I recently received a letter regarding the piece I wrote over 7 years ago "Today I am 37". The person was turning 67 and shared that she had never experienced anything like this but decided this was the only birthday gift she wanted: a day to unfold moment by moment and to be present to it all with a sense of wonder, joy and awe.
May you know the beauty of this day whatever it brings.
Unexpected joys lie in any moment we are present.
HAPPY DAY to you...HAPPY LIFE to you!
Today I am 37
“She was learning to love moments. To love moments for themselves.” —Gwendolyn Brooks
Today I am 37 years old. This is the first birthday that I can remember having to actually think about my age. Most of my life, I anxiously anticipated being older so much that I would start to say I was the age I was going to be on my next birthday. I am not the same person I was this time last year, and I don’t anticipate being the same person next year that I am now. I live my life at a different pace with various textures that continue to shape me into something new, something more.
Living more in the past and in the future than in the present over the last 13 years, I had to leave behind this way of life that had left me rushing to get to the future or incessantly visiting the past in an attempt to figure it out or fix it. It was difficult to leave the chaos behind. The past was familiar, and I took pride in how well I thought I had overcome it. People thought that I had it all together, but if they could have entered my mind for 5 minutes, they would have been exhausted and possibly disturbed by the endless chatter of doubt, worry, and more worry.
Here I am, no longer young but far from old. It is dawn, and I am basking in the glorious sunrise. The day is breaking, and the sky is a work of art reminding me that this is a new day. The sky has never been exactly as it is in this moment, and neither have I. As I watch the autumn sky over the tree line, I am energized. The white clouds are layered with purple and gray, accenting the brilliant rays of light boldly shining through. Perfection. The rays burn brighter as they break through the clouds. We are like this when we refuse to let the dark times overshadow our light. It may appear to be easier to hide behind the clouds, but it is necessary and natural to let our light shine.
Pausing to observe the day breaking is a gift for me. My heart slows, and a sense of peace washes through my body. I gratefully accept the gift of this moment and whatever the moments of this day bring. Life is as wondrous as the sunrise. This makes me smile and silently say, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, God!”
The garbage men are busy, but even the sounds of breaking bottles and smashing trash can’t take away my peace. These sounds are merely background noise in my life, like the clock ticking, the birds singing, the house creaking. Peace cannot be altered from external factors; it can only be altered within us. This is a grand way to be in the world!
There is no to-do list playing through my head taking me out of this moment. There is no overscheduled day to rush me out the door. There is no phone ringing to pull me away. There is no “You’ve Got Mail” popping up on my computer to fill me with a sense of obligation. There is only this moment. In this moment, I get to be.
The challenge for me and all of us is to maintain this sense of peace that can only be found within ourselves while “doing” what we do throughout our days. Do we bark at the first person who calls us for disturbing our peace? Do we resent the person who cuts us off and carry that anger with us throughout the day? Do we shove down our feelings instead of expressing ourselves? We can’t hide from the world, but we can choose how we live in it. Choose to return to peace no matter what life presents. There is an endless supply within each of us. Happy Birthday to me and Happy Day to you!
Meditation: Do you ever allow yourself a day that unfolds moment by moment? What would that feel like? Are you consumed with thoughts and tasks from the time you wake up until you go to bed? What does that feel like?
Action: Carve out a day for yourself (I highly recommend your birthday!) and let it unfold moment by moment. Turn off the ringer on your phone. Don’t get on the computer. Just be with yourself and the day.