Thursday, February 14, 2013
The wheel has turned and I am sixty
The very thing I said I didn't want for my sixtieth birthday, to lie on my sofa watching movies on the ipad, is exactly what happened. It was perfect, because by 3:00, I'd already had a full day of turning 60 and was unable to rouse myself for more restaurant noise and socializing. Funny how things turn out, isn't it?
How can one have a full day by 3:00 p.m? It started with a powerful acupuncture session. The treatment was a ritual. Before the Sufi acupuncturist inserted each needle, he told me the name of the point and why he was doing what he was doing. There was a ceremonial feeling in the room. The sensation was powerful. When he came back into the room to remove the needles, he said, "Wow," which - believe me - is very unusual. At the end of the session he hugged me, highly unusual, said he was honored to be my acupuncturist and hoped to work with me for another 60 years. Sweet!
He made sense of the monumental emotions around this birthday by explaining the sixty year structure of Chinese astrology. There are cycles of the twelve astrological animal years, of course. There's also a cycle of those animals in the five elements of Chinese medicine. The year I was born was not only a dragon year, but a water dragon year. Five elemental cycles of twelve years each = 60. What that means is that I (and everyone else lucky enough to make it to age 60) have lived with the energy of all the animals in all the elements. Age 60 completes the turning. No wonder the last few weeks have been so exhausting and unnerving. Good lord!
What he said made me think about how, earlier in life when I moved around a lot, I learned that it takes a full year in any landscape to become truly familiar with the terrain. You have to see all 4 seasons, the changes in light, weather and activity, to become more than a tourist. In terms of Chinese astrology, I have lived through a full cycle - once - and can now begin again, for whatever time I have left, in somewhat familiar territory. It's interesting to think about.
Next I met a friend for lunch. But it wasn't just lunch, it was an extravaganza - a six course tasting at Rasika - a truly great Indian restaurant. The food was beyond splendid, truly delicious. Wow. We drank wine and laughed and talked and ate. It was wonderful. After lunch we walked home. Not all of my friends would be willing to do so. It was spitting rain, but we walked on, undaunted. It was glorious.
My friend said that at age 60 (she's a year older than I) we come to realize we are way too big for our physical bodies. Earlier in life it seems as if our bodies will be able to contain the fullness of our spirits, but after 60, it becomes obvious that life in a body is finite. The soul is vast, but not so much a human life. What she said resonated deeply. Oh yeah. I'll be thinking about that for awhile.
Once home, I was done with celebrating for the day. I took a nap on the sofa, something I think of as luxurious, then baked a blueberry cake. I hope it's good. I was so full after lunch, it wasn't possible to eat anything else for the remainder of the day. I'm still not hungry. That was a birthday feast extraordinaire.
This morning I'm thinking about what the Sufi acupuncturist asked me: what do I want to do, now that I've completed the circuit. What will I do, now that I know I'm way too big for my physical body? Really good questions.
I've got some time today before clients. I'll get out for a walk under the bright blue Valentine's Day skies of Washington DC. I will walk, wander and wonder, my favorite things.
Life is good and I am grateful. Onwards & upwards. Shalom.