Yesterday was my birthday. I spent it in Hollywood with some of my favorite people doing yoga all day. It was a good day, a great day actually. It was filled with laughter, learning, mythology, down-dogs and sweat. After a long and hot day, I came back to my home-for-the-week and looked out at the pool. I forgot to pack a swimsuit. Actually, I didn't really forget - the truth is: I don't like cold water. I almost never go swimming. And when I do, it's when it's a million degrees out and I carefully let myself down into the water and then bounce out immediately.
But last night, it was my birthday and if I've learned anything this year, it's that I need to dive into the little joys when they are offered. I stood on the edge of the pool and tried to determine its temperature by sight. I tried to will it to be warm. I dipped my toe in to check for frostbite. I wanted to be that person who just went swimming because it was fun. I wanted to be that person who wasn't afraid of a little cold water. I stood paralyzed for what seemed like a half hour (it was probably a minute) and then I decided that I could be anybody, in fact I am all of those girls. I'm the scared one and the brave one. I'm the careful one and the reckless one. I'm the one who knows herself and the one who is a complete stranger to herself. I am whole, which means: I'm all of these things.
So I called on my inner mermaid, stripped down and jumped in.
I laughed at how much courage it took for me to get into cold water. I laughed at the silliness and rigidity that kept me frozen on the edge of the pool. I laughed as the rush of cool water soothed my tired muscles. I laughed at the irreverence, the wildness of it. I laughed that I hadn't even grabbed a towel.
I just jumped in.
It was thrilling, exciting, unexpected and I felt alive. I surprised myself. I did something that was out of my comfort zone, outside of my own definition of myself. It wasn't huge, it wasn't life changing, but it was different. And it showed me how often we get the chance to re-invent ourselves. How often we get to choose who we are, what we love and what we are afraid of.
It got me to thinking, what if I lived this next year always willing to redefine myself? What if I lived each day with the notion that I wasn't really sure who I was or what I was capable of? What if I lived each moment without expectations for the future and without a story about my past?
What if I surprised myself? At least once a day. What would that look like over a year, a decade, a lifetime?
This is my gift to myself for this next year. To take every day and bring something unexpected. To keep myself always guessing at the stranger that I'm becoming. To allow myself the gift of letting life unfold and letting myself unfold with it. To see beauty in the little joys that happen throughout a day.
And more than anything, to have the courage to take my clothes off and dive in.
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