To Whom It May Concern,
Years ago, in an effort to deviate from the shallow expectation of “happy birthday” from others, I decided to embark on a different journey of reflection. It is an exercise that helps me immensely and has become a living ritual for me on my birthdays, which I now offer publicly. You can apply it to your own life if you are so inclined:
I would like you to start from the beginning and trace your entire earthly existence up to the present moment. Deeply reflect in order to consciously see the guidance of God in your life up to the present. Try seeing this guidance step by step through every situation and seek to recognize how even the hard situations helped to mature you. But truly enter into this.
Next, turn toward your fellowman. Try to see how every friendship, family member, coworker, and everyone you have crossed paths with have benefited you in some way and facilitated the experiences to help you inwardly grow. Do not just focus on the “good” but even the difficult relationships. Try to see how they added to your spiritual maturation, your growth, your insights, your unfolding. Try to see how everyone and everything, the good and tumultuous, was part of that guidance from God meant to help you.
Connect the guidance from God in life events with the help you received through your fellowmen and circumstances.
It is the gratitude arising from the realization of this special connection that the “happiness” of this day lies. It is through this reflection I wish whomever a “happy birthday”. A birthday of thanksgiving.
~Ikenna Q Ezealah