I am sure you have heard, at least once, a younger human blurt out in an innocently jarring manner: "Wowie, you're old!" Or something like that. And, if you have not had this honorable rite of passage, be patient. When it does eventually happen, be sure to savor this existentially exquisite moment.
Between my current musings of my inner child along with rereading some journals from my high school years, I am both shocked and inspired to announce:
I will soon be 51!
And similar to you and every one else, nothing in my life has fully prepared me for the present day challenges we all face. So I sit. I ponder. And, I listen to my doubts, only to realize...
...well. I have come to realize, despite the fact I have seldom been fully prepared, somehow I have always done the best I could. Accepting this as a consistent pattern over the past five decades is what I consider to be one of the greatest gifts I can give myself. (And, I imagine you might be empathically saying "you have only just begun" should you be ahead of me in years....) Regardless of your chronological age, kindsight is a precious gift you deserve to have.
Would you agree with me that viewing oneself through kindsight (reviewing one's life with compassion and curiosity rather than judgement or remorse) is both liberating and empowering? The more inner work I do to improve my kindsight, the more resilience and courage seems to show up when I need it most.
Since I am not a fan of sugar-coating, I have to say 2020 has been one of the most grueling span of 8 months of my life (and, sigh, counting..). Yet, I have found some icing on the cake. I will boldly say the grittiness of my shadow work during the pandemic is bringing me to an even greater appreciation for self-care practices. These practices include yoga, running, gardening and meditation. And knowing Mae West ( she died at age 87) lived twice as long as Soren Kierkegaard (he died at age 43), I am certain she meant it when she said "I never said it was easy, I just said it would be worth it." In deepening my self-care practices, I have found a renewed ability to apply kindsight to my past and even to my future.
So, my birthday gift to you is a request from my heart to yours:
Please continue to kindly tend to the unhealed places in you. Please do not let the shadowy qualities of the world hinder your ability to celebrate when you have gifted yourself a new (k)in(d)sight or honed your superpower (courage, compassion, patience, forgiveness all count!).
Our work is far from complete, and I look forward to hearing about how you are BE-COMING during this time of introspection and possibilities. Your gift to me is just hearing how you are doing your best to kindly care for yourself and your loved ones. Send me a line or two about how you have been since we last met and no need to sugar coat it either.
And rather than blowing out a candle (or 51 candles!) on my birthday, I will continue to light a candle on my altar as a symbol of how each of us is doing our best to keep the flame of courageous kindness alit.
Happy birthday to me & Happy continuation day** to you!
Beaming to you hope and peace,
*This is a nod to the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard "the father of Exisentialism".. who reminds us anxiety and dread are profound albeit unwelcomed teachers in our path towards wholeness. I continue to be a humble lifelong student of philosophical frames and somehow Kierkegaard seems quite relevant to me these days.
**This is a concept found in the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh.