A Birthday Wish -- Celebrating Gratitude

posted on: Thursday, June 6, 2013

" It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy. " -Anonymous                                                           
Blooming possibilities with a coral peony | Photography via Chandara Creative
Nothing says Happy Birthday better than coral peonies | Photography via Chandara Creative

My 30th year was marked by dreams--realized, including the completion of business school, and perhaps even more importantly, the end of one chapter of my career, and the beginning of yet another one.  The decision left me anxious & scared, but in the end, much more fulfilled that for the first time in my life, I finally had the courage to let go of certainty to embrace my gift of creativity. And then, one of my dearest friends from college recently welcomed a precious little bundle of life into his family...and my heart jumped leaps and bounds, knowing how lucky this little guy was because they'd make two amazing parents--no doubt. And as I cradled all five pounds of him in my arms, I nearly melted from the tenderness of the moment--the moment when their big, sparkling eyes meets yours and all you can sense is the purity and innocence of their gaze, and how their entire life awaits them.

But my 30th year was also marked by loss...the loss of my aunt (the maternal figure to my father)...one that shocked our entire family, but further strengthened our filial bond.  And as I delivered her eulogy in both English and my native tongue of Laos, I couldn't feel more blessed and proud that in this lifetime, I was gifted with being her niece.  For an entire day, as an homage to the deceased, I was ordained as a Buddhist nun, cloaked in nothing but white fabric, and as I listened to the monks chanting, their words became a symphony to my ears...perhaps made more beautiful because we all sung it in unison for my aunt.  And so for the first time at a funeral, as I observed the ceremonial rituals being performed as part of my Theravada Buddhist religion, I was left with an overwhelming sense of peace & tranquility knowing that  her battle with cancer no longer consumed her being, and that her suffering had ended because she was in a much better place.

So, on this day, as I begin yet another year of life, I am grateful....grateful that another year awaits me, and that my heart is full & brimming with love for all the meaningful people in my life, including...

A husband who has never stopped believing in me (despite how crazy my imagination may get) and continues to amaze me with his love, patience, and generosity, but most importantly, for continually making me a better person...imbued with my own flaws, idiosyncratic tendencies, and quirks (yet loves me despite them all).

A loving family that has always stood by me, held my hand, pushed me, and supported me in my most trying & joyous moments.

Nieces & nephews...they color my world with shades of craziness and thoughtfulness I never knew existed. Each day with them is another wild ride full of laughter and they continue to remind me that I can don my rose-colored lenses any day and join them.

The very best of friends (my chosen family) whose unwavering love & support for all of my life's decisions continue to inspire me exponentially.  They are my Team Awesome, my dreamers, believers, doers, movers & shakers--the people who saw greatness in me even when I didn't see it in myself.

And for each of you out there who visit this blog and while I don't know all of your personally, I am grateful. For every like on Instagram & Facebook, follow on twitter, and hit on this blog, I smile. I really do.

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