after the bright day, comes the shining moon...

In the past, I've felt incredibly down the day after a big event (like, say - my birthday). This year, I'm trying something different.

First of all, what really made yesterday special was the magic going on over on Facebook, giving away jewelry and assorted scarves and such. It felt delicious every time someone commented asking for something. Special people to me, special items going to them. It still feels great. (And it is ongoing, so please, if you haven't asked to join in on the fun and we are friends, drop me a line and ask. I have at least one friend who doesn't use facebook and is getting a surprise in the mail.)

Secondly, I reserved a little bit of birthday magic to spread through the year. Tomorrow, I'll have a tutorial for my really awesome DIY five year journal idea. And that's just a taste of what's to come!

But really, what I realize this year is this: my birthday isn't about me. It is about thanking the people around me for my life, for what is really meaningful and good. Listening to a dear soul-sister who is having a hard time. Giving her some of that unconditional love she needs to mirror back to her own self. Feeling so proud and amazed by my child's card and gift (that he picked on his own)! Thanking my mom and dad and having good conversations with both of them.

I've been feeling that I am coming more and more into my own for the past few years and it amazed me, because I was so self-aware and open as a younger person, but I've just come to realize that this settling, it takes time. Time and a lot of work. There were demons I thought needed slaying, until I realized they were part of me. It takes work to embrace them tenderly but not let them grab control. (There is no control.)

And I am still (as many of my gorgeously settled friends reminded me yesterday) a spring chicken.

My goal is to turn 88 and still be a spring chicken. There is still too much to learn and see in this world. Still so many cracks to fill with gold. Still so many songs to keep singing.

I want to taste this world while I am here, fully. Day by day. Moment by moment. Taste isn't always sweet. Sometimes there's sour, bitter, umami. Sometimes you want one taste and get another. The path is to keep tasting, keep feeling despite the desire to get the fuck out of dodge.

Just keep swimming.

(Yes, everything I know, I learned through Pixar movies.)

Last year, the word I choose for the upcoming year was "believe." I needed so desperately to believe that it was all possible - that I could continue writing and shooting (and start making money). That Remy would keep growing and learning and doing so amazingly well. It has taken me many years to come back after the flat out shock of seeing the evidence of his stroke on that MRI. And I have yes, paid lip service to neuroplasticity, wanting, needing to believe (and seeing evidence before me, yes) but I really needed - this year, and maybe in years to come - to believe it, totally and utterly.

I needed to believe that I could be a great mom (a great wife, a great person, a great...) and still be myself, flaws and all.

The kind of belief that doesn't shake, even when you're crying on the bathroom floor at 3 am.

The kind of belief that remains.

Because I have long had the kind of belief that is so wonderful when the skies are clear, but clears away when there's the slightest hint of rain. And then stayed when it was raining, but cleared out when there was a hurricane. Do you see the metaphor? Practicing this kind of belief in self-worth, in goodness, extends the amount of shakiness that can be endured. And in the end, you learn - well, I haven't reached the end yet, but I'm learning that there's much less to be scared of than I thought.

And so that's where I am, as I come to the end of the secular year (and enter my own new year).

And so, after a rooting year, a year digging deep and grounding myself into what is real in my life, I think 2013 is going to be a year for expanding.


Spreading my wings and taking some more flights out into the great possibilities.

(Add a new continent to my "places I have gone" list! We're talking about Africa or Asia, but  Central and South America haven't been completely ruled out yet. We have come closer to deciding not to go back to Europe - even though Europe is awesome - than we were before, so that's a big step!)

I am ready to expand my shining...