Becoming the sun

Sun and Leaves

A decade or so back, dur­ing a strange and dif­fi­cult time, I paid a visit to a ther­a­pist who came well-recommended by friends. While I remem­ber very lit­tle of the ses­sion a sin­gle line from our con­ver­sa­tion has haunted me for years. “You’re like the moon, and you need to be like the sun!” His voice car­ried both urgency and what struck me as exas­per­a­tion, and at the time, it left me reel­ing, baf­fled, and not a lit­tle chastened.

You need to be like the sun. What was he talk­ing about? It was all that I could do at the time sim­ply to keep afloat.

I left the office feel­ing over­whelmed. I never went back. Still, the fiercely spo­ken words some­how stayed with me. Over time, they came to serve as a sort of koan in times of dis­tress and doubt. Over time, I began to lis­ten, to ask what they have to teach me.

The moon takes on reflected light. The sun gives out its own. That was the first and most obvi­ous asso­ci­a­tion. Often the image rises up as I pon­der a rela­tion­ship, espe­cially as I make (not always suc­cess­ful) efforts to choose more wisely.  What am I hop­ing to draw from another that I might become the source of? And this becoming-the-source-of, how might, I go about that?

I’ve been in a bit of a slump dur­ing the past week, hard to say exactly why. There are rea­sons — there are always rea­sons  – but some­times they fade to the back­ground, while at oth­ers (now for exam­ple), they take cen­ter stage.  Maybe it’s the heat wave of the past few days. Or com­ing to the end of a big project, with space open­ing up on the other side, yet to be filled. Maybe it’s the fact that I need to move house and have yet to fig­ure out where. Maybe it’s a cer­tain kind of alone­ness that’s been weigh­ing on me lately, cou­pled with a sad­ness around sev­eral friend­ships appar­ently on the wane. Most likely it’s a com­bi­na­tion of these things and likely oth­ers too.

You’re like the moon, and you need to be like the sun. Yes, it’s about giv­ing off light but also, I find myself think­ing now, about occu­py­ing the cen­ter, not revolv­ing around. I’m at the cen­ter of my own life. The sun is at the center.

© 2012, amy gut­man. All rights reserved.

11 thoughts on “Becoming the sun

  1. Pingback: Metrics to the rescue | Plan B Nation

  2. And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
    And if there is no room upon the hill
    And if your head explodes with dark fore­bod­ings too
    I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.“
    Snakebite recently posted…This Was Banned???My Profile

  3. How dare any­one tell the moon she should be the sun?!!!

    It is her nature to wax and wane. She is dif­fer­ent from the sun, and that is pre­cisely why we need her. How should we sur­vive the heat and glare if we did not have the wise moon to give us respite and romance? The moon has always rep­re­sented the essence of womanhood.

    Was that ther­a­pist a man who thought every­one should be like him? Or per­haps like that sun he thought he should be? He didn’t mean it as a com­pli­ment, but I take “You are the moon” as a high compliment.

    The sun is one kind of strength — or maybe twenty-seven — but there are other pow­ers. The power to return from dark­ness is a dif­fer­ent kind of strength — one that the world must have to sur­vive. The power to light the night gets us all through; it gives the dark­est times their own glow­ing luminosity.

    The moon should be the sun? Balder­dash. The moon should be the moon. We need her. We love her.

    • What a fas­ci­nat­ing response, Penny — and also fas­ci­nat­ing that I’ve never thought of this before, though of course, being a yoga girl, I know a lot of the moon lore.

      Per­haps the harsh dis­missal was part of why I reacted as I did–leaving not to return. At the same time, I do think, harsh­ness aside, there was some­thing impor­tant for me in what he said. (Harsh­ness is never help­ful, though, in fair­ness, it did get my atten­tion.) I hear the words as call­ing forth an inter­nal self suf­fi­ciency, akin to the Bud­dhist exhor­ta­tion to be a light unto your­self. Also, the being at the cen­ter thing, which struck me today. Ulti­mately, it seems to me, it’s about bal­ance–& there are times when invok­ing the sun feels right and empow­er­ing to me.
      amy gut­man recently posted…Becom­ing the sunMy Profile

  4. I absolutely under­stand where you stand today. I have been there and done that, as most of have. You artic­u­lated it beau­ti­fully. I also have dis­cov­ered some cool tools to enhance what I do. It is about being in the ques­tion via and was brought to me to at just the per­fect time. I had a huge “crack­ing open” last sum­mer and had pretty much inte­grated it. How­ever, I was left with an empty feel­ing. What next? Where do I go from here? Appar­ently the uni­verse heard me :) It always does and I could receive pre­cisely because I had no idea about what direc­tion to go in. I lis­tened to my guid­ance and con­tin­ued to do what I was doing, try­ing to be in the moment and then my sign-dandelion seeds and the trail led to Access Con­scious­ness (smile) If you want to know more please feel free to e-mail me or just check it out for yourself-even bet­ter!
    Go For Your Joy!

  5. As I noted on my face­book repost­ing, “I was deeply moved, and gen­tly but directly re-centered, by Amy Gutman’s lat­est post in Plan B Nation, “Becom­ing the Sun” …” You’re a pow­er­ful source of soul-rectifying energy, Ms. Gutman.

    • Thank you so much, Peggy. This time, sim­ply writ­ing the post didn’t lead really put me in a dif­fer­ent place (unlike what hap­pened, effort­lessly, with 40 ways to appre­ci­ate a kid­ney stone) but what *is* start­ing to shift things for me is the affirm­ing sense of con­nec­tion that comes from being heard–from know­ing my words really landed. You’ve been a big part of that from the start–indeed from long before I launched the blog. I am so grate­ful for that. :-)
      amy gut­man recently posted…Becom­ing the sunMy Profile

      • I (in my most lunar-like man­ner) wish to reflect your state­ments right back to you, Amy — you have been an inspi­ra­tion to me since I met you — and I’m so pleased to be able to share your voice with oth­ers — shine on!

    • That is so true! I think about that a lot. So many of my posts & essays begin with seem­ingly ran­dom mem­ory scraps that unfurl into much more. One of the great things about blog­ging is finally hav­ing a way to piece such things together. It’s also why my Twit­ter han­dle includes the descrip­tor “intel­lec­tual col­lag­ist.” :-)
      amy gut­man recently posted…Becom­ing the sunMy Profile

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