Once a year, on that special day on the calendar that some of us look forward to for the remaining 364 days of the year, we celebrate the day we were born. At its very core, our birthday is a celebration of life itself. It’s a chance to take a step back and fully appreciate the miracle of being alive. Ironically, there are some of us that dread the day, or lament the fact that we’ve added another year onto our lives and that we’re getting…older.
I recently had the pleasure of celebrating a birthday and it was the one of the best ones I’ve had so far. I was overwhelmed by the expressions of love and the warm wishes from people in my life and from all over the world in the form of phone calls, text messages, emails, facebook wall posts, you name it. I also spent the day with my family and was present to a very intense feeling of gratitude for the gift of life and for all the blessings in my life.
As the day was coming to a close, I found myself thinking: “I don’t want this day to end.” Well, given all the special treatment I was getting, this is not surprising…lol, But this thought triggered another thought: “Does it have to end?” I realized that the idea of celebrating my life once a year is absolutely insane and I made myself a new promise for the year ahead. I am going to live every day like it’s my birthday!
What does that mean? Well, for one it means to become present to the gift of being alive EVERY day. It also means being open to and aware of all the love in our lives EVERY day. You see, I believe our birthdays are just an opportunity to experience an outpour of the love that is there all the time. The only thing stopping us from experiencing that love on an ongoing basis is our inability to realize it, but it’s always there.
On my birthday, I also always make a point of making a list of everything I have to be thankful for and setting my intentions for the year ahead. Why not take a few moments every day to think about what we have to be thankful for and to set our intention for the day ahead? Last but not least, our birthday is the one day a year that we get a free pass to celebrate ourselves. Yup, it’s the one time that it’s ok to really love ourselves out in the open and do crazy things like put our name on a cake. Mine was a jamocha almond fudge ice cream cake and it was amazing!
Imagine taking this approach to life everyday. Celebrate being alive, remind yourself of everything you have to be thankful for, love yourself to the utmost and tune into to all the love around you. If you really want to get into the spirit, you can even give yourself a gift every day to rejoice in the treasure of another beautiful day of living. And remember, every day that passes, every year that goes by, although we may be getting older, what’s really happening is that we’re getting to live longer, one more day, one more year and that is the greatest gift of all.
Written for The Daily Love (Aug. 20th, 2011)