Posts Tagged ‘personal growth’

My birthday approaches, and I’m not ashamed to say I’m about to turn forty-five.  It’s a rather astonishing number to me, and I’m not quite sure how I got here.

A friend recently remarked that I look more like thirty-five, and I’m just vain enough to say that was flattering.  She went on to say that I act more like I’m eighteen.  I responded by saying that I probably do act more like eighteen now than when I actually was eighteen.  It’s not about the numbers, it’s about the mental and emotional state of being.

We have a vast range of mental and emotional states that shift from day to day, or even minute by minute.  I recall spending my late-teenage through twenty-something years feeling terrified, depressed, overwhelmed and unhappy.  Those feelings were really the themes of my life at that time, and I’m so grateful to say that I grew out of that.  I grew up, and grew into myself.  It was not until I hit my early thirties that I really truly began to look at myself from the inside out.  On the surface I really did not like what I thought I knew about myself; and unfortunately through the experience of an alcoholic family and many other interpersonal issues, I had learned more about how not to love myself.  It took me a very long time to learn how to practice unconditional love on myself.

It’s really easier to love others — those who love and support me are the best.  It’s easy to love externally, much easier than loving the inside.  So I went to therapy, went for the self help books, went to church to find something, and went to friends to find confirmation or affirmation.  All of those things were helpful and I slowly moved forward.

Then one day I was on the phone with a friend, and as we closed the conversation, she said “I love you.”  Before I even realized it, I said “Well, I love me too.”  My friend laughed uproariously and said that’s what I want to hear.  I thought “Wow, I really do love myself.”  I felt some arrival had happened or a sense of accomplishment had been achieved.  It was a “light bulb moment” for me.

Now, many years later I find myself with another gift of love.  As I reflect and contemplate upon my birthday, and all the years that came before, and what could be in the years to come, I’m so grateful for all of the growth, gifts and blessings.  I am surrounded by people who are sharing the gift of witnessing our lives together.  I’m so blessed with friends, loved ones, students, colleagues in the arts and healing fields and people with whom I exchange moments of deep connection.  These are the best gifts and make my life richer.  I do believe that everything I experience from others, is a reflection of that which I am.

So when I go hang out with my friend Martha and she feeds me great food and we break out in silly songs or fits of giggles like we are teenagers again, that’s me and that’s her.  That’s the spontaneous joy that I let loose with once in a while.  When I meet a fellow artist like Barbara Evans of Crystal Wings Healing Art, who has an amazing way of using art and healing to help people and the planet, I’m so inspired.  But I realize that as inspired as I feel, someone else can find that inspiration through me too.  When my Guide Dog, Parker nuzzles me and throws himself joyfully into my lap, how can I not feel the unconditional love from this being?  And so he teaches me that this is what he sees in me.

Forty-five is just a number, but I get to look around at my life and see these amazing reflections of myself.  Another friend has a great thought about birthdays, he says that birthdays are the completion of another trip around the sun.  I have a rich and beautiful life and I love traveling around the sun on this our dear planet Earth, with all of the beings on it.  What better gift can you have than to see yourself reflected back in your friend’s joy and laughter?

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