I am one of those people that love birthdays - mine and others - especially my loved ones. Acknowledging their unique place in my heart and my life, their growing brilliance to me, and saying thanks for making my life better are simply a joy to me. Each year since I have been on this healing journey, I have done something special on my birthday. This tradition began when I started to take responsibility for pleasing myself, for creating a uniquely “me” experience. This year, as I contemplated spending the anniversary of my birth, I decided that my personal celebration would be this - I intentionally would remain conscious of each moment as it passed, to the best of my ability. Wow, did I receive a huge gift! Remaining conscious during the moments as they pass is an interesting experience. What it really means, is that we develop our ability to be present to life as it passes. As we heighten our skill in this area, we engage the witness within, the part of us that can watch what we are experiencing as we live it fully. The way in which I have cultivated this skill and become quite proficient at it, has been through sitting meditation and Tai Chi, the ancient art of moving meditation. Both of these disciplines, over time, allowed me to cultivate the aspect of an inner witness to life. As I sit still and watch my breath or the stream of endless thoughts, allowing them to pass without attaching to them, as I move attentively through the slow and fluid movements of Tai Chi, my inner witness becomes strong and agile, can be called on moment to moment to pay attention to what is happening – right now! When the inner witness merges with the activity of the moment, a heightened sense of BEING emerges.
For me, on this birthday, as I consciously focused moment to moment on the experiences as they arrived, I could feel this heightened sense of being. It came as a sort of all over tingling, as giddiness about everything. Some might say it was like being a little high. But it was better than any substance induced altered state because it came naturally and organically from the experience of purely becoming one with the experience of each passing moment, a sense of dissolving into the now. My inner witness became my guide for the day, taking me into each experience with an awareness of here I am! Fully aware and engaged as I moved through the day - living in this meditation and morning gratitude, drinking my delicious morning tea, picking a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my garden to gaze at lovingly, rubbing the morning dew on my face as suggested by my dear friend, having a leisurely lunch outing with my son, sitting next to my beloved husband at dinner and feeling utterly grateful for a happy marriage and time together side-by-side, savoring each bite of my delicious chocolate dessert. Each activity being thoroughly appreciated for just what it was, not taking any moment for granted or letting it slip by unnoticed.
Yes, I have returned to normal living. But with the return, I carry the knowledge that I indeed can regain that sense and sensation at any moment I choose, by reminding myself that I am here. If I give myself fully to this moment, not partially by allowing distractions of other thoughts or worries weigh on my mind as I engage in the present activity, then I am indeed creating a peaceful present moment. Even when I am feeling sad about missing my children, or frustrated with something in my creative process, I feel this fully, with all of me, remembering that these feelings simply remind me of who I am, what I love and care about. I find I no longer get caught up in some old story attached to the feelings, but rather the feelings are purely experienced, and then I choose to go on to the next thing, knowing I am available to this moment to spend it just as I wish. Right now! Pay attention! As I have so often said in session with clients, when we are living this way, we are creating a beautiful life, moment to moment, consciously choosing each action, word and thought. This is our authentic power. This is a gift, birthday or any day.