03 July, 2015

Thirty-Two

Thirty-two is...
  • the atomic number of germanium
  • the number of teams in the National Football League.
  • the number of completed, numbered piano sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven
  • the freezing point of water at sea level in degrees Fahrenheit
  • the code for international direct dial phone calls to Belgium
    the number of teeth of a full set of teeth in an adult human, including wisdom teeth
And...
  • the total number of black squares, white squares, and the total number of pieces (black and white) at the beginning of the game of Chess.
  • the number of pages in the average comic book (not including the cover)
  • the Saros number of the lunar eclipse series (which began on June 11, 1691 BC and ended on August 9, 375 BC). The duration contained 74 lunar eclipses.
  • the ball used in association football is typically made with 32 panels of leather or synthetic material.
Also...
  • The Hindu scripture Mudgala Purana also describes Ganesha as taking 32 forms.
  • In the Kabbalah, there are 32 Kabbalistic Paths of Wisdom.
  • 32 = 11 + 22 + 33 
  • One billion seconds is about 32 years...

*

So.
Being "one billion seconds" old,
having acquired one billion seconds of wisdom, learning,
and had one billions seconds of human experience, here I am.

I won't lie to you, reader. Thirty-one was a heckuva year. One filled to the brim with gratitude. One utterly overflowing with some of the most incredible professional, personal and artistic highs.
Highlights:

Kiss Me, Kate at Royal Albert Hall
Being nominated for, and singing at, The Grammy Awards with my beloved Cheyenne.
'I Am Harvey Milk' at Disney Hall with "sister" Andrew Lippa

falling madly, passionately in love with my highest calling: teaching. 
making my professional debut as a produced playwright.
playing my dream role, Eliza Doolittle
But, thirty-one also presented some of the most concerning lows in my adult life thus far. And while nothing can compare to the roaring tangle of grief, or the crack of life-altering heartbreak, this year I faced a new stratum of personal extremity: my own health was tested. Oof.

Me. And a pile of sexy sexy medicine.
When your own existence is challenged, you are presented with real some very real questions:
  • What am I truly doing with this life I have been given?
  • Am I living it, or merely existing?
and, to be frank, the ultimate question:
  • ...Do I truly want to be here...?
This is not melodrama, I present these questions with the stark austerity with which they came to me. And while I know that appearances may have presented a glittering year of such exhilarating honors  to the outside world, within, things were in a quiet, invisible crisis.

Luckily, I discovered a hidden well—shadowed, tucked away so deeply in the folds on consciousness I had not yet heard its echo. That well contained a life-force—a serum so potent, it transformed every fibril within me.

I did want to be here.
Very much.

My favorite Psalm (spooookily, Psalm 32) says:
When I kept silent,
    my bones wasted away
       through my groaning all day long...
What I take from this is that "silence" of all kind, is spiritually expensive. I can no longer silence the full spectrum of who I am, or I will, in every day, cease to truly exist. So that meant re-framing my idea of (all-encompassing) health beginning at the cellular level, and that, dear readers, I have endeavored to do with the help of great (super strict!) doctors, teachers, healers, the care of loving friends, and especially the super-human 'Mama Silbs.' I am better than ever.

And, dear reader, though I cannot tell you yet, I have recently received a birthday gift beyond my wildest dreams. I will be able to celebrate good ol' thirty-two in a manner beyond imagining.

So. Here is what I learned long the way:

Trust your struggle.

It is all merely a part of the Great story.






8 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday Al. Sorry to hear of these challenges, as enlightening as they may ultimately be, I know they're no fun when you're going through them frown emoticon I had some of my own health struggles this past year ironically. I know they can test every little bit of you at times, so bravo to your heart and soul. So happy to hear youre happy on your 32nd. Thank you for sharing this. Xo

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  2. Happy birthday, Al! So glad you have determined to hang around for a while. We love you!

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  3. KatherineJuly 05, 2015

    Love you so, beautiful as always! Happy birthday!

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  4. Happy Birthday to a very talented lady. So sorry you had to struggle with health issues this past year. Hope you are better and will continue to soar. Best.

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  5. Your words ring so true. We all have our ups and downs. You've had a wonderful year that would make most people's lives, nonetheless their last 365 days. I can't wait to see what the next year will bring. Happy birthday! I'll hit 39 next week. It all goes by so quickly. smile emoticon

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  6. Thank you for always sharing so honestly. Happy birthday friend! smile emoticon

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  7. Your birthday always makes me happy that you are in this world. Glad for your success, your inner beauty and the joy you bring others

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