The month of March is my birthday month. Last year I celebrated my birthday for a week. I did something nice for myself every day. It was so much fun that this year I decided to celebrate for the entire month of March. Every day I plan at least one thing that feels nurturing in either body mind or spirit or some combination. For instance, I have practiced one hundred breaths of joy every day this month. Each day, usually in the morning I breathe 100 deep breaths through my mouth, imagining my breath beginning at the base of my spine and moving up to the crown of my head. In the beginning I would lose count and space out and it took a really long time. After a month of daily practice I can stay focused and it takes about 7 minutes. I feel energized and awake and yes, quite joyful. Some of my other treats to myself are a delicious bodywork session with singing bowls, a walk in the park, sculpting, lying on my living room floor with my face in the sun, laughing, and hanging out with dear friends. My favorite was having my daughter and son-in-law cook Gary and I a birthday meal at our house. Monnya is an inspired cook who makes gormet food that avoids all the many foods I am allergic to. I felt so loved.
I chose to spend the actual day of my birthday alone with no plans allowing myself to do whatever I wanted to all day. My intention was to be kind to myself about my choices. At one point I put my latest sculpture piece, the laughing woman, in the oven to soften her up and went to put some recycling outside and got distracted. When I came back in her arms had melted into the oven floor and there was smoke all over the kitchen. I spent almost an hour cleaning up the oven and I was able to be kind to myself. After a while it was even amusing and I was able to laugh. I became the laughing woman cleaning up the laughing woman. Hohohohohohohohohoho...
Afterwards I sculpted for two hours and felt very satisfied. I am learning to take care of myself better and be in a relationship. I have begun scultping again after almost six years of hiatus. On the day of my birthday I also did yoga, meditated and went for a lovely walk. In the evening I had planned to meet Gary and two close friends at Eldorado Yoga ashram for a yoga class and a chanting kirtan. I appreciated the opportunity to do something different than go out to dinner and to share that with people I care about so much. Gary was really sweet and made me a card and bought a cool balloon and flowers. I have been feeling moments of a heart full of gratefulness all month. In addition all of this love has brought up what isn't love and I have also felt angry and sad and scared. It seems most of my fears and doubts focus around Gary and sometimes I get very stuck. It takes a while to recognize that I have shut my heart down and need my own attention. It is so easy to get lost in the story that this relationship isn't what I want, even in my birthday month. I am getting more skillful at bringing myself back to the present moment in my circle and asking myself what I need. I know I need kindness, compassion and patience. For my birthday month I have practiced showing up for all of what I am feeling as skillfully or as unskillfully as I do.
So, would you like to adopt my practice? I encourage you to do nice things for yourself for whatever reason you come up with, or even better just because you are you. Happy birthday to me. Happy Birthday to you whenever it may be. I'm glad we were all born and get to spend this lifetime together learning and growing, crying and laughing. Love to all of you, Andrea.