Sunday, October 12, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me!

My birthday was this last Monday.  I woke up with a kaleidoscope of butterflies in my stomach.  These weren’t the frail, winged beauties of insecurity and fear that set up butterfly housekeeping for what seemed like too many years. This time the flutter inside, was a celebration of another year of life.  Time to get up and dance in the day.  Wow.  I’ve lived this long and gathered a lifetime of enough material to create quite a tome; part Running with Scissors, part Raiders of the Lost Ark, with a spattering of Nicholas Sparks-ish tear-jerkers tossed in for my  hopeless romantic heart.  A well-worn life for sure; comfortably broken in by now.  Through time and healing, the set-backs and suffering have become simply distant, impartial memories to entertain me in my rapidly approaching golden years. 

When the butterflies and I settled into a meditative state, I reflected on the extreme gratitude I feel to be alive after all these years.  Most of my family didn’t make it this far. A legacy of mean genes ended the lives of so many of my loved ones way too soon.  This left me questioning life’s fairness and a loving God. However, experience has also evolved my conception of God.  I no longer believe He sits up there doling out grace and mercy based on naughty and nice.  I’ve certainly pushed the envelope in my younger years, throwing caution and good sense off to the side in pursuit of exhilaration and adventure. The consummate rebel. A survivor.  Maybe it’s an extension of Grace that my Creator has saved me the heartbreak of dying with unfinished business at a much younger age.  I wouldn’t have to come back:  reincarnated, with a ginormous bucket list and a tick sheet of amends I needed to make.  I think my slate is clean now, and I’ve done about everything my heart thought I had to do - at least for today.  It’s been an extreme joy ride, although, I’ve been tossed off the roller coaster a time or two.  Looking back, even those periods when the shattered me was recouping and healing yet another failure, big disappointment, or  broken heart;  those moments  proved every time to be meaningful lessons I just hadn’t quite mastered, and a reflective time in my journey.  I have changed. 

I pondered what I would tell me a decade ago if I could go back and have coffee with my mildly neurotic, totally insecure, people pleaser self.   Then, I decided I probably wouldn’t change a thing.  It doesn’t matter that this past decade has really been filled with hair-pin turns and a few poor choices that frequently rendering me disoriented and confused, wondering what to do next. It forced me to surrender and listen to something other than a mind puffed up, engorged with ego.   The voice within taught me (eventually) to stop charging past the red flags which always led me into the abyss of magical thinking. This past decade of remedial enlightenment has revealed why I fall into that abyss time and time again.  Ego said, “You’re  smarter now, hold onto your flags, you’ve earned them.  Just jump over that hole.”   Inevitably gravity, sucked me back in and I fell further in as the hole had grown larger over time because I always had to dig my way out.  I hope I have finally learned the lesson, the hole will always hold the same things, darkness, and delusion,  even when it’s camouflaged under prettiness, promises and pretense. Recently, it’s been this simple.  Red flags are there to warn me of the danger.  Steer clear.  Hole ahead.  Walk around.  Do not look back.  There is nothing meant for me there. 

So, what would I say to this little self-proclaimed guru who wears all her flaws, fears, and feelings on her sleeves?  What didn’t she seem to know a decade ago?  

I would say, “My sweet love, heart of my hearts, a few tips to navigate the remainder of this precious life. I know you have your lessons still to learn, but if you can keep these in mind, you will live out your days with a peaceful heart. A peaceful heart intimately knows God.” 

  1. You will never be skinny enough, smart enough, pretty enough, clever enough, talented enough, or rich enough, to suit anyone else.  Stop trying.  Be enough for you.  You have been given everything you need to make your life here matter. 
  2. You were born with an internal GPS to help you navigate your life and decisions. Learn to pay attention to the directions it calls out.  
  3. The absolute most precious moments in your life will be the quietest and the simplest.  Treasure and live in those. 
  4. People will treat you exactly how you give them permission to treat you.  
  5. Sleepless nights and worry are the biggest waste of time. Drink hot milk.  Pray. Watch old episodes of Big Bang Theory.  
  6. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive.  Yourself. Everyone else. In that order.
  7. Just get started.  
  8. Right foot. Left foot. Right foot. Left foot.  This will take you anywhere you want to go.
  9. Begin your day with a gratitude list.  End your day with a gratitude list.  
  10. Dream more. It’s free. 
  11. Treat yourself like you would treat the person you love more than life itself.
  12. Share where you've been and what you've learned, without fear.  Be authentic. 
  13. Whatever you water and nurture grows - relationships, friendships, your attitude, blessings, and hope. Fertilize wisely. 
  14. Take just about everything you see and hear with a grain of salt. Trade in judgement for the faith of a grain of a mustard seed.  
  15. Pretend you are the Divine for the day, and look at others through That Pair of Eyes.


17.  Be your own guru.  This in no way diminishes contributions others can make to the quality of your life and your personal growth.  It means, learn to trust yourself.  Your Voice is important.  Honor what it has to say too.  

On to the next decade.  One precious day at a time.