Put Another Candle…

“Put another candle on my birthday cake

We’re gonna bake a birthday cake

Put another candle on my birthday cake

I’m another year old today.”

(Sheriff John’s birthday song)

When I was a child, I couldn’t wait for my birthday to come soon enough.

Better than summer vacation, better than Santa Claus and Hanukkah, better than the Easter bunny and copious amounts of chocolate, better than the tooth fairy and fifty cent pieces, sleepovers, books and movies, soft served ice cream, dipped in chocolate, even better than our annual trips to Disneyland (whew, that’s a close call!).   I loved celebrating my birthday.  Dressing up for the party, friends and family gathered together in one place, presents, birthday cake, frosting, wishes that you believed with all your heart would come true…I love birthdays; yours or mine, birthdays are bitchen.  That’s my truth and I’m sticking to it.

Even as I tiptoe past menopause, (free at last, free at last…) my birthday is around the corner, and I can’t wait.  I still have that same eager desire to become one year older.  Shouldn’t this welcome be with us all our years?

I look at it this way:  if I hadn’t made it to my seventh birthday, I’d have never gotten to play on the big kids’ playground.  If I hadn’t made it out of the single digits into the double digits, I wouldn’t have my dazzling smile because starting around age six, my baby teeth were dropping like rotten tomatoes on the vine.  If I hadn’t made it to 13, I would never have been able to conceive my prodigal son and experience one of life’s greatest treasures, motherhood. Without 16, I wouldn’t be able to drive a car or fill out my bra. Without celebrating 18, I wouldn’t have ‘graduated’ the mandatory imprisonment called high school. Without my 20s I wouldn’t have been able to legally declare independence, start my own journey, make new, life long friends, drink, dance past midnight, party responsibly, start to become an adult, fall deeply in love, make love, make autonomous decisions, make colossal mistakes, work, play, create…Sans my 30s, I wouldn’t have gotten married, made a baby, have the baby, mother the baby, witness the growth of the baby, or become a mommy and me groupie.  If not for my 40s, I wouldn’t have been able to un-marry, fall deeply in love again and remarry, buy a house, mature, mellow, find yoga, meditate, pray, Bat Mitzvah, and grow spiritually.  If I hadn’t made 50 I wouldn’t finally take time for myself, get a master’s degree, accept myself, give to myself, live comfortably in my own skin, honor and care for my aging parents, watch my son graduate college, listen to my heart NOT my head, love myself, know myself, be of service and continue to grow spiritually.

I’m reminded of the wisdom a yogic teacher, Guru Singh, imparted during a Kundalini yoga class one afternoon.  He said, “Dispose of the fear of time, the fear of its passage and the fear of our aging because if we do not dispose of this fear, we will be constantly concerned with the passage of time…aging becomes the enemy rather than the messenger of wisdom.”

So, with only days away from my birthday I’d like to share with you the plethora of gifts that are waiting for me:

  • My ability to love others and myself has become more pliant having been taught by time.
  • The earth is more abounding in its growth.
  • All of G_d’s creatures have moved another step in their unfolding.
  • Human beings have left us with one more year of art for us to contemplate and revel in.
  • History around the world is one year more resonant with lessons.
  • The sunrises are one year more familiar, more promising, and the sunsets are one year less fearful…
  • And the peace of the night is one year closer.

“I’ll blow out the candles on my birthday cake

And when I do, a wish I’ll make

Put another candle on my birthday cake

I’m another year old today

(Happy birthday to you)

I’m another year old today.”

(Lyrics again by Sheriff John)

Happy birthday to me and to everyone!  Now, blow out the candles and make a wish, and if you believe with all your heart, I promise it will come true!

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Menopause – Cloudy with a Chance of Enlightenment

Who am I?  Now there’s a question I’ve been trying to answer since I made my way out of the birth canal and into my mother’s exhausted arms.  Five minutes into a workshop last weekend, the leader asked all of the participants the following three questions:  where did you come from originally, where do you reside now, and, drum roll, please…who are you?

“Honey,” I thought, “if I had that figured out, I’d sprout angel wings, prepare for take off, and head home to the astral realms where love reigns supreme, egos are strictly forbidden, and our souls are “free at last, free at last, thank G_d almighty, free at last.”

Who am I?  The answer to that question seems to change with Yankee punctuality each and every day.  At this very moment, I’m a middle-aged woman, shrouded in fog, with a chance of showers; in other words, I’m menopausal.  I’m not peri, nor post, I am in the throes of, which literally means “in the middle of doing or dealing with something very difficult or painful.”  (Think, Maria Shriver…oy!)

I used to be rather ingenious, and my multi and tri syllabled words were peppered with wit, and wisdom.  I possessed a razor-sharp memory, which was constantly honed, as a child growing up with a mother whose drug addiction seemed to twist and bend reality.  I was always an emotional little girl; I still haven’t seen Bambi or Dumbo in its entirety, and in high school when “Old Yeller” was required reading, well, I got the cliff notes.  But, with the onset of Ms. Men-oh-pause, I find myself crying at the slightest provocation.  I’m constantly upset by the life choices Lindsay Lohan is making, I cry oceans of tears when anyone is voted off Dancing With the Stars, and when Donald Trump announced that he would not run for the office of President of the United States, I had to schedule an emergency session with my therapist!   It’s all so painful, really.

Thanks to the majesty of menopause, I find myself at a loss for words.  My husband and son are ecstatic with that turn of events, but when you’re trying to ask the young man at Starbucks for “a tall drip,” and all you can say is that you’d like a cup of, cup of ‘em, and three people behind you shout, “coffee,” well, it’s unsettling, to say the least.  Unlike Little Bo Peep, my words ain’t coming home, waggin’ their meanings behind them.

Here is a list of other things that the magician of menopause has artfully vanished into thin air:  my keys, my glasses, my cell phone, any and all interest in sex, sleep, dreams, short term memory, synaptic ability to send messages to my brain regarding body temperature, my ‘B’ cup breasts (now you see ’em now you don’t).

If you’ve read any of my other blogs, you know that I see the world with “the glass is a little more than half full” consciousness, so I want you to know that my menopausal life isn’t all about loss. There are some gains:  abdominal fat, irritability, vaginal dryness, increase in allergies and mood swings, to name a few.

So, who am I?  I am a woman who is learning how to open up to the abundance of love that exists inside of me.  I am a woman who is melting the armor of fear that imprisons my heart.  I am a woman who believes that every moment of life, menopausal or not, teaches us about love, forgiveness, and the balance of being both human and spirit.

Embrace the miracles of being a woman.