|By Mundoo using the Creative Commons License|
I recently came across a piece in Scientific American regarding the galaxy cluster Abell 2744, which astronomers have dubbed Pandora’s Cluster because it contains so many unusual phenomena. In order to produce a complete image of Abell 2744, astronomers used an arsenal of telescopes to explain Pandora’s strange and messy features. Well, it turns out it’s actually the result of a simultaneous collision of four separate galaxies clusters.
I had my own strange and messy collision recently. On route to running weekend chores, the Hubby and I exchanged some brutal words. A routine car ride abruptly became a He Said/She Said shit storm that shattered and tattered feelings, egos and trust. And like a mature adult, I capped off our marital eruption with the silent treatment.
The Hubby and I have our differences. We come from different backgrounds, have different perspectives, different communications skills. Given these differences, I have always focused on unveiling our own histories and abnormalities, or as lead researcher Julian Merten put it, “how different types of matter interact with each other when they are smashed together,” for the sake of pointing out the wrong. So what does our recent cosmic pile-up say about me and our relationship?
I acted stupid.
Following our blowout fight, I disengaged, went my separate way, let my ill feelings fester. The Hubby repeatedly tried to apologize but I refused. Yes, I was angry, hurt and frustrated. But honestly, I behaved stupidly. I have to fess up to my own foolish tendency— to blame others for my own unhappiness.
It’s easy to point the finger at people that did me wrong. To engage in ongoing, petty dramas and hold on to silly grudges. Really, if I search hard enough, I can find somebody or something to blame. This is not to say he was faultless. Sure, he was wrong. But how is holding on to anger going to solve anything? All it does is isolate us further from each other. Interestingly, Pandora’s complex collision appears to have separated out hot gas and dark matter so that they now lie apart from each other, and from the visible galaxies. This puzzling arrangement may be telling astronomers something about how dark matter behaves.
Why collide, explode and separate? Because it’s familiar, comfortable and hell of a lot easier than changing. Change is hard! Unfortunately, Life is a stage that requires its actors to be front and center, not in the far back seats. Because at the heart of change is connection, intimacy, love. Change implies constantly evolving to connect with each other on deeper levels. To see past all our differences, messes and abnormalities, and to focus on a stronger energy.
So yes, there will be many, many, many more collisions and without a doubt unusual and stupid phenomena in our future. But I will keep believing in those invisible, cosmic threads out there in the universe that connect us all.