Birthday Sandwich

English: Flowering Ocotillo Fouquieria splende...

 Flowering Ocotillo Fouquieria splendens photographed above Hawk Canyon at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, CA, USA.

Vista of the Anza Borrego desert landscape.

Vista of the Anza Borrego desert landscape.

Tomorrow is my birthday. That makes today birthday-pre and Sunday birthday-post. I think of it as a birthday sandwich. It’s just an excuse to create three days of “I’m going to do whatever I want” instead of one. It’s especially convenient that my birthday is on a Saturday this year so I have a long week-end of Birthday.
I have a theme for my birthday sandwiches. It’s been an ongoing theme that began when I was fifty. I decided to celebrate my birthday by doing something I had never done before. That first year I went on a solo road trip for the first time. I flew from St. Louis to Seattle, rented a car and drove down the Pacific Coast camping on the beaches of Oregon and California and visiting a couple of friends along the way. It was a two week trip culminating in San Francisco where I visited my sister and then flew back to St. Louis. Prior to this trip, I had been reclaiming my life and this solo trip far from home was a significant act of reclamation.
I was raised under the control of a great and powerful father. He is a man who commands respect and whose word was gospel in our house. It never occurred to me to go against his will as a child. I left his control following graduation from college and moved into a relationship that mirrored my life as a child. I married a man who was very “old school” in his beliefs about family and the roles of men and women. I was so conditioned in this way of thinking it took ten years before I cracked the shell and began to push my way out.
My rebirthing was not a sudden thing. It was a long, slow arduous process. Little by little I tested my boundaries and pushed against the resistance that held me in check. I chose my battles carefully and measured the fall-out against the progress. I was beginning to realize that I had a will of my own and it was ready to be heard and honored. I realized that what Chery thought mattered…to me.
For twenty years I midwifed myself. With the support of a few good friends and a lot of therapy I made my way home to myself. A spiritual meditation and yoga practice and my CranioSacral Therapy business were the most significant structures that supported my becoming. I started to meet people who saw in me more than I was able to see in myself. Those sweet souls who came into my life and “saw” me held up mirrors that allowed me to begin to see myself as they did.
I have continued to celebrate my life each year on my birthday by doing something I have never done before. Often I go somewhere I have never been. The list of birthday events include a trip to Paris, a sailplane ride, a meditation retreat with Gangaji, and last year some friends and I celebrated at a dance retreat in MardeJade, Mexico.
Tomorrow, G and I are going hiking in a remote location not far from our home where there are pictographs and ruins in the Anza Borrego Desert. After the hike we are going soaking at the nearby hot springs and on Sunday we are going to visit a camel farm where we will get to ride a camel for the first time!
Doing anything for the first time is a symbol to me that life is a celebration of new beginnings. Each day is an opportunity to experience a new me that didn’t exist yesterday and explore my surroundings with fresh eyes and an open heart. Life is a blessing to be lived not a problem to be solved, so let the fun begin.

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