Thursday, October 04, 2007

Shining Hours

Wednesday, October 3 ~ Albuquerque, New Mexico

This moment, this minute
And each second in it
Will leave a glow upon the sky
And as time goes by
It will never die

Those Johnny Mercer lyrics from the song My Shining Hour float through my mind as this day, my 53rd birthday, draws to a close.

As adults, our milestone birthdays are generally the decade-markers. Turning 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 have a particular significance to us that 27, 34, 42 and 53 often lack.

I remember most of those landmarks in my life: On my 30th, I was on a bus tour in the border country of northern England feeling nauseous. On my 40th, I stepped off the ferry into a new life in Nova Scotia...and a stomach-churning panic. On my 50th, an uncomfortable sense of foreboding proved accurate 30 days later when my marriage suddenly ended.

Frankly, so many of my birthdays have heralded uncomfortable shifts that their approach tends to make me nervous.

Last night, I made a different choice.

After nearly three years of full-time travel, this would be my first birthday off the road and the first in my new Albuquerque home. It would, I determined, be a new kind of portal -- one that would be low impact, high vibrational...and fun. One that would anchor my desires, and a way of being, for the coming year.

It has been all of that. Apart from the usual calls from friends and family, it has been a quiet and low-key day: a morning and evening hike in the Sandia foothills; a long, meditative soak in the tub; selective work tasks that move both The MoonQuest and The Voice of the Muse forward (tasks performed at my favorite cafe over a pleasingly decadent coffee drink); and a delightfully self-indulgent gift to myself.

It was a day without expectation or necessary outcomes, a day stripped of perfectionism and self-judgment -- a day filled with shining hours that were all, as Mercer put it in his 1943 song, "calm, happy and bright."

Most importantly, perhaps, it was a day that perfectly models the potential carried by every day. It was a day that reminds me that the most powerful birthdays are not those once-a-year (or once-a-decade) landmarks. Rather, they're the ones that set in motion a year of shining hours, each a brilliant spotlight of consciousness and possibility.

Incidentally, Johnny Mercer wrote My Shining Hour for a film titled The Sky's the Limit,another reminder to carry into all the new moments of my new year.


Anonymous said...

dear mark david, thank you for this post. A few days ago I turned 40. I think perhaps truning 40 if life had gone as I had anticipated would have been scary- having lived with debilitating chronic illness for the past 20 years and now being unable to eat solid food due to a neurological condition for 7 of those years brought up so much dissapointment and sadness I had to clear. i never thought I would still be in this condition at 40. In my idealized version of my lie story, I would have regained my health at least 15 years ago!

This weekend I will celebrate with family and friends at a party with no food as there is more to life than that. I will celebrate my survival and the gifts I do have. Thank you for the reminder...

Happy Birhtday Mark david

Julia T

Mark David Gerson said...

Dear Julia,

Thanks for writing. It sounds to me that even though you haven't had the physical healing you would have preferred, you are experiencing healings at much deeper levels, for which I honor you. I celebrate, as well, not only your birthday, but the courage that has brought you this far and will, I know, carry you forward in a profoundly blessed way.

Mark David

barb said...

I think birthdays and especially the ones deemed the milestone ones are rather over-rated. Especially for women. They tend to freak out if they are turning 40 or 50. Where does that come from? A lack of not living the life they want? If so, then we have a choice to make ti better and what better way then to start now... today. And to me everyday is a celebration.

Mark David Gerson said...

Absolutely! Thanks, Barb.

Mark David

Yvonne Perry said...

After recently celebrating my 29th birthday (okay, so it's not that recent, who cares) I can relate to it being just another day. However, I was surprised with a party and was blessed to have some friends over.