I knew when I turned 45, I’d be doing this. Yesterday marked the day I turned a year older than my oldest sister / little mommy / spiritual guide, Loolee, ever was. I knew it was the year to honor her influence on me, during and after her life, and to honor myself for my own journey so far. A friend called me a “babaylan” in an email last week. I had to look it up. Babaylans are the Filipina shamans, the healers, the servers of the community. I found a beautiful mandala for the babaylans and meant to put that on my forearm. Instead, my artist and collaborator, Michael Mendoza, and I created something else for somewhere else.
Loolee’s real name was Lorenza, she’s in the center as a laurel tree, her trunk the shape of a dancing druid, 7 leaves for the 7 chakras which she taught me (along with how to type on a Smith-Corona, but Courier is not a font I wanted on my body).
Within the concentric circles, is Ba for feminity, Ha for breath, and La for masculinity, written in the Tagalog alphabet of Baybayin. Bahala Na, means to leave it to the universe, not passively but with action and trust. The agave is to remind me of the Four Agreements by which I try to live. Be impeccable with your word, don’t take things personally, don’t make assumptions, always do your best.
The only thing we didn’t get to incorporate was my master number, 22. At least not consciously. As I lay on my side, machine buzzing in my ear, sterile air in my nose, I meditated on how to get 22 in there. Nothing presented itself except for accepting “bahala na” and if it wasn’t meant to be, then we’d let it be. We did. I awoke the next morning, and for some reason, decided to count the letters. Ba appears 22 times.
I can’t be happier with how it turned out. It has everything I wanted, it’s bigger than I meant to have, more detailed and layered than I thought possible, cleaner than I anticipated, more beautiful, meaningful and badass than I ever imagined. Which, not coincidentally, is exactly how my life is turning out to be.