buddhism / goals / habits / mind / mindfulness / practice / tips / vow

What is Mindfulness? 5 Tips For A Mindful Birthday

5 Tips For A Mindful Birthday.

GroundHog

I shall now predict the weather

Today is my birthday. No, I didn’t see my shadow, but thanks for asking.

Birthdays are a great opportunity to reflect on a year of life.

They’re a time to celebrate your struggles, accomplishments, and dreams. They’re also a great opportunity to ease some restrictions you have in life.

In that sprit, here are my 5 steps to a Mindful, Joyful Birthday.

1. Remember It’s Not About You – When I was living at Great Vow Zen Monastery we didn’t celebrate birthdays. It’s a long-standing tradition there for good reasons. No one makes a lot of money so gifts are a bit odd, and with so many people, you’d have birthday parties all the time.

Birthdays can put a lot of pressure on us. Like any big holiday our expectations are high and thus your chance of disappointment is high.

So every birthday, I remember the best way to celebrate is to make it about the joy being alive. But I don’t need to make it all about me.

2. Reflect On a Year of Living.

Instead of focusing on regrets, take this time to just reflect on what a whole year of life has held. Think about all the unexpected things that happened. Think about all the little accomplishments, the small acts of kindness, courage, and determination.

If we look for these moments, we will find them scattered throughout our lives. This is a great time to appreciate the vast content in a year of life.

3. Set goals

After taking in the past it’s a great time to look into the future. Write a personal mission statement, make some new vows, and set some new goals.

Set a goal for the day after your birthday, for the week after you birthday, for the month after your birthday, and for the next year of your life.

Make them small, achievable goals. But put them down in writing and post them somewhere you can see them. Write them daily.

The actions we do today is a gift to our future self. So start next year’s birthday gift to yourself today.

If you need help, these posts explain some processes I’ve gone through to set goals for my life.

Vows goal and intentions

The Eulogy project

4. Ease up on restrictions

Don’t go crazy, but give yourself a break from some of your restrictions today. Eat some cake. Goof around. Have some fun. You can always spend a little more time next week working it off.

If we are too strict for too long it wears us out. It’s important to make easing restrictions and breaking a few small rules a healthy part of our routine.

Your birthday is a great time to do this.

5. Spend Time Alone

I’m very good about making time for other people, but not making time for myself.

This birthday I’m going to spend 30 – 60 minutes alone in silence. I’ll probably go on a run or walk.

You can spend this time doing some of these other reflections, but I would encourage you to leave some of this time open.

Birthdays are a natural touchstone of our lives. They are a chance to connect with a deeper part of ourselves.  Silence and space give those parts of us a chance to arise.

Thanks for reading my blog on my birthday.

If you want to get me a birthday gift, here are 3 things you can do.

1. Subscribe to my mailing list: You actually get a free e-book as a birthday gift from me.

2. Share this blog post on your, twitter-book-press account.

3. Comment below and tell me: What special thing do you like to do on your birthday?

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4 thoughts on “What is Mindfulness? 5 Tips For A Mindful Birthday

  1. I got to see this website because of Tiny Bhudda. To morrow is my birthday, 6 March, I love my birthday because I always do 2 things, I buy myself a gift and zone into a fun mindset, just for the day, I forget all my troubles and just refuse to entertain anything negative….just for a day, my birthday. Thank you for this article, I now have more things to celebrate tomorrow. Mindfulness …mmmm struggling with that, but I will not give up.

    • Happy Birthday Thelma!

      I love that plan for your birthday. I’m glad you said you won’t entertain anything negative instead of saying you wouldn’t let any negative thoughts come up. Negative thoughts happen all the time, its the energy we do or don’t put into them that makes the difference. Thanks for sharing and I’m glad you aren’t giving up on mindfulness. It won’t give up on you either 😉

  2. Thanks for this post! These are fantastic tips, and exactly what I needed/wanted when I searched “mindfulness birthday” on the Internet.

    I give myself a birthday run, every year. I usually run first thing in the morning, and it is a wonderful way to greet the sun/nature, refresh myself, and reflect as needed. I also do allow myself to enjoy little things I typically do not get to enjoy very often, sort of like your #4 (but more with regards to things I do not make time to do rather than things I actively restrict).

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