I used to be shy about my birthday.

I’ve even thrown a few big parties over the years and not told anyone until I brought out the cake. I  worried that people would feel obliged to bring gifts.

I feared it would seem greedy for an adult to do anything but include “no gifts” on a birthday invitation– which I couldn’t bring myself to write because of course I love birthday presents! ( as long as you don’t give them out of obligation.)
That all changed last year when one of my mentors and favorite people, the daring and delightful Dr Deb Kern, made a big deal out of her birthday. She held a special Daring Divas dance class, and asked everyone to contribute to the music play list and a group project about visions for her future.

We started class with a gratitude circle. One by one, over 30 women expressed their thanks for all Dr. Deb had done for them. The air was electric. The gratitude was palpable.
Dr Deb revealed that it made her gut churn to stand and receive so much. This tidal wave of love was triggering limiting beliefs that urged her to turn away from or deflect all that praise: fears of “taking too much”,”hogging the spotlight”, “being self-centered”,”not deserving it” or just that something terrible would happen to her.

But Dr Deb stood her ground as wave after wave of love crashed around her. She was stretching herself on purpose. She is one wise and empowered woman– a woman who knows that her ability to succeed is limited only by her ability to receive.

I was so thrilled by her experiment that I immediately started one of my own. As soon as it was my turn to speak, I imagined myself receiving the very appreciation that I was giving to Dr Deb. I did the same with every other gratitude expressed around the circle. I, too, felt the churning in my gut. I, too, heard my Inner Critic (Miss Humility) fear and fret. But I held my ground. I stretched. I continued to let the love in.


Love from my creative wonder twin Donna Klein


I felt so full that I practically beamed through the rest of class. And for the rest of my day, I couldn’t help but pour out sincere appreciation to everyone I encountered–from my kids to the guy who carried out my groceries. Miss Humility’s lie was officially busted: Receiving love did not steal from others! No! On the contrary, it was the greatest gift I could give the world.

So it’s my birthday and I’m not being shy about it this year!

It’s my first year to get a wave of facebook birthday wishes–from old friends and new–and I’ve been holding my ground and opening myself up to receive it all. Thank you everyone!

Your turn: Will you accept the gift of receiving?  If you haven’t already, wish me “Happy Birthday” and really hear it for yourself at the same time. Celebrate the day you were born into this world, at the same time that you celebrate the day I was. How does it feel to stretch your capacity to receive?

 Adventure Club: for the whole week, practice receiving every compliment, gratitude, or endearment you utter to another. Acknowledge and reassure any Inner Critics that come up.  “Oh, that’s you, Miss Humility, worrying about me being rejected for taking too much. Thanks for your concern, but I’ve got this one covered. Why don’t you take a few days off? Enjoy! You deserve it! I’ll let you know if I need you later.”

Comment on my blog what it was like, what your Inner Critic said, what you said back, and what happened in your life when you gave yourself the gift of receiving.

oh, and Happy Birthday to you!