Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Loving the Simple Moments

Originally published on the Kent Patch, June 4th, 2012.

It's summer now, by the school calendar (but still technically spring until the solstice!) and routines are changing.  Kids are at home, camp, grandparents, or a babysitter's, teachers are preparing for next fall, farmers are in full swing running between the field and the market, some businesses have new hours, and the library is open on Sundays.  This can be a stressful time, and for most of the families I know, it requires some careful planning, especially if summer activites like lessons or sports are involved.  When we have our routines, life is pretty comfortable.  One doesn't have to think much, just repeat what you did yesterday, right?  Changes tend to be difficult for humans.
At the same time, sometimes seeing things through a new perspective, or facing new challenges can help us grow and learn.  We never know how much we are capable of until we're forced to go a little further than we have before.  And routines can let us go a little too far into "auto-pilot" mode at times.  Autopilot is great for not having to think, but it's not so good for being mindful and observant, noticing what's going on around us. Finding the right balance between routine and change is important for most people to live their best.
Funny thing is, we humans aren't the only ones who need cycles as well as spontaneity.  The whole universe is built on this combination and finding that balance.
Today marks the full moon, specifically the strawberry moon by some accounts, or the last full moon before the solstice.  The moon phases are a great cyclical phenomenon.  They're predictable, constant, and familiar.
Tomorrow, June 5th, marks the Transit of Venus, visible in our area starting at approximately 6:04 PM EST and continuing until about 10 PM.  This is where we can actually watch the shadow of Venus pass across the sun as it travels in between us and the sun in straight line.  The entire transit will take six hours, but that pesky night sky will interfere with out view of the last four hours.  The transit is actually a cycle, but it won't recur for another 105 years.  For real spontaneity in the skies, think of meteorite showers which should appear in July and August.
Remember wether you're looking at the moon tonight, the transit* tomorrow, meteor showers later this summer, or a starry sky any clear night to break out of your routine a bit.  Try something new, push yourself a little harder, and never forget to take time to notice- really observe- what's going on around you.  Even if you have to schedule it.  If you don't, you might wake up one morning and realize that you're the only one that missed something extraordinary.

*A word of caution on this one- NEVER look straight at the sun without the proper equipment, which is shade #14 welder's glass.  If you don't happen to have those lying around, other options for making a home projector can be found here.

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