I used to stay in bed on my birthday until 9:20 a.m, which is the hour of my birth many years ago. My mother indulged my ritual when I was a child, appearing at my bedroom door at exactly 9:20 each birthday and proclaiming, “Happy birthday! Welcome to another year!” Then I’d jumped out of bed, totally energized for a fresh start in the world.
Since I woke up at 6:30 a.m., no matter what, I had lots of time to think on the morning of my annual birth. I’d meander through memories of vacations, roller skating, and books from the past year. I’d mull over what I liked and didn’t like about the year. I’d dream dreams and make plans for the coming year. I’d think about where I wanted to go, what I wanted to change and do, and what I could learn from the past. By 9:20 a.m., life reviewed and plans made, I was ready to begin again. I still go through this process of life review on my birthday, even if it’s over a cup of coffee later in the day (I also do this on vacation–really!).
At a recent seminar, the Reverend Tino Ballesteros suggested questions for a more complex life review process. They’re good questions to ask ourselves not only on birthdays, but on vacations, evenings under a twilight sky, afternoons on the bank of a stream, lazy mornings with a cup of coffee, conversations over a glass of wine, or while sitting in traffic. Think of them as mental exercises that makes you stronger inside and able to engage the world with energy.
- When have I experienced scarcity and when have I experienced abundance?
- When have I experienced fragmentation and when have I experienced wholeness?
- When have I experienced God’s absence and when have I experienced God’s presence?
- When have I felt disconnected and when have I felt connected?
As I pondered these questions last weekend, I ended up feeling energized and peaceful all at the same time. It was a great exercise!
Learning: Carry life review questions with you and reflect on them when you have quiet time. It’ll set your life in a new context and change both your attitude and approach to life.