Letting go of the outcome...even on my birthday

Saturday was my birthday and I gave myself a party. When I was at the beach on writing retreat in early November, I asked for suggestions on how to take some small risks in my life. One suggestion, from Christa, was to celebrate my birthday in a new way. So I invited some of my closest friends to join me from 4-6 pm for a birthday circle. I knew I wanted several things. I wanted good friends to help me celebrate. I wanted them to bring poems to read. And I knew I didn't want a big food extravaganza. So I planned it for late in the afternoon, made tea, had juice, and some simple snacks.

I had invited 30 women. 18 said yes and 15 came. Most of these women were from my various circles, which tend to be very New Age. Two of them were from my family, which is not New Age at all. And I was concerned that, well, that that difference wouldn't work out very well. As a hypervigilant, I'm always watching to be sure everybody is okay. And I didn't want to have to do that on my birthday. Also I felt awkward about imposing a circle on my guests when maybe what they expected was a meet-and-greet like my annual open house.

I had suggested that those who wanted to could go out to dinner with me afterward. Then my sister wanted our family to get together in the evening and I said yes to that. And then that changed and suddenly I had no plans for afterward and that didn't feel good either so I talked to my good friend Mary and we agreed to have dinner and that seemed fine. I was practicing flexibility

I had a nice morning. I worked out, I got a facial, I got my apartment organized. I got a shower and got dressed and my first guest arrived at 2 pm. She'd gotten the time wrong. And although I wasn't ready for guests, I let go of the outcome and spent a lovely hour talking to her and another friend, who drove down from Seattle and then the party started and somehow the snacks and drinks got put out and the candles never got lit but who cared. And at a certain point, it seemed right to call circle and it was lovely. My friends told how they knew me, they read their poems, some gave me gifts. And people left when they needed to and some arrived late and it was all fine.

The poems were lovely and varied. Some were written for the occasion. Others were by favorite poets. One friend, Lily, asked each woman to say a word or phrase about me and then she danced it. So cool! And during the circle some women cried and it was all okay. And then some people stayed late and we talked about  the world and our love for it and our grief over it. And then they all left and Mary and I went to dinner at one of my favorite places and had a great time.

I felt very loved and celebrated. And I felt that the new way I celebrated in was not so much the circle or the poems but that I let go of the outcome and trusted that it would work out fine. And it did.


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