Nurturing ourselves is an important part of being in relationship with another person. Our birthday is an opportunity for self nurturing that comes around once a year. The inner celebration of birthdays is more important than the outer celebration. All too often this inner celebration is the most neglected. Let me use myself to illustrate this.
When I was a child, each birthday was enthusiastically celebrated by all of my relatives. My mother was one of eight children and most of them lived nearby. Calling the relatives together for a party meant a big group of people, with lots of cousins my age. There was always a large cake, lots of laughter, fun games, and an abundance of attention.
All of this changed when I went off to college. On my birthday my relatives all sent cards to me, but it wasn’t the same. A few classmates wished me a happy birthday and my parents called me, yet I was sad. Something was wrong. The next year’s birthday was just as sad. I began to dread my birthdays.
Barry tried to be supportive of me at birthday time, but he just didn’t have the same feeling about birthdays as I did. I would start to think about my birthday on the first of the month and for eighteen days dread its arrival. I wanted the birthdays of my childhood, where there was a big gathering of people who loved me and I was the center of attention. One year I even went back to my hometown, some 3,000 miles away, to be with my relatives again. It just wasn’t the same as I had remembered it as a child. Something was missing and this missing ingredient became more and more intolerable to me.
I began to read different writings about the inner significance of birthdays. I learned that at the moment of the anniversary of our birth, which commemorates the time of our soul coming into our body, there are great spiritual influences which we can draw upon. If we focus our hearts and minds upon our purpose in coming to earth, we can receive fresh insight and inspiration.
I began to spend most of my birthday alone. I would take a little day pack with my lunch and notebook and go off into nature. As I walked, I would reflect on my life. When I found a place that was inspiring to me, I would sit down and write in my notebook what I am most thankful for and the gifts of the past year. In my time alone I always reflect on why I came to earth and what I feel my purpose is. I ask the Divine Presence for guidance and inspiration for the coming year.
I wish I could report that the heavens open up and a host of angels come and sing to me. In truth I have a very simple time of being alone and feeling grateful. By the end of the day I feel happy that I have spent my birthday in the most peaceful and meaningful way that I can. I have found the missing ingredient that I had been searching for all these years. Very simply, it is my own heartfelt celebration of my birth. I encourage all of you reading this to find your next birthday on your calendar and block out as much time as you can for the inner celebration of your birthday. Make a sacred date with yourself. You’ll never regret it!