today: spring-like weather
today: my birthday
today: almost exactly one year since my first chemo session
today: an early-morning bakery walk and a candle
"Happy Birthday! Today the Sun returns to the position it was in when you were born," my horoscope said this morning. And added: "As would seem appropriate with this transit, today is a day of new beginnings. You are receiving a new impulse from the energy center within you, as symbolized by the Sun."
Reading the lines made me smile. New beginnings, that is the feeling of the mandala that I painted a week ago, in the probably final of the art sessions that were part of this year and supported me through the difficult months and days and emotions.
Mandalas, from definition they are small-scale spiritual symbols that represent our cosmos. The impulse for the "beginning" painting came from the book that also accompanied me for a longer while: "The wisdom of no escape - how to love yourself and your world" by Pema Chodron. In it, Chodron writes about holding the sadness and pain that is part of this world and of our life in ones heart, and at the same the joy and beauty. To not block things and difficult emotions, but to be open and not afraid, and reach out for this kind of balance and acceptance.
This morning, on the walk to the bakery, I thought back to a year ago, when chemo just had started, this time of so many fears and questions. Back then, it all had felt like a dark tunnel. I had no idea of all the colors and encounters that waited on the way. Or of the scale of emotions and themes this time would bring. All the restrictions, but also all the new angles. And the new beginnings: the way things feel different when you couldn't do them for a longer time. Like doors that were closed. And now I can start to open them again. Like this monday, when I took the train to Stuttgart.
Sitting in the train, I realized that is a first-time-after-the-time-of-treatments: taking a train. I felt the quick “beware of germs”-reaction that accompanies treatments, but then enjoyed it. First I went to the office, to meet up with the team of editors and marketing people I work most often with. It was a nice mix of catching up and x-mas plans and looking at upcoming issues and just enjoying the time.
From there, I joined the group that went to the cinema. It’s a 20-minute-walk that lead past the christmas market, so we had a touch of that, too. And then: Star Wars! With popcorn. I like the official title, “The force awakens” – this touch of new energy. And one of the new main characters is a woman who finds her inner energy, and instead of continuing to spending her life caught in a wait-state, reaches a new horizon .
The film also brought back memories of seeing the very first Star Wars film - 1977 that was. I was 9 years old then. It seems like a different time: personal computers had just been invented, but no one owned one yet, neither was there an internet or mobile phones. And Germany was 2 states still. There were the 2 super powers: USA and Russia. And the risk of a nuclear war was fully present. How things have changed.
But back to the here and now - that is one perspective that has grown stronger this year: to live here and now. To not get caught in the worries and fears of all the things that might go wrong.
Like in the quote from my name-sister Dorothy Day:
I have learned to live each day as it comes,
and not to borrow trouble by dreading tomorrow.
It is the dark menace of the future
that makes cowards of us.
And one more quote, one I came across in November:
So now: my birthday. I guess I also want to be more open about my age: today I am 47. Forty-seven years. 564 months of life so far. Or in days: 17155. Such a huge number.
It feels good, to have reached this age. Really, I think I never saw birthdays like that before: that they mean you were basically lucky in all the days before: you are still there. You have a new year of life waiting. A new beginning of the cirle that is life.
Looking forward / looking backward
Now I am looking forward to the time in-between-years, and to Joyful January.
I am also looking forward to the new issue of Blue Fifth Review, which will include one of my digital mandalas, and which brought the impulse to put together a new bio. Which in a domino-effect, made me start to re-new my blog, to update my "about me" page and add a new page about the last year and this time of treatments.
From there, it was only a simple and logical step to update my account image - which is, for now, this circle of new beginnings.
A final photo to round things up, and come back to the original image and its scale - this is the "beginning" as it is placed here, on the shelf I see when I look up from my desk: