Finally, I can look up at the stars

It’s 2 AM here in Thailand, and I can’t sleep.

It’s for a good reason this time. I feel content. At ease.

Normally when I can’t sleep it’s because I am anxious or worried about my future. Sometimes it’s because I’m unsatisfied with my day. Either I did too much of one thing (reading lipstickalley), or not enough of another thing (like being creative). 

Right now, I feel overwhelming peace. 

I feel so calm, it’s jarring. And I am not sure what to do with it. 

It reminds me of my 27th birthday. We spent it in Big Sur, California. We rented out an Airbnb on this beautiful private property. It was out of a storybook. There was a massive fire pit, tree-lined walkways, herb gardens, even a sauna. I remember thinking “wow with enough money, you can buy a piece of Eden” because it felt like that there. We could only afford to rent this property for one night. Ok correction, we could only afford to rent the small, quaint cottage they had on-site. 

The main house was stunning. At that point, I had never been near a house that perfect… It was a modern mansion perched on a cliff overlooking the Pacific. It was probably featured in Architectural Digest.

They had these two enormous outdoor copper tubs, situated in the middle of a clearing, with no trees blocking the view of the sky. That evening we decided to go for a hot midnight soak. In the cottage, before we even stepped foot out the door, I was so nervous. It was pitch dark, midnight, and was basically in the middle of a national forest. I remember the panic I felt to open the doors to the darkest night I’d ever seen (city kid), scared the lantern would malfunction while walking to the tubs, terrified a random mountain lion would eat me. I was consumed with fear… of the unknown. 

I was just so frightened of anything unfamiliar. My partner talked me up, encouraging me like I was a warrior going off to battle.

Somehow… I was able to reach the tub. 

Managed… to fill it up with hot water. 

Overcame… my fear of getting in the water naked (I wanted to be clothed if I had to run for my life). 

& Eventually… I turned off my lantern. 

As soon as the lantern was off, my eyes only saw darkness. 

I vividly remember the contrast between the heat of the water touching my skin and the cold air all around me. I also will never forget how overpowering the night was. 

I shut my eyes immediately. I kept my eyes close for at least two minutes. My partner had no idea my eyes were closed because it was dark. 

So, for two minutes, as he ooh’d and ahh’d and described how bright the stars and moon were, I pretended I was seeing what he was. During what I knew could be a potentially life-changing experience, I kept my eyes shut. My hands were tightly bracing the sides of the tub. I was ready to leap out at any minute and sprint to our small, safe, and warm bungalow.

My act only lasted for a few minutes, because eventually, he sensed I was not okay. 

He said, “nagi are you okay”

I debated lying but knew it would be pointless. 

So, I said “no, my eyes are closed” 

He said “babe, you have to see this, please” 

I said “no, I’m too scared” 

Then I remember him saying “babe just look up, for a second”

I shook my head to say no, even though he could not see me.

Then he said “please…just open your eyes…lookup. Please”

I trust him, so I did. 

I opened my eyes.

& it was remarkable. 

I remembered the stars were like glitter in the sky. 

There were so many. 

I never saw a sky so beautiful up until that point. 

The sky was expansive, wide, and it felt close to me. 

I felt like the sky was mine.

There were this peace and knowingness. 

I remember feeling like I was part of the constellations. 

It sounds weird but everything made sense. 

Things suddenly felt big but small at the same time. 

I also felt completely alone but surrounded. 

My soul was open. 

& I was completely exposed. 

My feelings overwhelmed me. 

My heart was pounding so hard in my chest, I could feel it in my throat. 

My fear came back because of what I felt inside, I could not take.

I could not take…

the light, 

the hope, 

the brilliance of the stars, 

the feeling of looking forward, 

the feeling of excitement and expectation

Back then I was not able to process this stuff. 

I could not sit in something so magnificent and allow myself to enjoy it. 

I probably only took in the sky for two minutes at most.

As my heart shuddered, my fear turned into anxiety, and then panic. I needed to leave. I needed to escape back to my bed under, my covers. I told my partner “this is too much for me” and I ran back. 

As I write this I am reminded of that night. That night I was not able to receive light as I can today. Back then I was not able to sit with being at peace and allowing myself to be calm. Now I stay up because I am excited about what tomorrow holds. The Great Conjunction brought some surprises, good ones, the best ones.

Tonight, when I realized I was not going to sleep because I was excited about tomorrow, I allowed myself to feel it. I did not force myself to sleep and bury my feelings. Instead, I got out of bed, walked through my living with the moonlight as my guide, opened the porch doors to the dead of the night, rested in my hammock, and allowed myself to feel the excitement. This time without fear, I was able to keep my eyes open and look up at the stars.

2 Comments

  1. I totally love this story Nagee. I felt like I was right there with you. And it is so true the night sometimes feel full of terror of the unknown. Old folks used to say, “night don’t got eyes “I remember several years ago in Lakeport, California watching the night sky’s for any signs of shooting stars at the time of the Geminid Meteor shower. I was overwhelmed by watching five sets of shooting stars dying across the sky. Amazing!!! I felt like I was a grand prize winner. I had this perfect opportunity to observe an event that took place every year and I didn’t miss it ,not this time. I was like a giddy child..I guess that’s the glory and blessing of the unknown and the unexpected.

    Like

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