year of living copyWe make a living by what we get;
we make a life by what we give.

— Winston Churchill


Laura writes: On my sons’ birthdays, I always pay close attention to the clock, and at their “birth moment,” we have a special, quiet, intimate celebration. I set the kitchen timer and it counts down, and I describe to them, in varying levels of detail depending on age, what was happening three, four, seven years ago at this time. When the birth moment arrives, I take into my arms the birthday child and cradle him for as long as he will tolerate it, telling him that this was the moment we met, the first moment that my heart turned upside down with the rush of love of a new and perfect person entering my life. It has come to be a ritual between us, one we all look forward to. For them, it is a brief moment of return to the absolute perfection of pre-birth, and for me, it is a visit to the magic that instant, irreversible, life-changing, and life-affirming love is. The glow of the moment stays with me—and, I hope, them—long after they have run off to do other things; for hours afterward, I am bathed in the softness of new love, the intense and mythic kind of joy that we alone, as humans, can know. It is a lesson to us as adults to slow down, to savor the beginnings, to allow ourselves to return to those moments in relationship with our parents, our children, and our partners, to re-taste the sweet joy of new love in the midst of the merry-go-round that doesn’t stop for such moments unless we demand that of it.

Do this: jump off the endless circling for a moment now and then and feel what it was like at the beginnings of love.


Take yourself back to the moment of birth. Imagine the work that went into bringing you into the world, and the celebration that took place in the room when you drew your first breath, cried your first cry. Imagine yourself as tiny and vulnerable and new and full of hope and possibility. This new person lives within you still; access the newborn who lives within you and let yourself experience once again the momentous experience of entering the world and having the all of hope, the all of possibility, laid out in front of you.

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