was partly cloudy. The sun kept trying to peak out, but as the day progressed the clouds increased. I kept checking the hourly forecast, still trying to stay optimistic but noticing a familiar feeling of disappointment creeping in. An old voice began chattering in the back of my mind, “of course,” it said, “nothing ever goes right for me.” 

That voice had been hovering for days at that point, activated by being back in a place that evoked so many complicated memories.   

Just at the moment we were heading out to view the eclipse,  the sky darkened and it started to rain. The voice in my head was very loud then, “well isn’t this great?! I came all this way, spent all this money to be here and this is what I get. Of course.” Sentiments like this echoed in my mind as I sat under an umbrella waiting for totality. “What’s the point? This is a waste of time, we’re not going to see anything.” I  had to use the Night Sky app on my phone to even have any clue where the sun was.

Then, I started noticing subtle shifts. The birdsong changed. The horses in the field began acting strangely. The air seemed to get heavier and daylight slowly started to fade. It was like someone dialed down a dimmer on the light of the world until we were standing in darkness. Darkness that resembled twilight–the magical “blue hour” (which also happens to be the inspiration for the name of my podcast). 

It was eerie and odd and I loved every second of it.

Then, just as subtly as it had darkened, the light slowly started to return. Within a matter of minutes, it was like nothing at all had happened. Yet, somehow, I felt different. The voice in my head had gone silent.

It returned about an hour later when the clouds parted and the sun came out, “figures. Why couldn’t this have happened earlier? It’s like a cruel joke.”  However, this time another voice chimed in, “it’s ok, this is exactly how it was supposed to be.”

During the days leading up to the eclipse, I felt like I was playing racquetball with my childhood trauma. Driving down certain roads shot a myriad of memories at me, which I had to quickly bat away to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Sadness loomed in the periphery, a ghost of the past that haunts me to this day.

It’s no wonder the voice of negativity was so loud on this trip. That voice formed in response to life circumstances that I had no control over when I was very young. The message it delivers is clear– keep your expectations low so you’re not disappointed. 

I don’t think it was any accident that all of this was rising to the surface during the eclipse. Old wounds were being brought up for healing, creating space for deep wisdom to emerge.

Here’s what the eclipse had to say:

The key isn’t to keep your expectations low, it’s to manage your attachment to the outcome.

We attach to an idea of how we think things should go. When that doesn’t happen we feel let down. But if we acknowledge that things could go many different ways and that we may benefit from an outcome other than the one we think we want, we’re able to accept whatever unfolds without feeling disappointed.

There’s wisdom in the darkness. 

Disappointment, sorrow, negativity, and pain are all opportunities to go deeper with oneself and with life. Rather than resist these experiences altogether, lean in and get curious about them. Pay close attention to what you notice in the darkness. This is where you will find your power, which you will then be able to express in the light.

Be fully here right now.

Pay attention to the present moment. Notice subtle shifts and simple joys. Good things aren’t always big, loud and dramatic. Sometimes blessings are humble and small. It doesn’t serve to live in the past or to try to predict the future. Do your best to simply be in this moment right now. This is here you’ll find peace and joy.

Broaden your focus.

Sometimes we fail to see the forest for the trees (or the landscape for the eclipse). Don’t get so caught up on a particular perspective that you lose sight of other important factors. Recognize what’s truly important in the grand scheme of things.

Stop trying to control.

Surrender. Trust the way things are unfolding. Let go and allow yourself to be led and guided. More often than not, what you think you want isn’t what you really want or need. There is an unseen order to things. Let it be.

Relationships matter most.

The people we love are more precious than anything. They’re more valuable than a good time, an interesting experience, a rewarding accomplishment or material wealth. It helps to stay focused on authentic and healthy connection. Love the ones you’re with.

Reflecting on these bits of wisdom is really helpful for the part of me that struggles to stay positive. It’s a loud and dominant part that doesn’t want me to feel the hurt I did as a child. Thankfully, I have access to the wisdom and confidence I need in order to offer comfort and healing to that part. Miraculously, guidance for this healing presents itself all the time, in small ways and also in bigger, more noticeable ways–like a huge, celestial event.

What did the eclipse say to you?

With Love & Compassion,

Adina Arden Cooper

I'm a lover, a guide and a supportive companion. An artist, an ally and an advocate. I help individuals connect more deeply with themselves and with others through shadow work. I believe that shared humanity is a powerful strength and that our stories connect us in beautiful and sacred ways. As I stumble, skip, or soar my way through this life, I invite you to join me on the journey. Likewise, I'm honored to travel with you. In witnessing one another, we find meaning.