March 20, the first day of spring. Where I live, in Michigan’s state capital, it’s all about basketball, brackets and March Madness—so, as one who does not share the obsessions, I observe like an anthropologist. I’d rather geek out over other annual rites of spring, like ayurvedic cleanses and the soon-enough return of farmers’ markets.
I’ve been enjoying the attention paid to today’s springtime coincidence, which is certainly not an annual occurrence: a new moon, a solar eclipse and the equinox. I love the treatment that the ashtangi favorite The Yoga Comics gives to this day. See it here. (“The EQUINOX is here on March 20th 2015 and a powerful portal is opening up with a TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE and New Moon in Pisces on the same day! #theyogacomic by @boonchualliscoming #ashtanga #yoga”)
Ever since my husband blogged from Spain using Medium, I’ve been relishing the finds over there.
This piece via Medium by Emily Jacobi beautifully explores the celestial collision of coincidences:
And it so happens that the March equinox/eclipse of 2015 is the first in a series of four spring equinox solar eclipses that will repeat themselves this century, at 19 year intervals. 2015, 2034, 2053 and 2072 — each one of these years will see a solar eclipse — a process whereby our moon temporarily blocks the light of the mighty sun — coinciding with the first day of spring, the day when the sun evenly distributes its light across the planet’s hemispheres. This pattern will repeat itself again, but not until 2387, when there will be a series of five Vernal Equinox Solar Eclipses at 19 year intervals, lasting until 2463. Wow. Learning this fills me with awe.
In other words, we’re not just experiencing a one-off event on March 20th, we’re experiencing the start of a series which will shape the course of the 21st century, and won’t recur again until for 315 years. Through some grand geometric rhythm I can only begin to grasp, we are entering a new pattern of rotation (one that has happened before; one that will happen again) that will last the next 76 years, or about 3 generations, then disappear for three centuries. How often do we even consider things that far distant in the future? And yet what was happening at the time of the last spring equinox eclipse has profoundly shaped our reality today.
The essay goes on and uncovers whimsical fluctuations–give it a scan.
Last night, I finally finished a breezy book by physicist and novelist Alan Lightman called The Accidental Universe: The World You Thought You Knew. It’s gorgeous, and it has catapulted to become one of my favorite books. Take this passage, which comes after a discussion of how all matter behaves both like particles and like waves, and how the world of quantum physics “is so foreign to our sensory perception that we do not even have the words to describe it”:
It is an irony to me that the same science and technology that have brought us closer to nature by revealing these invisible worlds have also separated us from nature and from ourselves.
Lightman reflects on his walks in the park, and notices how many people walk while talking on their phones:
Where are their minds and bodies? Certainly not present in the park. Nor can they be located in the electromagnetic waves and digital signals flowing through cyberspace. Only their voices can be found at the other end of their conversations, in the offices and boardrooms and homes of the people they are talking to. They are attempting to be several places at once, like quantum waves. But I would argue they are nowhere.
Earlier this week, I wrapped up my sixth ayurvedic cleanse. I usually go through it with my Ashtanga Yoga: Ann Arbor crew, but they won’t be starting until April, and the dates don’t’ work for me. I began the cleanse just as the snow started to (finally!) melt in my part of Michigan. It was a badly needed cleanse. I (finally!) had time and energy to reflect on my own patterns. The ones in my physical body. The ones in my energetic exchanges with the world. The ones in my mental thoughts.
I am practicing primary series these days, for a mix of reasons. The discomfort of the areas I am working on/through right now have my attention in a big way. In working through all this, I realize that I am completely head over heels in love with the rhythm of the practice. It’s not that I’m ever far from this feeling, but I am just overwhelmed by how captivating the flow of this practice can be.
There is a line in a Radiohead song: “You are my center when I spin away.” Ever since that song was released, I’ve told my husband that he has always been that for me. And he always will be.
But other forces and other people have been compassionate enough to play a similar role in my life. My parents, my sisters. My yoga teacher. My practice. Unexpected life events.
On so many levels, with so many things, I’ve spun away and returned and told myself, “Never again.” But there is usually an again, just in a different way.
It’s a rhythm, and it’s the consistent daily practice that gives me a tool by which to observe this pattern–and a way to change it.