Since I went with the theme of "embodiment" for my birthday I would like to say something about "Bodyworlds". It was really powerful for me.
The first few body parts I saw in the beginning were a bit shocking. I knew that once this arm or hand was attached to a previously real, live, walking, breathing person. And there is a bit of desensitization that happened as I saw more and more.
I am a bit sensitive. One male body is in slices which was the most personally disturbing for me. I think this was because he had some skin on him. I had to turn away and felt light headed. Part of my strong reaction though was because I saw two minutes once of a horror flick which (I think) was named cubed, where people were "cubed" or sliced up. I wish I had never ever ever seen that movie and I whole heartedly blame my friend Nils for strong arming me into watching those two minutes.
People were really quiet while walking around. I was glad about that, because it felt like the exhibit called for it. I felt my mind wanting to see the bodies as fake. The experience has a surreal quality but I still felt aware that these were actually real people.
I had this growing feeling that I struggled to name while walking around. And towards the end I realized that I felt really sad. The museum quality and surreal nature dissipated or maybe just wore off during the second half for me. By the end I was left with a similar feeling to when I go to a memorial service. I was sad. Not because I knew the people or even because they were dead, but because I kept feeling like some sort of sadness or respect was called for. That this wasn't just me seeing a normal exhibit of something. This was standing amidst mortality. It was worthy of something more. That more I felt was called out from me was a sort of reverence or respect and it came out in sadness.
Bodyworlds is not your average education exhibit. I found it an opportunity to be mindful. To be aware of humanity and mortality. To literally stare into the face of death (dead people). For me it was the perfect thing to do on my birthday because it called me to intentionally think about how I want to live this year. And the fact that every year of my life is an opportunity to live fully and mindfully.
All in all this experience was hyper-appropriate for this year of my life because this is a year where I am embodying myself in a new way. A way that is more aware, more present, more mindful, and ultimately more alive than I have been before.