We get one every year, the birthday wish. It wields special power that is more potent than a penny tossed in a fountain, splitting a wishbone or blowing an eyelash off of your finer-tip. Think back to your last birthday, at the moment just before you blew out your candles. What hope-filled wish did you send out to the universe? Did you request renewed health, a new love, or for an investment to pan out? Perhaps you hoped to be granted a professional opportunity, or to simply be happy.
From the time we are children, we are taught of the magical opportunities in life that we are given to make wishes. As a result there is something a bit mystical and even ethereal about the word. When we were young we were told tales of characters who wished upon stars and enjoyed the happiest of outcomes. These stories fed our belief that we could be granted bliss if we too wished upon the first star we spied in the night sky. Also, we were encouraged to make the most of our yearly birthday wish and we would learn that our desires would evolve as we moved into adulthood. As we gained more life experience, perhaps the wish for a material possession in our younger years was replaced with a wish for something non-physical and even bigger than us.
Each year my dad, who is now rounding out his years as an octogenarian enjoys a birthday wish when August rolls around. Each time I ask him what he wishes for his answer is always the same, “for another year.” His reply is sweet, simple, and reflecting a man’s love of life and family.
Wishes seem frivolous, lofty and even childlike, but in actuality they are the mirror of the heart and the voice of the soul. Regardless of your age or your belief in your ability to actually manifest your wish, they are important to send out to the universal wish machine. When we do this, for just a moment in our logical, right-brained world, we are allowing ourselves to indulge in lighthearted dreaming. We are allowed to think of our lives and our deepest desires. These are things usually not given much time for reflection on the average day.
One of my proudest moments as a mom was when my son told me as a young teen that he hoped it was okay that he used his birthday wish to wish something special for someone else, someone he had never even met face-to-face. He used his wish in the hopes of helping a woman reframe her life after the passing of her daughter from leukemia. He seemed to know at his young age that giving away his once-a-year birthday wish was a powerful gift that was beyond compare.
So, is wishing child’s play?
Is it simply a ritual?
Is it a silly habit left over from our youth?
Or do we squeeze our eyes tightly and blow out our candles knowing a special and timeless truth? This truth is that there is an inherent power in telling the Divine what it is that we dream of, hope for and would like to see present in our lives.
Wishes can take the form of a blessing, like when a best man raises a glass to toast the new bride and groom while “wishing” them a life of happiness and health. A wish can be a vision for the future, an ideal, or a whisper of your hearts desire. Your wishes point to your destiny, your priorities, and your desires. You’d be wise to notice, not just what you truly wish for, but also what that wish reveals about you as well.
• Whatever it is that you wish for, you owe it to yourself to take steps to make it come true. Some action, any action, no matter how small, will feed the energy of your desire.
• Not sure what to wish for? Consider one or two of your greatest regrets. Regrets are a stellar place to look for dreams unfulfilled. If you are still here, you have time to bring some version of that dream to pass.
• Make your wish specific. Saying, “I want to be happy” is a weak wish. Saying, “I want to enjoy a week-long vacation unplugged in Malta,” is spot-on with no room for ambiguity or interpretation.
• Get out of your head when deciding about the “right wish” to make and use a wish on the behalf of another. It’s the “random act of kindness” in the wish world.
• Think about how you can be a tool to help another person with the fulfillment of his or her wishes. The Make a Wish Foundation is successful for many reasons, one of which is that people are attracted to the feeling of joy that comes with facilitating happiness for another human being.
• Once you name a wish—spend a little time with your old friend pen and paper. Make some notes on how your desire could take form and actually come true. What would be some specific goal markers that you could outline to bring your wish into form?
• New York Times Best-Seller, Five Wishes by Gay Hendricks is a great little book to guide you in turning your wishes into goals. Spending an afternoon reading this short book could re-route your life and jumpstart you in a new and fabulous direction.
• Remember, a wish not granted could be a greater gift than receiving your desire. Think back to some of your childhood wishes and feel the gratitude bubble up for your second grade crush not becoming your partner in life and for not getting a real pet T-Rex after all.
As humans we are wired for hope, anticipation and dreaming. We have access to the perfect tool to bring this into each day of our lives. The age-old notion of “the wish” is a magical way to boost hope in what is possible and to reveal our personal and very unique blueprint for happiness. Every single wish made releases the energy of happiness and hope into the world. That energy attracts more of the same, becoming bigger than the original wish. What you will find when this process unfolds is that the thing you are wishing for and seeking is seeking you right back.
So Walt Disney’s Jiminy Cricket just may have been right when he sang in the classic movie Pinocchio, “When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires will come to you.” Of course the only way to know for sure, is to get out there and w-i-s-h. So blow that dandelion puff into the wind, set that ladybug into flight and wish every chance you get on that folded over potato chip.
Rena M Reese is the founder of Soul Salon International, an inspirational multimedia company that also offers coaching and consulting to help people find their “happy place.” She is the author of several titles, a professional speaker and the host of a weekly radio program, The Soul Salon. Please visit SoulSalonInternational.com on the web, on Facebook and on Twitter @TheSoulSalon.