Some years pass, marked by a birthday, and just to recall where I was on that day a year ago requires a deep dig. Even pulling up remarkable events that came to pass during the previous year can be baffling. Know what I mean? It’s not exactly same-old, same-old but youth bulges with sizable change: kindergarten becomes first grade, size 10 becomes size 14, marriage happens, degrees are earned, babies arrive, first jobs become second ones. And then, to a relative extent, maybe we settle in and appreciate more subtle evolution: a book leaves a mark, a trip opens new worlds, a practice opens internal doorways, a friendship goes deep. Not that the inevitable shifts in the big stuff—birth, illness, death, relationship—go away.
And maybe illness is why this last year shimmers so memorable for me. On my last birthday I camped at Kirk Creek, Big Sur coast. Magic with wildflowers, total non-cellular quiet, only waves for sound, sweet connection. Around that time I began to admit that my body was experiencing change, something frightening was up. All through the summer I lived in a mystifying eddy of doctor appointments, dread, surrender, denial. A shocking and ever-increasing tolerance for mystery. Didn’t stop me from cooking soup at the new restaurant, camping many times in the bus, travelling to Belarus to touch the earth and dance, exploring film at Esalen for an invigorating week, celebrating hubby’s 70th here and in LA and finally dancing to my heart’s content for eleven days in NYC.
Each of these events are crystal clear to me, heightened as they were by deep mystery, this not-knowing what was up, this outrageous consideration that perhaps the time I had remaining was brief. Everything sped up end of September, swimming deep in the world of medical diagnosis. But even obtaining a diagnosis did not make everything entirely clear. Didn’t keep us from hiking a glorious week in the Grand Canyon.
Surgery in November settled the uncertainty and then all my energy became a devotional non-stop healing prayer, knowing there was still a course of radiation in February. I had no idea how much the radiation took out of me energetically and physically until it was complete. I can just imagine my immune system in total tears. No surprise that beginning in March and continuing all the way through mid-April I rode a roller coaster of chronic cold, deep cough, infection, fever, virus. There was a week where I felt sure this was the new normal of my life.
I can see now that it was what I had to move through. And really, I give big credit to the shift in the way I am eating , now in place for two months, for fueling me spiritually and psychologically and most likely physically as well. To pull me up and through this year long tunnel. To boost me into the final passage of this memorable year. To complete this journey into hard-to-fathom darkness and deliver me into what truly feels like spectacular light.
There has been astounding growth for me this year. And I wouldn’t wish this impetus for growth on anyone. But I am grateful and know that if we keep doing our work, harvesting the challenging episodes that inevitably befall us, is one of the big pay offs. I can feel it in spades of clarity, in my voice that I seem to no longer second guess, simply trust implicitly, in the spontaneity of my teaching, in the sophistication of my one-on-one work, in how clean the field of relationship feels, in the way I can touch/sense my deepest being. Cultivating Destiny was perhaps the best of what I have ever been able to offer.
I never had even one iota of gall about what passed or ever considered it unfair. I have no requests to be spared further troubles. Yet today it is my birthday again and I feel it as a passage into the next chapter. I totally get what a privilege it is to be alive, well enough to stand on the brink of seventy decades on the planet. There are dues to pay for this honor all along the line and they come with increasing frequency as the years go by. It’s just the way it is. I wouldn’t want one thing to be different.
Thanks for all the joy and challenge, the curiosity and tenderness, the full range of emotion and love that you bring into my life. Love, bella