I knew there was a way out. I knew there was another kind of life because I had read about it. I knew there were other places, and there was another way of being. — Oprah Winfrey
This is a true story.
I always disliked my birthdays.
I regretted the societal conditioning I struggled with internally that came with my day of birth.
There were the gifts, which I was supposed to desire, but I never understood the concept of receiving gifts for the day that you were born.
If you didn’t get a gift on your birthday, what did that mean? That your birth didn’t matter decades later? That nobody loved you? Or, if you got a gift you didn’t care for, did that mean you were an ingrate?
I get the human-constructed concept of the birthday. And I don’t.
I understood how men felt on Valentine’s Day when they had to buy a perfect gift for their, — I’m quoting Tony Robbins here — “lady” or suffer formidable wrath.
Yet, through the conditioning in my formative years, I was taught to expect the gifts and the well wishes. I always felt like the well wishes should have gone to my parents for surviving me during my high school years.
Birthdays became a war in my head. Half of me was looking and expecting. (Haven’t had any surprise birthdays yet, people.) The other half wished it was already the next day.
Oh, how those February 29 babies had it lucky.
Expectations are terrible, consciousness-warping deviants.
Every birthday I stuffed it in. If someone remembered the day my mom delivered me, I politely thanked them as I looked at my watch for the hours until the toll of midnight.
But as soon as the “I don’t need any attention” mental side had its say, the opposing faction shot back with, “I wish somebody would celebrate me more.”
I grew tired of myself.
Each of us was born into this matrix and learned to fit ourselves into it as best we could just to fit in and belong. We all struggle with this because we don’t really fit in to this movie because it isn’t real. It’s a fabrication of our mind, which was programmed, conditioned and indoctrinated by the culture into which we were born.
We struggle to define ourselves while, at the same time, trying to fit into this fabricated view of reality. And of course we fail because we are designed by the energy of the universe to be the way we are.
That is not some fictician made up by others who were trying to make sense of their own existence and confused their ideas with reality.
— Donald Glenn Theiss
Then, four years ago, on the eve of my birthday, I decided I was going to change.
I wasn’t going to have a battle in my head the next day. I wasn’t going to expect anything.
I was going to bypass all the mental cha-cha and be connected to inner peace. That is how I’d celebrate my day of birth, I decided.
I felt it was time. It was time to take another step toward letting out the real me.
The synchronicity of things and events to benefit your desires cannot be discounted. If you’re paying attention, that is.
I got up before sunrise that birthday four years ago, because I was headed out of town at 8 a.m. I meditated. I connected. I felt love from within.
It was now sunrise as I laid upon my yoga mat stretching my back. I was in peace.
My father had recently passed. I always felt, and feel to this day, his connection.
That morning four years ago, I remembered the annual phone calls from him as he sang Happy Birthday to me the teeniest bit off-key.
I continued to stretch.
Suddenly, my internal self pushed me to turn and look out the big window.
There, floating diagonally through the bitterly cold air, was a silver helium-filled balloon, the kind from a grocery store, with Happy Birthday written on it.
There was just enough light to decipher the writing and give the balloon’s silver a beaconing shine.
And then it floated out of view into the awakening sky.
That was the single best birthday moment ever. Right there.
Shocked, surprised, and filled with joy, I knew who it was from.
In peaceful connection, all things are possible.
That moment, the untethered gift, free from any of my damning annual expectations filled me with joy…and a smile. The irony was that I didn’t want a gift to hold, yet a nod to the part of me seeking celebration, was all so satisfying.
The rest of the day filled in with serendipitous moments. Traffic jams cleared, snow fell after my arrival and not before, my work presentation was stellar, and a colleague, only an acquaintance from a year ago, invited me to dinner with our peers.
At dinner, with everyone at the table entrenched in their conversation, the colleague suddenly turned to me, and she quietly blurted out with tears welling in her eyes:
“I miss my father greatly. He passed three weeks ago. I was so close to him.”
She continued like she was trying to muster courage. “I can hear him. I talk to him.”
Then she said, “It’s odd, but I have never told my husband or kids that I talk to my father. I thought they’d think I was weird. I felt this peace next to you, and I don’t know why but, I wanted to tell you that.”
I felt enormous, pore-seeping peace. It resonated to her as she talked about a piece of her that was so important.
We both broke from societal conditioning. Such freedom.
The value of that moment was a gift. Those were the gifts I needed.
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