Solar Eclipse – “Just Do It”

When I first had the idea to do something new each day, I figured I would start with a very long list of (say more than 365?) things that I could pull from. This thought was born from a fear of failing. Here were my painful thoughts: “What if I miss a day? What if I start with this goal, put it out there in the world, then everyone knows when I’ve failed?”

That’s not the point. If I do, I do. If I don’t, I don’t. The whole reason to do this is to live in the present not a projected future of what ifs. And if I’m existing in the present, my mind is freed to be its most innovative, problem solving self.

Today just so happened to be a solar eclipse. While Southern California is not in the belt of a total eclipse, we could still experience a partial one. The eclipse was not on my radar when I scheduled my client coaching sessions. So there was only a thirty minute window between clients at which point the eclipse would happen.

To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to experience it. Last night, when my husband asked if I was going to prep my camera, I told him that I wouldn’t have time in my schedule. The eclipse was to happen at 10:21 a.m. and I had a client session ending at 10 and another starting at 10:30. I just didn’t have time between writing notes on one session and prepping for the next. (Notice my limiting thoughts there?) So we watched Game of Thrones instead.

Upon waking this morning, I did a few meditative exercises and then realized that I could do all my prep work for my 10:30 before my 9 a.m. ever started. I told myself, if my 9 to 10 session ends on time, I’ll watch the eclipse. Sure enough, it ended only 5 minutes over.

“Ok,” I thought to myself. “Now what? I don’t have those special glasses, nor do I have time to create one of those shoebox-foil-paper things. How am I going to do this?”

I went to the NASA live streaming event to at least experience it virtually as I started Googling quick ways to view it. I stumbled upon someone’s post about doing a selfie and capturing it with your phone.

Now that is something I could do! And for extra measure, I got a piece of paper and punched a hole in it as my backup plan (per NASA’s suggestion). I grabbed my phone, my sunglasses, my laptop and my paper. If all else, I could take pictures on my phone of the shadows.

At about 10:17 I started taking selfies. Aside from a really unflattering angle on my no makeup face, my phone was not capturing the eclipse. I must be doing it wrong. Or so I thought. I tried focusing on the sun and it was just washed out. I tried different angles. Nope.

I must have taken more selfies in about 3 minutes than I ever have to-date. (I’m almost 38 so not quite my generation’s “thing”…yet I have a sneaking suspicion this blog will require a lot more selfies.) And then I noticed a teeny-tiny crescent sun on my sunglasses. AHAH! There you are! I was focusing on the wrong thing…I shouldn’t have been looking at the sun, I should have been looking for it on my face.

Day 1 Solar Eclipse
Reflection of a solar eclipse in my sunglasses.

And then it was magical. I watched the crescent get smaller and smaller on my right lens. Then all of a sudden it was gone, and then whoop, it popped up on my left lens. Whoa, that was cool. I looked at the time stamp on my computer: 10:21 a.m. WOW. So that’s how it happens, eh?

I was mesmerized with this tiny little reflection as the crescent then got bigger and bigger. I was so lost in the moment that I jumped when my alarm went off for my appointment. Thankfully, I could start the call while walking. And later as I swiped through all the selfies I’d taken, I realized it the crescent sun was in many of them…I just wasn’t looking in the right place.

What I learned from this experience? Don’t talk yourself out of doing something you’d enjoy just because you can find excuses not to. Nike has had it right since I was a kid, “Just do it.” And if it doesn’t go according to plan, that’s ok. It’s all an experience in being present. Be grateful for the missteps, too, they’re there to teach us.

Lesson #2? Just because you don’t see it the first time you look, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Look somewhere unexpected and that’s where you’ll find it!

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