Sunday, September 8, 2019

On The Eve of My Birthday

I was born at 9 am on the 9th day of the 9th month. Some numerologists have told me that this means I will be incredibly wealthy in my lifetime- and I am, in a thousand different ways.

I am loved- by two wonderful sons who are magnificent men. Honestly, I feel I can take no credit for this- I have always been in awe of what open-hearted, smart, generous, funny, kind people they have both always been. They taught me how to love just by being.

I am loved by friends- some of whom I have known for more than four decades. We have given each other support through births and deaths (literal and metaphorical,) not always agreeing, but always loving, holding and making each other laugh. It is good to be seen and loved by people who knew me before my hair was white and my recall of most nouns floundered!

I live in a country where being raised in a working class family was not a liability- where the education system is good and healthcare, a right for all. I am grateful that I have been able to contribute to and receive from the collective pot that provides so much for us all.

I have had a chronic inflammatory neurological disease for 36 years, and I think it would be fair to say that it is not improving with ordinary aging. Honestly, I wish I could have said, “Pass” on this experience. And I have received things from it. I have learned to live with the reality of how little we control or know, and that has made me more generous with others as I realize I know very little of what challenges they face daily. It has taught me that kindness is often the only thing that matters. And it has given me great respect for physical reality. To be human is to be, amongst many things, a physical organism, is to be small, brief and highly biodegradable. And this knowledge helps me enjoy the way the sun slowly lights up the sky at 5 am, sitting on my tiny apartment balcony in July; the taste of fresh buttered corn in August; the feel of clean crisp sheets as I crawl into bed.

I live in a time and a place under circumstances where I have enough good food to eat and a comfortable home that is not at risk of being bombed in the foreseeable future. And this home has hot running water, central heat, and electricity. These are not things I take for granted. These are things many do not have.

And I have books! I live in a city with a library that is the most publicly used book lending system in the entire world! Right now I have three of these books in my home, and I am on the wait list for nine others (which will be duly delivered to the library two blocks away when they become available.) And this embarrassment of riches that gives me access to the stories that lift my spirit, educate my mind and bring me sheer delight are all provided by sharing collective resources so that there is no fee-for-service. It would be fair to say that as a child, books saved my life- and all of those books came from the local public library. Great wealth indeed.

I could go on. And I will, in my journaling and my prayers. The numerologists are right- I have been given an abundance of that which supports life lived fully. And I am deeply grateful. Oriah


  1. Thank you for being born! The world contains more radiance and grace because of the words you share. I am grateful.

  2. Thank you for being born! The world contains more radiance and grace because of the words you share. I am grateful.

  3. Querida Oriah, desde hace un tiempo has llegado a mis oidos, por uno de tantos de esos hermosos humanos que te admiran, de esos humanos que nos inspiramos con tu sensibilidad, tu bondad, consiencia y apertura, hoy es mi último día con 30 años, mañaña 20 de octubre cumpliré 31 y han sido maravillosos. Tu historia y tu hermosa forma de escribir me siguen inspirando a escribir con el alma aquello que se había dormido y se despiertó nuevamente con el cambio de decada en mi vida.
    Solo quería pasar para decirte que te admiro, y gracias por tomar tu vida y tu tiempo para compartir todo lo que has aprendido con tus experiencias.
    Gracias, gracias, gracias, ha sido maravilloso explorarte desde un país pequeño como Costa Rica lo es, y encontrarte es como un tesoro escondido, en medio de tantas distracciones de la vida.

    Tu calidez y tu luz llegan y alncazan a lo lejos.

    Gracias por ser y por crecer y compartirnos esto para crecer también.

    Mi admiración sincera y profunda.

    Jeimmy Gamboa