On this day, the first day of my 37th year on this earth (at least in this lifetime), I find myself reflecting on the addition of one more year to my life. By all accounts, this in between year is an insignificant birthday in that its number is greater than 35, but not quite 40. This birthday is significant, however, in that it is a celebration of my life. A celebration of my health, my success, my failure and above all else, a celebration of the fervor with which I choose to live. I am filled with such a deep sense of gratitude and impassioned excitement for what each day will bring, that I sometimes don’t know where to put it all. Maybe this is why I find such tranquility in hugs. Hugs are a way for me to express my love and happiness. To hug me, is to know me. If I can hug someone and share this bundle of brightness and light that I am carrying around with me, then maybe I can bring some warmth and sunshine to someone else’s day.
The lotus flower is a symbol of transformation. The roots of the lotus originate in the mud, the stem grows through the water and the flower lies pristine above the water basking in the sunlight. The pattern of growth signifies the progress of the soul from the primeval mud of materialism through the waters of experience and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment. If we embrace the more difficult times in our lives – the mud, then the lotus can grow from it. Without mud, there is no growth, no lotus and no flowering.
I am, at the turning of 37, the healthiest and strongest (both mentally and physically) and the happiest that I have ever been in my entire life. And I can say this with complete truth and authenticity. No, I do not have everything I want and I am beginning to see signs of my age, such as the sprouting gray hairs that seem to be growing with stealth precision in the most visible of places as well as the lines extending out sideways from my eyes. I could choose to focus on these inconveniences until they drive me stark raving mad, but I find myself staring back at myself and what I realize is that those gray hairs and those pesky lines in my face are the total sum of my life’s experience, both the pain and the bliss. I have slogged through the mud to be here, to be in this space and time. And I choose to embrace everything.
There is a perceived expectation out in conventional society that I somehow must be like everyone else… married with a bundle of children. In no way, shape or form, am I like everyone else. I trust that the universe has a plan for me and that I am exactly where I am meant to be at this moment. I have always walked a bit off the beaten path, letting my heart and my imagination guide me. I am fiercely independent, marching to the beat of my own drum, wandering the earth with my feet planted firmly on the ground so that my head may kiss the clouds and allow me to taste every new experience and approach every new encounter with eyes wide open. A dear friend affectionately refers to me as outlaw. I have never asked why, but I smile with unabashed certainty that the
moniker is appropriately befitting.
I am swimming in the waters of my life’s experience so that I may shine out above the surface and blossom into whatever I am meant to be. Swimming is where the good stuff lies. Happy birthday to ME!