It was a fine birthday yesterday, but truth be told, I’m glad it’s over. At once exhilarating and exhausting to read all the Facebook greetings! But we all want to feel cared for and remembered, yes? And thanks to the ease of typing two words on Facebook in contrast to getting the card, the stamp, the address, filling in all that blank space with a meaningful message and dropping it into a mailbox, that sense of feeling valued was some 50 times more present!
Events like birthdays offer an opportunity to pause, reflect, take stock of where you’ve been and consider where you still want to go. Not always a happy invitation! But at the moment, the World is in accord with my trajectory, offering chances to keep doing the work I love with wonderful people who I appreciate more each day. The Facebook greetings ran the gamut from people I recently met on my Orff travels to almost forgotten elementary school friends— and then all those in-between. I especially loved the little notes from former SFS students and their affirmations that our excursions into music, dance, drama, self-expression, ritual and beyond continued to echo on somehow in their lives.
On days like birthdays and New Year’s, I create an expectation that I have to have a model day and do the things I should do in all the days to come. And so I awoke and sat zazen meditation, went for a short bike ride, played a Solitaire game, ate oatmeal for breakfast and went on to teach three classes to the lovely Level III students at our San Francisco International Orff Course. After writing my birthday blog and some Facebook time in the afternoon, I jumped into the swimming pool and had a little lesson in Finnish. And then decided that I should swim laps, one for each year of my life.
Well, that turned out to be interesting! A bit more exercise than I bargained for (J ), but certainly needed. And once I got going, I decided that I should try to remember an event for each of the years. A few people were counting the laps at the beginning and I’d pop up and say things like, ”I’m going to high school!” Or “I just met Avon!” or “My daughter Kerala was born!” They quickly lost interest (as expected), but it was interesting for me to see what I could remember for each year and combine the physical exercise with the mental exercise of remembering my life. Could I make a shtick out of it? “Swimming your way to Self-Reflection: A Life Journey Experience.”
Dinner out with the 10 other fun teachers and then ending the day playing jazz with my great partner-in-crime Joshi Marshall and then continuing on into the jam session with other remarkable musicians.
And there you have it. The Orff/Zen/ Jazz of my previous blog carrying on as I enter my 63rd year. With some swimming, biking, blogging, eating thrown in. A fine day by any standard.