"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Today's the day. At 3:53 this afternoon I will be 60. Mom used to try to call me at the exact time of my birth—one of the few rituals in our life together that let me know she celebrated my presence in her life.

As you know, this last year of my fifties has been difficult. I came to the end of it shaken and unsure of my path. The dream I'd spent the last several years in pursuit of was as tattered as storm-torn foliage after a level 5 hurricane. Instead of asking myself about next steps toward fulfillment, my questions became more and more about whether I'd been fooling myself all along.

So, this is the birthday present I'm giving myself: the reclaiming of my dream. I do it here with you all as witness because I know you understand more than anyone could.

I will write. I will be published. I will teach and edit and coach.

My words will matter, will be a force of light and healing in the world. I was given the gift of words and the gift of the dream to offer those words to anyone who might benefit, or simply enjoy. I claim it as my privilege and responsibility.

I sit here at my computer, the place where I meet my Muse and the place where I unfurl the wings that will carry me toward the dream I didn't ask for, but that is mine nonetheless. There are feathers everywhere, and birds and angels. A lush peace lily provides backdrop. A huge picture window lets in light and gives my eyes hundreds of shades of green to rest on. The picture of my mom gazing with such love at my newborn self is to my right. On both sides and behind me are hundreds of books—my inspiration, my guides.

This is the place where time ceases to have power or meaning.

On this machine I have your words and wishes, your love and support, which mean more to me than a thank you could possibly express.

And on the small bulletin board hung to hold artifacts for current work are these words from Ernest Hemingway:

From things that have happened and from all things that you know and all those you cannot know, you make something through your invention that is not a representation but a whole new thing truer than anything true and alive, and you make it alive, and if you make it well enough, you give it immortality. That is why you write and for no other reason.

Here's to immortality. Here's to a new decade and dreams come true. Here's to you, dear reader, for being here and sharing this incredible adventure with me.


writing and living by Richard P Hughes said...

It takes courage to take a stand. So, you are courageous. You'll have a lot of support along the way, even if it's virtual support.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Deb, may all your dreams come true.

DJan said...

I echo the former comments. Happy Birthday and may all your dreams come true, which will lead to more healing in the world. I stand on the threshold of my 70th year, which seems impossible to imagine. Sixty now seems young to me. It's all in where you're standing. :-)

Dee Ready said...

Dear Deb, With this posting you touch bedrock. The bedrock of who you have been and are today and the bedrock of the gifts you have been given.

The following word you wrote spoke deeply to me today: "I was given the gift of words and the gift of the dream to offer those words to anyone who might benefit, or simply enjoy. I claim it as my privilege and responsibility."

Yes. The gifts are both privilege and responsibility. Accepting them, I believe, is both joy and contentment.

I sent you once a quote about stepping off into space. You are stepping. Please trust that "there will be something solid" for you "to stand on or" you "will be taught to fly." I believe you are flying now.


Terri Tiffany said...

Hi Deb. Happy Birthday to you today! You did have a rough year but I feel blessed that you shared those ups and downs with us and you have come out stronger for it! I am excited to see where life leads you:))

Mark Lyons said...

Happy Birthday my dear, sweet beautiful Sister! Once again your words inspire me. On this day that you receive gifts to celebrate your birth, thank you for your gift to each of us...your gift of words.
I love you

BECKY said...

Happy Fabulous New Dreams, Birthday, Deb! With your determination and inspiration, I know you will reach your goals!

Wanda said...

So noted. I join as your witness.

So be it.

So be it.

So be it.

Barb said...

Knowing what is important to you and striving to pursue it is what gives Life its zest. The best to you, Deb, on this day and always.

Wanda..... said...

Your Declaration of Intent and Purpose is inspiring, Deb. Such a great gift to give oneself! Striving to be what you're meant to be... gives one satisfaction and contentment.
Happy Birthday Deb!

yaya said...

Happy Birthday Deb. I hope these years ahead of you will begin with happiness and success. I hope you can write what your heart tells you and that someday I can read it! And don't forget to eat cake...a big peice..full of sugar and fun and celebration.

colbymarshall said...

Happy birthday! I think that is the PERFECT b-day present to give yourself. I may just take a note out of your book!

kario said...

Your presence on the planet changes everything.
Your presence on the planet means so much to me, personally.
Your presence on the planet is and shall be celebrated for many generations to come.

Happy, happy day.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Aww Happy Birthday!!

Remember always, you have the words, talent, and the ideas within. It's up to you to bring them out.


Donna said...

I think your goal is PERFECT, Deb!! You are a fabulous writer and will do well with this. You certainly will not lack for things to write about.
My mother, too, whom I miss with everyting in me, used to wake me up on each of my birthdays and be the first to wish a Happy Birthday!! She would sing to me in her just-up froggiest voice, her HB rendition and I LOVED it! It's one of the saddest days now that she is gone, when my birthday arrives each year. Funny that your mother chose the exact time to call you. That's real committment to watch the clock like that! (I'd be calling my children close to midnight...yikes!)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY and may all your best dreams come true!!

Stacy said...

Happy Birthday Deb!

Good luck with your dreams, it will happen when the time is just right.

You have inspired me on many days. Thanks for your gift that uplifts me or helps me to think more deeply often!

Linda Hoye said...

Happy Birthday, Deb. I've missed you! Hope your special day has been inspiring and special. Many hugs, Linda

Linda Hoye said...

Happy Birthday, Deb. I've missed you! Hope your special day has been inspiring and special. Many hugs, Linda

Rita said...

Happy, happy birthday!!
We all stand witness. The only one who can give up on your dreams is you. Fly lady!! Soar!! Celebrate!! :):)

Deb Cushman said...

Here's to you, your dream, and immortality!

Love ya!

Linda Myers said...

And here's to you, Deb, at the start of a brand new decade.

JKS said...

Happy birthday and keep writing - and blogging! Your insights into nature and the photos that go with them are great, as are your totally relatable adventures in teaching. Every day is a new beginning!

Anonymous said...

"My words will matter, will be a force of light and healing in the world."

You've already accomplished this one Deb. You and your words DO matter. They matter to me. And by the looks of all these comments, they matter to many others as well!

Keep writing. Keep dreaming. Please, please, please, keep posting!

Happy New Year!
-M in Vancouver

Katie Gates said...

Wow. Powerful post! And you absolutely MUST keep that dream alive. It is wonderful to be among those who witness your journey. In my opinion, you are realizing your dream every time you share a post with the world.

I hope you had a marvelous birthday yesterday -- complete with an extra hour!

Gammary said...

happy birthday my dear

you are an inspiration to me


graceonline said...

I bear witness.

Desiree said...

Firstly, Happy 60th Birthday, Deb! I am a little late, but my wishes are just as sincere...and, I do wish you a far better year than you've dreamt possible! From the moment I first stumbled upon your blog, I have stood in awe at your ability to express yourself. Your writing flows pure and deep and I have never had a moment's doubt that you won't "make it" as a writer! The only reason I think you haven't yet been "discovered" is because you are in the league of the great thinkers and philosophers and not one of the many hundreds of populist fiction writers appealing to the mass market. I sincerely hope you never change to accommodate those masses, either, because what you have is something so special and rare. I am so glad you've recommitted yourself to the pursuit of your long cherished dream. JUST KEEP WRITING!

Laura said...

Happy Birthday sweet friend...a rebirth every day we are blessed to wake up, don't you think?

I'm so glad you have rededicated your heart to writing. You are indeed a light in the world and your words heal us as much as they heal you.

Unspoken said...

I do not believe in heaven in a traditional sense. but I believe words can be. Here is to your wish and your words being immortal.

I miss my mother. I can't recall the last birthday I had with her. Nor do I know the moment I was born. But I love the music she gave my heart. It's funny what mothers leave us, even in all their lack and damned humanity.

Anonymous said...

I am a little late in wishing you a Happy Birthday Deb, and echo the sentiments expressed here.
Your writing means a lot to me.x

Sally Wessely said...

We are the privileged ones to share this dream, the journey, this path you are on with you. You will reach those dreams. You are so gifted. You have truly blessed us with the words that you write that spill so beautifully from your heart and soul.

You are very important to me. I hope your birthday was just amazing

Sandi said...

Hey Deb,

I'm late to comment, although I already sent you an email on your birthday, so that should count for something!!

Anyway, I loved this post, especially, " . . . where I unfurl the wings that will carry me toward the dream I didn't ask for, but that is mine nonetheless."

I love the picture that puts in my mind. I see you soaring, looking down at what is now, and back at what has been, and forward, for what is to come.

There is no doubt in my mind that you will claim the dream, and be published for those who are so unfortunate to not know you now. There is a huge audience, waiting for you, who will rejoice when your dream is fulfilled.

God bless you and your efforts, my dear special and beloved friend. Looking forward to our day of celebration!

Love, Sandi

Anonymous said...

Happy belated birthday Deb! (I may have already said that) This post reads like a new beginning and I feel the world opening up for you simply because you are letting it. I hope that feeling stays with you - be inspired, be creative and most of all be yourself!

Julia said...

This was really special. I love you and miss you. I hate it when life gets in the way, as it always does.

Amber said...

I hope you had a blessed birthday, friend. I hope you have a blessed year.

"My words will matter, will be a force of light and healing in the world"--

And I hope you know your words have been doing this for years. For me. For many.

I love you.


Kathryn Magendie said...

Happy Birthday, dear Deb -- you will see your dream and I am so glad of that.

Unknown said...

You are such an inspiration.
You are beloved .

I wish we could take a walk together sometime.

And I kept thinking of a photo you posted sometime back.. of you with your siblings, the present coming together with the past..

it has been so strange for me with all of this.. the surreal of being 'home' for these stretches with my mom etc...

thank you for the gift of your elegant and noble strength. your integrity and your grace. thank you.