This year I celebrated a major birthday, one that firmly places me in the middle of life with youth far behind me, dusk streaked with nostalgia. In my heart I know that a birthday is just another day, another rotation around the sun, and that in my essence, I am still the same kid who once ate an entire angle food cake, who liked to sit on the river bank and fish with her grampa, and who put a toad in her brother’s bed–I have many regrets, but that is not one of them!
I am not beyond admitting, somewhat embarrassingly, that I spent considerable time determining how to mark this birthday and in the end, I summoned a group of women friends from different facets of my life (women who cheered with me from the soccer field sidelines of our children’s games, women who share my creative aspirations, women who worked along side me, cried with me, or laughed with me). Although the birthday was months ago, I am still basking in the light of the company of so many stellar human beings and the older I get, the more I value true friendship.
Friendship was a strong undercurrent in the content we shared this month when Lachlan and Shayan talked about empowering youth and the lessons learned through their friendships, or when we witnessed the connections and bonds of fellowship forged at an interfaith devotional at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia, or when a group of JY and youth dropped some beats in Mount Druitt.
My milestone birthday has made me appreciate the people in my life and it has made me grateful for my health. Spurred on by Women’s Health Week which just wrapped up in Australia, I am taking my health more seriously. In order to contribute to conversations about women’s health we shared Nadia’s funny and sweet article about navigating beauty standards for the sake of the spirit where she explored balancing both care and concern for our bodies and our appearances, with an understanding of the role of the body and the supreme purpose of the soul. And Ariana examined how her daily yoga practice helps strengthen spiritual muscles. Ultimately though, as we saw in this animated quotation by Abdu’l-Baha, the purpose of our earthly body is to help us develop spiritual qualities for the worlds beyond:
I hope this Baha’i month is filled with friendship, good health and spiritual growth!
In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she’s driving at night.