i recently went to northern california for an intensive at the ayurveda college i'm taking a long-distance course through. i was excited about going to the college and discussing ayurveda for 5 days, however, i wasn't neccessarily excited that on one of those days i would be turning 39 in a city i didn't know, surrounded by people i didn't know. looking back now, it turned out to be one of my sweetest birthdays yet. it was probably just how i needed to spend the last birthday in my 30's, rather than drinking at a loud bar and dancing. of course, i've had many fun birthdays like that and definitely there will be more, but there was something surprisingly sweet in getting away from everything i knew on that ominous day.
the morning of november 4, another CCA (California College of Ayurneda) student staying in the same house greeted me at the breakfast table with a card and a little bear spirit guide symbolizing: spiritual strength, introspection, knowledge, balance, and independent thinking. it was such a thoughtful gesture from someone I had just met two days prior. and when i arrived at the school, i settled into my chair and as a class we prepared for our morning meditation and morning mantra. only this time, before we began to chant, our teacher announced that it had been brought to her attention that it was my birthday and that the gayatri mantra would be dedicated to me...this 3000+ year-old mantra that "is a mantra of illumination for the mind; it brings light upon all new beginnings and clears the way for success." wow, i was humbled.
when studying ayurveda and yoga you start to realize and understand that we are all the same. we ALL come from the same divine source--whatever interpretation that 'source' means for you. so, before chanting, our teacher continued to beautifully explain that by making this dedication to me, we were really making a dedication to each one of us. with eyes closed, the room started to chant. i let the words surround me. i let the vibrations envelope me. i let the tears fall down my cheeks. it was the sweetest birthday song I've ever had sung to me--and the universe--at the same. i'll never forget it.
the rest of that day, students from class were wishing me happy birthday and i even got two more super sweet birthday cards. i had been receiving texts and voicemails from family and friends since midnight. and a birthday nowadays means close to 100 facebook messages from all sorts of 'friends.' it was my first birthday in 39 years that I had not spent with a single family member or close friend, but it was one of the most loving birthdays i've ever had.
homies, start making everyday feel like a 'birth' day--a day of new beginnings--by listening to or reciting the gayatri mantra.
Om Bhur Bhuvah Swaha
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi
Dhiyo Yo Nha Prachodayat
General Translation: God, who is the breath, who ends sorrow, who is omnipresent, who is creator of the whole universe, the giver of pleasure and who is supreme, I meditate upon you that you may illuminate my mind with enlightenment and wisdom.