This is a picture of my best friend and me (right) our freshman year of college--appropriate to include here, since I have recently been returning to a dreamier part of myself, that was probably at its height during this era of my life, and because this post is decadent with an expression of this.
So, today is my birthday!
I am feeling the love. I am falling in love. That is my birthday wish for myself--to just continue this.
I am feeling deeply grateful for sweet people in my life!
This birthday feels different, like for the first time I am learning to welcome the time passing. I'm not evaluating all that I haven't achieved yet. I'm kind of happy where I am. I'm kind of experiencing moments when I am not missing anything--where I am dropping the confusion and indecision and fear, and seeing what is right there in front of me.
I'm kind of seeing what I've done! I am excited to see what I will do, because I know it will feel amazingly sweet and connected--even cleaning the toilets--how is this possible? But it is!
I have been overjoyed looking back at my past today, finding clues to who I always was, who I am now. I'll share some of it at the bottom of the post.
I have liberally allowed my birthday to extend all through this week, and am sure I will be celebrating it well into the weekend!
This is new for me. Normally, I would have been more quiet about it. Let it pass more understated.
No more understated!
I am learning so much! Like the other night out with my precious, vibrant girlfriends, I learned that I absolutely have a one martini limit!
I learned my animal totem was owl. Apparently, I am not afraid of the dark. That's true. Be careful. I'll take you by the hand and lead your right into it-- but you'll probably thank me later.
One friend told me, she sees me as that childhood friend beckoning you to climb into the tree house, when you are afraid of heights. C'mon, you'll be fine. You don't have to be afraid! I'll help you. It'll be fun!
Another friend made me feel like a delectable heroine in a romance novel as she described my fearlessness, romance, depth, intellect--don't you just love friends?
But a little part of me is beginning to own what I am, what I love, and even if it appears a little more girlish (or garish), rather than worldly and refined, I am not holding back. For instance, I made my friends take a little tour of one of my favorite Broadway musicals, or as I like to call it rock opera, Rent. I was unapologetic about how many times I had rewound and watched Your Eyes scene.
Yesterday I got out the paints with my five-year-old daughter, letting everything else go. I painted flowers, then a mushroom and a fairy. My daughter copied my paintings. I just loved seeing our different versions of the same thing. I loved that I could inspire her, and that we could have a great time creating!
Yesterday I felt inspired to pick up a CD I hadn't really explored that my mom had given me by James Blunt. Wow,I think I am developing a thing for sexy male crooners. Or, maybe I'm just not so intimidated or freaked out anymore by men with a little soul.
Check him out!
Last night, ushering in my actual day of turning 36, I went through cast off magazines from my mother, and cut out anything and everything that resonated with me, putting them in a gorgeous box a friend had made for me a while back, painted to look like an old book. When you open the box, there is a black and white picture of a carousel, and under it is stamped the word Believe. (Thank you C). Did she know it would come in so handy, and be such the perfect recipient for my he-art last night? She has known other things that have come to pass. I have learned to listen when she speaks!
This is new for me. What playful entity has taken over these hands?
I wept as I read some of the phrases in the magazines, a razor commercial read, Goddess of Unconditional Love. What is our world coming to, when that is as slogan for a razor commercial?
As I cut out phrases, as I placed them in their new home, there were rushes of emotion. Like my grandfather used to be victim to at Thanksgiving dinner, when we were all seated together at the table, and he just couldn't contain his joy. I used to feel his emotion deeply in my being, (along with a small discomfort at a grown man unable to bridle his emotion).
But this moment there was no pain, no hold back-- only joyful release, recognition of deep knowing, of deep connection.
I have found my way home, right through my heart--and that the way existed in such simplicity.
What I cut out:
Staying Power, Fall in Love, The Moment, Full, The Question, Bold, Brave, Elegantly Untamed, Expressive, Heathered and Pearled (don't know why I liked this, but I did), Friendship, Flow, She Catches the Light, Joy, Break Free, Surrender, Namaste, Giggle, I Breathe, One Step, Endless Possibilities...
Pictures of beautiful women frolicking through lavish, (with a little wildness thrown in)gardens, clear blue waters, pristine sandy beaches, rocky shorelines, pictures of shadowy mountains at dusk, Buddha, a woman quiet and cradled next to a towering evergreen.
Favorite cards and letters from my loved ones.
My eight-year-old daughter's birthday card last year that pictured a giant heart that with words colored inside: love, joy, peace caring, happiness, hope creativity, caring. And to the side of the heart, to the mother who always told about her feelings and was nice to everyone. Happy Birthday!
Cards from the adults in my life including some of the most delicious writing!:
Here's to a year that spills over with a ridiculous amount of goodness. To skipping and dancing and giggling! To singing out loud--to ease and showing up anyway, to creating with absolute abandon. And to friendship. And love. Thank you for the gift of you. (Thank you, Julia)
I've got your back, your front, and I am by your side. I love you, truly, madly, deeply, Miss Brooke. I treasure the depth and honor the light that you are. You are destined to birth great things. What a joy and privilege to be walking the path together. I am a better person for knowing you. (Thank you, S)
You truly make my days better. Your insights, your fearlessness, your honesty, your openness and compassion, truly is a blessing in my life. Your example of 'Soul Carving' (title of my novel) is beyond human words. Know that I honor you, from the top, middle, and bottom of my heart. My arms open wide to you, Goddess Brooke. (Wow, mom, thank you).
I feel truly blessed to have a friend who is a sister to me in this journey to transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. Here's to the freedom, creative energy, bliss, connection and love we are accessing! (Thank you, C)
Are you getting the goodness here?
Then last night I was reading what has to have become one of my favorite books-- The Wishing Year/ A House, A Man, My Soul: A Memoir of Fulfilled Desire, by Noelle Oxenhandler.
This is no ordinary wishing book.
And I truly wept, unashamedly, yieldingly. I couldn't hold in the explosion I felt in my body at the resounding truth in her words, and there was no need. I let myself free-fall with the metaphors spun throughout the book, that by the end, have become so rich, so deep with meaning, that the floodgates can no longer bear the weight. And I succumb to it. Letting myself feel all the sensations, suspended there.
And here I am, sharing it all with you, indulgently, starring me in this post.
And I'll close with one more decadent scene of pure, pure joy. Always worthy of rewind.
(Wait for the part when he says, "I love, love-- love you." Then you can turn it off. And if you are already overloaded with cheesiness and sentimentality, then stop here!)
Just for fun:
Good Ship Lollipop
My high school friend pictured at the top of this post nicknamed me, Brookelyn Victoria M., to sound more princessy, which was shortened to BLVM--this prom dress might be why. I think I've always thought I was from another century.
Harbinger of things to come, age 11:
Happy Birthday, Michael!
Pure adolescent cheese from age 12--but kind of just like me now!
Oh, that makes me laugh like crazy. Apparently, much of my writing had this quality of death and transformation.
3rd grade: We were supposed to make our very own coat of arms--notice the banner! Dreaming On and On
Here is to the fun loving part of me, making its way back into the world! Happy Birthday to me! Don't you love this natural pose for pics!? At least the dress is more with the times!(wow, how long I used to spend on those curls. My hair is naturally straight!)