I just turned 50.
I planned Samuel’s 50th surprise Birthday reunion eight years ago.
Seeing his wide open-eyed reaction brought me so much joy. Since then, I have wondered how I would feel on my 50th birthday?
The day before my birthday, Jose, the captain of the sailboat that we would celebrate my 50th birthday on, reached out and wanted to have a Zoom call with me and Samuel. In the past we had WhatsApp calls, So why Zoom this time? I wondered. Quickly I found out… Jose wanted to show us how bad the potential weather was in the area that we would be sailing. Unfortunately, our trip had to be postponed.
My birthday celebration was planned last year.
Well, the well-being of a person is directly related to one’s psychological flexibility. I reminded myself.
We haven’t seen Jose and Alex for four years. This lovely couple runs a Wellness on the Sea program on their sailboat.
Sailing was a new experience for us as a family when we sailed with them once four years ago. I have had a fear of water, drowning in the ocean to be exact, for as long as I can remember.
During the last trip, Jose and Alex did their best to encourage me, but I still felt intensely frightened in the water.
This trip would be different. For this trip, I have learned how to relax in the water, spending time in my pool with my friend Candie. This trip would be a celebration of being ONE with the water. I have been watching my mind movie with a slide of “I am the Goddess of Water” for the last five months, I was ready for her to show up in the blue Atlantic ocean on my birthday.
Since the ocean wasn’t ready for me yet, I thought to myself, let’s find something else to celebrate. The night before, delightfully, I attended a Zoom birthday celebration of a sister Goddess who was turning 68! Even though I had only met her once, she still left a deep impression on me.
Taking inspiration from her and embracing the love of soft warm light in the late evening hour, I wrote on FB, “I am throwing myself a 50th celebration party….”
The next morning on my birthday, at 7:30 a.m., as usual, I called Sally to do a River Cleanse when I heard, “Happy Birthday to you…Happy Birthday to you…..” the Goddess of Laughter started to sing. Her voice was soft and warm, filling my heart with immense love and peace.
“What would you like to River Cleanse today?”
“I would like to river cleanse on writing my memoir.”
We have river-cleansed on this topic before.
I had so much resistance to writing and so much doubt in my ability to write, just like my ability to survive in the ocean.
I had fear of writing just like I had fear of swimming.
A day would go by and I wouldn’t write much, though I had cleared my schedule for writing a month ago. I have two reasons for this.
First of all, I love people. I would be delighted to spend precious time helping others. Naturally, I receive a lot of love, appreciation, and thank yous. It makes me feel good. It fulfills my top two basic six human needs: love & connection and significance. I feel so loved and needed.
Writing just seems to be a lonely job. Some writers were known to lock themselves in the rooms and write, do I really want to do that?
Secondly, English is my second language. When I can’t find the vocabulary to describe a deep life experience, frustration arises within. Writing just doesn’t provide me with much pleasure.
Then something changed on the morning of my 50th birthday!
You have probably already heard this, one of the strongest forces in the human psyche that could be life-transforming is one’s identity.
Before my 50th birthday, I never saw myself as a writer. I was so relieved when Serena, my 10 year old agreed to write a thank you letter for our fabulous sailing trip. The thank-you-letter that she wrote is still on their business website as a customer testimonial.
In the past, I would avoid writing at all costs. Then something miraculous happened. January 2020, during a reunion of the school of womanly art, sister Goddess Libby taught us a one-hour creative writing class. Surprisingly, I impressed myself with what I was able to write in a short five minutes of free-flow writing.
Still, writing seemed to be a burden.
So what happened on the morning of my birthday?
I was asked, “Are you ready for your present?”
The whole family sat down for Serena to reveal my birthday present. In the past, there had been different things: a beautifully written card, a self-made appreciation book. Usually something with words.
Unexpectedly, Serena started to show us a video that she just created. I first thought it would be a virtual presentation of what she wrote. In the middle of the movie, I understood that she was demonstrating to me that we all have the ability to learn anything if we are passionate about it!
In the past, she was always reluctant to learn sewing. “I’m scared that I’ll prick my fingers and then I’ll bleed to death!” She would exaggeratedly exclaim.
She decided to make me an art smock embroidered with, “I am a Writer” in the front and “Love WeiLi 2020” in the back.
For 11 hours straight, she worked on it, and her fingers were pricked many times. Watching the short video, I started to cry…..
At that moment, something inside clicked for me.
Just like it doesn’t matter how many times a person tries to quit smoking, if they see themselves as smokers, they will never be able to fully quit. But once they take on the identity as a non-smoker, the whole game changes!
I have embraced many identities in my life. I am a beautiful soul. I am a loving mother. I am Queen for my King. I am an entrepreneur. I am a servant leader.
On my birthday, with Serena’s little video, I welcomed a new identity into my life.
I AM A WRITER!!
I am writing this blog, wearing the artistically embroidered smock, smiling with the sunny flowers in my garden and enjoying the gentle breeze from the lake.
With this new identity, I no longer prioritize writing as something I will do after everything else. It is a privilege to be a writer. It is an incredible gift to be given the time and space to share one’s stories with the world.
Through stories, we learn from one another, passing wisdom one generation to the next.
Now whenever Sally asks me what I would like to River Cleanse on, and my answer becomes “I would like to river cleanse on me being a writer.”
Yes, I AM A WRITER just like I am a swimmer.
My writing skills need to be polished. No doubt. But here and now I choose to use my voice, even if it might not be good enough by some standards.
In human history, survivors get to tell stories. The longer you survive, the more stories you will get to tell.
As a spirit who has experienced half of a century in this human body, I have lived a very blessed life.
Was it my strong will that won many battles in the last 50 years or was I just guided to be here on this surrender experiment?
I can only conclude that I will be doing a disservice for not sharing my learned lessons and acquired wisdom with my global sisters.
Writing this memoir has presented itself as a spiritual journey.
So when the weather is better in the future, we will go sailing and embrace my new identity as an ocean swimmer. It might not be elegant and smooth at first, however, the most important thing is to take the first step and jump!
Literally, jump from the deck to the deep blue below.
That is what I am doing now with writing.
Jump in with both feet to create a masterpiece.
Yes, my story is worth sharing.
Yours is too.