Stars, Reality, and Perspective—and Loving Again

Photo credit by Aislinn Bailey; used with permission.

Originally published in Third Degree and Rising, 2007.

This is important for reasons I cannot yet fathom, except that I’m looking for what is real.

We’re so sure of what reality is. We gaze at the night sky, at what’s not visible in the glare of harsh light, and congratulate ourselves on seeing the reality that those stars are there, both night and day.

But is that reality? Some of the stars that we perceive as real burned out many generations before we were born. We may see the remaining light of long-dead stars that are no longer there. Or perhaps there are new stars there but their light has not yet reached us. And still other stars are too distant to be seen but burn the brightest.

But what is visible to us and to the rest of the world is not what’s real.

Here on this planet, we look up from its different corners at bears, hunters, dogs, and seven sisters in the sky and clearly see their fixed design as both our lovers and those who passed centuries before us have seen their fixed design in the sky. But the permanence of those designs depends on where you are in the Universe. The stars within those constellations are not clustered in animal and human shapes but rather, we have aligned them in our own points of view to make sense of them.

From Aldebaran, perhaps the Big Dipper appears as the Big Palm Tree. And from Antares, maybe those same stars line up in a different perspective as the Big Waffle Iron. Yet here on Earth, every inhabitant sees the pattern from where we stand.

Reality is not fixed. The patterns we’re accustomed to are not permanent. Some things look a particular way from where we are right now, both where we are in time and where we are in space. That doesn’t mean that it’s real.

These thoughts are important, but I don’t yet know why. They’re important in regard somehow to my ability to love again.

Once upon a time, I was determined not to let past wounds stop me from trusting again and loving again with an unguarded heart, and I put my heart on the line in multiple friendships and more and it was not reciprocated. I let myself get wounded again, and so I’m less inclined now to open my heart to the possibility of being loved as I am than I was a few years ago. My guard is up these days. I really do not like that it is, but it is, and that’s honest. That’s not saying that I’ve closed my heart, but just that I’m a bit more protective of it now.

Now I’m the one who needs the healing touch instead of soothing others’ pain while I leave my own heart wide open. Now I’m the one with the little birdcage bars around my heart.

Because I’m not sure which stars are there and which have burned out and which new ones have been born into a reality I don’t see right now. And I’m not certain yet of how to cluster those stars into a pattern I can recognize.

But I do have faith that it will happen.

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