After being inspired by Rebecca Jackson’s Under the Skin and Ashley Milne-Tyte’s The Accidential Risk Taker, Jayne Ifeacho wrote an essay about how she spent this year’s birthday checking in with her dreams during a walk on Hampstead Heath, “a large, ancient London park, an island of beautiful countryside that is a haven to diverse wildlife, and a spacious refuge for the millions of us who live in the city.” May you enjoy her lyrical piece as much as I did.
The third month of the year always brings along its regular delivery – my birthday.
March – it’s the month that always promises new beginnings, but can also be quirkily unpredictable. We can have rather warm weather, but then again we can also have the very fresh leftovers from February’s cool offering.
On this Spring-like day, however, I gifted myself a long and lovely walk along Hampstead Heath. I’ve missed this time in the great outdoors, to breathe deeply, to shake the cobwebs out of my hair, to play with ideas, and to see things in glorious technicolour again, just like a copy of a newly arrived subscription fashion magazine freed from its cellophane sleeve.
It would have been a joy to trek along with someone fun, and natter and be silly and giggle. Nevertheless this yearning was going to be satisfied with or without company.
In my late teens I used to hang out with a group of friends, a fairly close-knit group who never could or would remember my birthday, even with a little helpful prompting. They’d remember each other’s but not mine. Okay maybe once in a blue moon. But still. And I felt mightily ignored. I do not like feeling ignored. And of course the more I silently objected to this, the more – deep sigh – it happened.
Being at the mercy of circumstances is the scourge of the unconscious soul.
Fast forward a few years and I have a deep tissue understanding that I am the mistress of my own emotional landscape. I get to choose how I feel in advance. The flip side to this is relinquishing unreasonable expectation, and blamey disappointment, especially of the silent kind. It’s a wonder to look back and chart the gradual unfolding of the understanding that our internal resources are the rudder that we use to navigate life’s journey. Imagine that being taught in kindergarten, or primary school, or even if push comes to shove, a whole university undergraduate degree.
On this birthday as has become my practice, I decided it would be a great day, and gift-wrapped my decision with a prayer of thanksgiving for immense graciousness and kindness towards me, for love and for protection. Everything else would be a warmly welcomed bonus. I activated my two me-made rules for the celebration of my (not uncomplicated) arrival on planet earth: I do what I want with my time, and I don’t play a bit part in someone else’s birthday.
Living this way from the inside out is quite the stuff of trust – full emotional confidence in divine providence – because you never know what might show up when, except that something good will show up.
As I stood by the lake not quite catching my reflection in the water, I mentally acknowledged the steady stream of messages and calls from well-wishers which carried on right through until midnight, later that night. I heard from people I hadn’t expected to hear from, and I received presents that left me feeling powerfully seen as both a woman, and a friend. I like being powerfully seen.
Birthdays are opportunities not unlike New Year to have a check in with dreams and desires, needs and non-negotiables. I’m very happy with, and grateful for starting early with the ongoing story that I’m embracing and creating around wellbeing – age is a marker for wisdom and an opportunity to increase in vibrancy. And in a few years time I want to have significantly realised my story around work – creating true wealth through using my natural creativity, skills, inclinations and preferred ways of working, for the empowering of many, and myself.
And then my incredibly stupendous dream around relationships. The details which will remain off this page and within my heart. Let’s just say I have dreamed big with a capital B. Over the past couple of years or so, especially the last one I have immersed myself in the study of the male/female dynamic, and the masculine/feminine principle. I enjoy diving deep into a subject, coming up for air, and then diving deep into another one. This is where I’m feasting for now.
My vision for what’s possible, is now a clarion call boosted by the treasure I’ve excavated during my ongoing explorations, and from what I have glimpsed at in my world as I focus and keep moving, internally first, and then with the outer work, following the trail of piercing insights, calm intuition, and soulful inspiration.
It was a long, lovely, and fruitful walk.
Do you check in with your dreams and desires, your needs and non-negotiables on your birthday?
Based in London, Jayne Ifeacho is a writer, public relations expert, and creative futurist, who holds a science honours degree in food and consumer studies, studied fashion promotion media at the University of the Arts, and whose PR career spans a number of children’s charities, the Natural History Museum, and private sector consultancy.
Jayne started the eatprettycreative blog initially to coach on nutrition but realised that was too narrow for what was really in her heart, which was to be fearlessly self-expressed, and to help other super, bright women to be the same – using their real voices, and their inherent beauty, thus changing the culture of the world.
Author of the forthcoming digital book The Art of Eating Pretty: for body, beauty and your bold art – which combines some of her story, food wisdom and other topics such as creativity and self worth – Jayne can be found here (eatprettycreative.com) and here (@Jayneyuk)