My Birthday Dinner With Richard, brother Peter and his wife, Parky

Okay, I turned 77 today. My Winter Solstice birthday. A perfect day: I worked out for an hour, climbed a mountain, meditated for an hour, took a hot bath/jacuzzi with Epsom Salts and another salt called “Pink Love,” and I poured some Baby Oil into it cause the walk was windy and my skin felt dry.

I also read a new book called “The Art of Stillness” by Pico Iyer. I highly recommend. It takes but a few hours and is wise. It also talks about Leonard Cohen which is always interesting–and wise.

I’m beginning to like having a birthday right before Christmas, down here at the bottom of the year, just before we begin to swing back up into a new one. I hope the new one will be slower but I guess that’s up to me, isn’t it? Maybe it’s my age but I’m finding Christmas a time when we dwell a bit more (at least we try to) on the meaning of Jesus’ birth and what his life and death represented. Personally, I like to concentrate more on his life but I guess that’s why I’m a small ‘c’ christian who’s fascinated by the Gnostic Gospels (the ones deemed not worthy of inclusion in the cannon) and dips into Buddhism as often as possible. Thinking about Jesus makes me think about the quality of my love, of my thoughtfulness, of my ability to forgive, of the importance of friends, of willingness to sacrifice. These are all good things to be thinking about on your birthday when you’re about to start your own personal new year and feel even more resonant because my own personal new year is just 10 days from the calendar New Year when resolutions abound.

Like I said, age makes new years feel special . . . they can no longer be taken for granted (of course they never should be taken for granted) and we septuagenarians do well to enter them with serious resolutions so that this third act will add up to something.

I’ve found myself backsliding a bit of late in terms of where my thoughts have tended to reside (not always with the generosity of vision I wish for) and my confidence has been iffy for the past four months. So, while meditating today an idea came to me: I’m going to create a shrine to myself–or, at least, the self I wish to be, the self who began to manifest when I was a young girl before the shit hit the fan. I’m talking about creating a small place where I can put things that remind me, conjure up in me, the qualities that represent my best self. I will spend the new year collecting objects and symbols that will do that. One will be from my 4th grade school report. Things that remind me that I’m brave. I’ve been forgetting that. I will put a special candle on the shrine and burn sandalwood and put some special Native American artifacts that I’ve treasured over the years in honor of the Mohawk Nation where my Fonda ancestors built their homestead.

That’s it for now