Traveling to Paris with loved ones, and meeting up and reconnecting with family in Israel – turning sixty was certainly the finest birthday I have ever experienced. There were so many moments of joy that at times I thought my heart would burst wide open!
For those of you who remember my count down to sixty
story, let me say that at the very last minute, and thanks to Danny Miller
's timely recommendations and suggestions to me the day before my birth date, we found the Mille Feuilles
I had been searching for at Angelina
. I was able to eat one exactly on the day of my birthday
. And, guess what? It was not that great or memorable – not compared to being with my loved ones, walking around Paris, boating on the Seine, or breaking French bread together. Yes indeed, I do believe that I have finally resolved my little Mille Feuilles
Here we are on the morning of my birthday (from left to right): JJ, me, Gilad, and Jan.
Life partner took the picture. So, I took one of him right back – in the Metro:
In Israel, I reconnected with old friends and my family:
Me and my 92 year-old mother.
Younger brother, Josh
Sisters! Elise and Sue.
Beautiful Iris, mother of Amalia and wife of Yanai.
There was more, much more, that I could tell, and some of it might be written later as memories settle into my brain.
All the while, Mary Pipher's book
accompanied me on my travels. I was able to complete it on the flight home, and found that many of her quotes seemed to fit perfectly into my emotional state of mind at this exact moment in my life. I will allow Pipher
's words to sum up my post-quel
to my count down to sixty. For, she tells my
tale, even as she describes her own journey to becoming a sixty-year-old woman – almost to the letter …
Quotes for today …
… From, Mary Pipher, Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World:
The journey toward a more examined life nearly always begins with pain (Page 193).
When we learn to face our pain and the pain of others, we start flourishing. The opposite of despair is not a surcease of despair (Sorrows are all around us). Rather, its opposite is an explosion of liveliness and joy. Love and light exist deep within us, waiting for us to welcome them into our consciousness and share them with all we meet (Page 207).
I believe that if readers see something of themselves in me, I may be useful. I may help readers feel less alone and damaged, just as I helped myself with these goals. We all share similar journeys. We live through childhoods filled with ups and downs. We share houses with people who both love us and make us miserable … We take turns being the afflicted and the comforter. We experience a crisis and realize our old ways are not working. We stumble around lost and unhappy, only to the see the light, find our new path and move forward. This is our universal human story (Page 232).
As I grow older, though, my life is filled with more moments of joy. Even when I am in deep pain, I can rescue myself by noticing a small, beautiful thing (Page 243).
At sixty, I am still ahead of the horses … But I am aware that I have only a finite number left of Thanksgivings, full moons or spring flowers. That realization makes me sad, but it also makes me notice. I don't often squander much time or let beauty pass me by (Page 244).
In sixty years of living, my knowledge has increased and my taste has become more sophisticated, but my values have not changed much at all. My greatest faith has always been in kindness (Page 246).
My questions about my life are all of our eternal questions: How can we best develop our gifts and use them to help others? How can we keep growing until we stop breathing? How can we stay present? How can we be happy? The answers are universal answers: Pay attention, tell the truth, be kind, and find things to appreciate and enjoy every day … All transformations are returns. After setting forth on a voyage of discovery, being chased by monsters, encountering great suffering and beauty, getting lost and being pummeled by storms, we find our way back to our original place and realize that the truth has always been there waiting for us. We connect with that which we knew before we were born. We can resume our ordinary lives with eyes unclouded by longing (Page 246).