We are not our feelings. We are not our emotions. And yes, we have the power to control them. With a snap of our fingers.

This is one of the little gems of knowledge I learned at the “Unleash the Power Within” or UPW for short. This is a Tony Robbins event, the Father of Life Coaching and strategist, who helps us make life more fulfilling, more passionate, more alive and purposeful. Tony and his team offered an amazing experience at this event that 11,000 people attended. I must say, Tony is not for everyone. Tony is for the special few that are truly hungry, hungry for more in life; more life, more passion, more fulfilment, more fun, more joy, more excitement and adventure in life. You can see the speaking and leadership skills he owns. When he walks into the room people are hanging from his mouth. And for some, his event might be a bit culty-like but there’s a reason for engaging body, voice and playing full out. When the whole body-mind-spirit connection participates, our experiences can be better imprinted into our amygdala, the memory bank of our brains, so that you can relive the moment even days, months and years after it.

I know I will never forget the “Firewalk”. Yeap, you read it right. I’m a fucking firewalker and I freakin’ rock. No idea what I’m talking about? Well, you know those African or Amazonian tribes that like to walk on burnt coals? Well. Tony and his team arranged 30 of those firewalks. This was Day 1 of the UPW! You’re probably thinking “WTF?!” Trust me, I was thinking the same. I had no clue what I was getting myself into… I had no idea there was such a thing at the event. So you can imagine how struck I was when Tony started talking about it on Day 1. But I guess if I knew in advance, I would have hesitated to book such an expensive event; they don’t come cheap. We had all woken up early in the morning to attend the event and there were no breaks; I was hanging from Tony’s words, his stories were truly captivating. Tony has been doing what he’s doing for the past 30 years, the ease and energy he has on stage are absolutely amazing. What I didn’t know about him was that he has acromegaly. This is a tumour in his brain excreting Growth Hormone, GH for short, that’s what makes him a 21st century giant. Now, he could’ve easily surrendered to the tumour and accept treatment or a bad prognosis. He chose however to turn a what other people might think of a negative situation into something that has a positive outcome for himself, the people he loves and the whole world. How? By changing his blueprint, the beliefs and values that weren’t serving him at the time to deal with this monster of a diagnosis,  and turned all of his energy and focus into his personal development, modelling other experts, offering knowledge and experiences to the world, and following his philanthropic dreams of feeding children and families that need it.


Here’s how Day 1 goes: after hours and hours with no food, no water and no mental break I was simply exhausted. And then the talk about the firewalk came up. I was like “Wait, what?! What’s that?”

I hear Tony then say: “In a few moments, you will be walking on coals burning up to 10,000 degrees. Now I need to get you mentally ready because if you panic on the firewalk you are screwed. I’ve been doing this firewalk for 30 years. You will probably suffer some blisters, but bear in mind 3 people have died in the past 30 years. This may lead to burns, serious injuries, toxic shock and even death. You signed the disclaimer. Remember that piece of paper earlier this morning? Now, injuries happen when you aren’t in state. That’s why I need to teach you how to get and stay in state. And by the way if you get a blister, don’t worry… We’ll show you an acupuncture point to relieve the pain.”

Next thing you know, Tony says “It’s time: Take your shoes and socks, leave your belongings here, security will be in the building.” 11000 people obey and do as so. We are all now walking, just like my sister described it after she saw the vid, like sheep to be killed, towards 30 different paths of coals. Each one of us had a partner, mine was Zoltan, a out of the box Hungarian. We kept each other accountable and kept each other motivated to just go for it. He did an amazing job because midway I was freaking doubting myself and I could barely feel my legs! He was like “You do this, Sabrina! It’s in you! Yes! Yes! Yes!”, he repeated at times clapping and keeping my spirits up and motivated even though I could barely feel my feet. After walking, what seemed to be an endless stroll, stepping on a piece of grass, means that you’re it! Time to walk on fire, baby! The crew member, god bless her soul, said: “Make your move, look up, and go!”. I could hear people in the background cheering “Yes, yes, yes” nonstop. I was drawn in and with each step I took, I repeated “Yes, Yes, Yes,” each time louder than them. Two sets of arms grabbed me, a voice said: “Wipe your feet, you did it!”. It took me a while to realise what was going on, my reaction time felt diminished. Once I stepped on real ground and felt the humidity on my legs from the nearby waterhoses, I couldn’t help but scream my fucking lungs out!!! I’d done it! I made it! I never thought I could! And even while I’m writing about the event, a month later, I can’t help it but have ears in my eyes because of the joy, pride and emotional strength I owe. That’s all me baby! I freakin’ rock!  The firewalk has been a new beginning for me. And I know, every single time, I come across the feeling of fear, I need to lean in. Now, I know it’s all in my head, it’s all excuses, I can’t help myself and feel like a small child wanting to try every exciting adventure, sport and experience out there as long as it excites me. I got so inspired by the experience.


Make your move, look up, go! Yes! Yes! Yes! Celebrate!

Day 2 was even scarier than that, dealing with limiting beliefs and going to the deepest fears of you emotional capacity. Visualising this negative torn on myself made me realise that whatever negative is going through my mind can be there, for a limited amount of time only because it’s not serving me. Now I’m starting a “Dare your Courage” Bucket. I’ve always wanted to write extreme things down but even for that I never had the courage to do. Trust me, this will work. I need to experience mind-blowing events. My greatest fear is dying alone with minimal memory capacity of experiences and having had no impact on the world. Chasing dares and experiences that activate my fear/stress responses will help me decrease the resistance I have to them and will give me more joy, more memories, more worthy stories to share. And maybe just telling these stories to my great grandchildren might end up being my only legacy.

From a coaching point of view, getting into state was a combination of NLP and visualisation techniques as well as using incantations. In the beginning it takes time because NLP techniques and mental conditioning requires later constant repetition and serious priming. Otherwise, it’s just words that come out of your mouth, with no emotional or physical engagement. And both are a must. The mental conditioning with mindfulness, meditations, visualisations and incantations, jumping and dancing made me realise the amazing energy and hunger I still have burning inside my soul.

Tony Robbins & Team THANK YOU!

Now Day 3 was practically focused on selling and the topic of health. I must say, just as I was a bit pissed about the continuous selling that happened throughout the event but especially during Day 3, so were others. Tony has to eat too people, I just wish they hadn’t done it. Most of us are already fans of Tony and we’ll buy because we love the guy, his brand and the care he shares. I wish he and his team realise that and decrease the annoying selling that was going on, too outdated guys; I’m a bit disappointed.

As for the health part of Day 3, and even though I’m a doctor, it was still eye-opening! And the cherry on the top: dancing all night long to Will.i.am.’s songs and remixes. Who would’ve known that after such an intense day, I still had more energy in me? I surprised myself, yet again!

I can’t wait to learn and experience even more, keep raising my standards, taking care of myself and my loved ones, exploring places to live in and people to create lasting connections with! Fiji, I’ll see you soon 🙂


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Not sure where your self-esteem lies?

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PS: No need to lie. Remember this is for your eyes, and your googly eyes only -unless you choose to share. Allow yourself to be courageous, vulnerable and honest with yourself.

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After the Ev (ye, that’s what I’m calling it these days :P), get paper and a pen and reflect.

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Do you wake up, curse on the alarm clock, hit snooze, and 3 times after you’ve hit the snooze button finally find it within you to finally get up? Do you drag yourself half asleep to the toilet, wash up and get dressed ? If you are a female good luck; you will have probably changed 3 times already. Do you make your way to the kitchen -which is probably messed up cause… who has the power to clean the dishes from the day before?- and swallow a coffee as fast as you can because and before you know it, it’s already time to go to work…? AGAIN…?! And you cannot even remember where the stupid keys are! AGAIN! This sadly happens to most of us on most days -if you are living alone! Can you imagine living with more than you? Already CHAOS, PANIC, STRESS rule and take over your body!

It is a fact: Most of us go to work ALREADY stressed! Now, we also have our work, our customers, AND our bosses to worry about it ON TOP! Oh, man…!

I can honestly say that the first time at work I felt stressed was my first day at work. Or should I say first week? Or was it more? To be fair, it was a mixture of feelings, most frequently switching from excitement to fear, to stress, to being proud. So I decided I needed to put an end to the negative stuff, especially stress. I dug deep into my notes from the past and found some answers. Before writing this article, I dug a little deeper for us, just to keep us up-to-date 🙂

I cannot STRESS enough how STRESS can kill you. So I hope you and I find these stress management strategies helpful. Please remember, just because it is working for me or others, does not mean it works for you. The list is quite long -options, options ;)- but even if you apply 1/10 of it, you will probably have better chances of limiting the effects of stress -especially chronic stress- than others. Just experiment with a technique for some time -if you are open to it- and see if it is sincerely for you or not.

 

I. What can I do to release stress in the moment?

1. Learn the physiological signs of stress and acknowledge how your body reacts to it. Do not ignore the signs, i.e. sweaty palms, increased heart rate, neck stiffness, upset stomach..

2. Think of the stressor as an opportunity to grow and move on, rather than something negative. Shift your way of thinking and use the rush you get to focus undeniably to the task in hand.

3. Say over and over: “I got this! Done it before, can handle, time to crush it baby!” Believe me when I say, positive thinking will get you a long way! 🙂

4. Activate your yang, your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) that is. The PNS has the ability to calm down the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which is eventually responsible for the adrenaline rush. How to activate your PNS? A simple on-the-spot technique is the “5x5x5 deep breathing“: breath deep through your heart, feel your abdominal muscles and your chest expanding and contracting, imagine your diaphragm moving up and down. 5 seconds inhale, 5 seconds exhale, for a total of 5 deep breaths.

5. Write down a to-do list, prioritise, strategise. Everything will be clearer and you will be able to focus in no time.

6. Talk to someone you trust, someone who can listen and can give advice. Talking things through will always pave the path for a better understanding. It helps us to see the problem with a fresh eye and get to solutions faster. [PS: These kind of people are hard to find, so when you do, cherish them and show them how much you appreciate them]

7. Promote a calm aura, as if you are the Dalai Lama in the middle of a war zone. Relax your face, relax your shoulders, stand up straight, and keep your voice calm and reasonable. Why? Well, consider the last time someone talked to you in  a distressed tone -for me it will always be the nurses… How did you react?

II. What can I do to relieve/release stress on the long run?

1. Take time to define on paper your code of conduct, your dreams and visions, your values and rules, your ideals, ultimate goals, and beliefs. Be honest and ask yourself these little treasures:

A. Where do I stand today?

B. Where do I want to get to?

C. Why?

If question C does not stir up some emotion inside of you, know it is not the right one. So, keep asking why and you will get there. Finally,

D. How do I get to B? What can I do differently?

Knowing your core self will help your focus and allow you to say no to stressful things that may not even be as important or urgent for you and where you want to be.

2. Practice mindfulness techiques purposefully, intentionally, with an open mind & heart.

mindful breathing

pexels-photo-899753.jpeg
Photo by Nguyễn Xuân Trung on Pexels.com

mindful STOP: STOP and smell the flowers 😉

mindful daily routine

mindful eating: smell, sight, sound, texture, taste, temperature

mindful commuting

3. Pay attention to the positives, rather than the negatives: think of something or someone that makes you happy or puts a smile on your face.

4. Practice gratitude:

Write “Thank you” notes

Write gratitude letters

Journal 3 times/week about 3 things you are grateful for. I have noticed that the smaller and the more unimportant something may seem to be, the more I am grateful for it.

5. Volunteer (do acts of kindness), give

6. Connect with others and empower your compassion: with people you love, with people you feel can teach you something new, with strangers.

7. Relax:

Progressive muscle relaxation (Audio)

Diaphragmatic breathing

Guided imaging/visualisation through all our senses to get to our “Happy place”

8. Try destraction methods, i.e. cold showers (not a fan, lol)

9. Have a self-soothing, self-compassionate outlook on yourself: look at your mistakes with kindness, use constructive criticism with yourself rather than cold judgement, see the day as an opportunity for progress instead of perfection. Hug yourself.

10. Be proactive: Plan ahead, use prioritised action lists (what, where, when- even your recreation time!), use if-then statements (i.e. “If it is 20:00, then I will exercise”) and get excited about getting things done! Check out my first blog about planning here!

11. Count your little wins, give yourself a tap on the back, and celebrate your progress any way you feel like!

12. Spend time in nature, in green places.

13. Cherish & nurture your hobbies, recreation and leisure time. If possible do it away from work, and just play and have fun with others.

14. Pray

15. Self-reflect with the help of journaling

16. Use techniques like: Neural feedback or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

17. Search and find a mentor or ask the help of a life coach

 

Appointment booked. I’m all set. Coach me!

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18. Define your inspirations, role models and heroes according to what you want to improve on.

III. Last but not least, here are some lifestyle changes to consider:

Nutrition: the what is just as significant as the how

The what: limit salt, sugar , “whites”, (i.e. bread, milk, sugar) & red meat,  eat a “rainbow” of vegetables and fruits, go for healthier carbs & nuts, drink plenty of water.

The how: mindfully, without TV, enjoy and talk to others

Exercise: 30 min/day moderate, aerobic exercise (which means not being able to talk with ease) & weight bearing (yoga, pilates, weight-lifting). Zumba® is a fantastic, fun way to tone, burn calories and most importantly have FUN! Check my Zumba instructor page! Check out when the next class takes place and make sure you share your love by clicking on the ♥ button!

Zumba Basic 1

Sleep: 7-9 hrs/d is considered physiological.

Take care of your sleep hygiene, i.e. avoid exercise, alcohol, smoking, caffeine at least 2 hrs before going to bed. Control the sleeping environment, combat cognitive hyperactivity with breathing or meditation.

Now it’s up to you? How does your body, mind, health experience stress? What have you been doing so far? What is working, what not? What would work? Which practices, tools, ideas are you ready to give a go? Which others come to mind?

I would be happy to connect with you!

Until then,

∞ ,

Curious Sabrina

 

Cooking could be a anything from a necessity to survive to a loving hobby. In my family cooking is most important on Sunday as we all come together for lunch-dinner (#liner) at around 16 o’ clock. Well, at least this is how I remember it when I was living with my parents.

It was important to learn how to cook, I am proud to say I could do the basics before I went to university. During university cooking was rather more of a time management thing. And trust me I was bad at time management at 17.  Even nowadays I feel like I am out of touch with time at times, wanting to escape and throw away my watch… But that is a post for another time 😉

Getting to know a cute guy- it is always a guy, isn’t it?- I was intrigued to understand better where he is coming from, his culture and his people’s habits. And what a better place to start than cooking! Before I knew it, I had found a course in Aargau, registered and a few months later I was standing in front of a group of strangers who had the same curiosity as I did. A couple had received the course as a gift, another couple were friends of the Chef (Andreas was his name I believe) as I understood it, and there was even a couple that had met through these cooking courses and got married! They even shared with us the story of their marriage and the food -yes, it was ALL about food that day-  Andreas had prepared for them. With every story I was thinking to myself “Shit! How did you manage to come here alone?” But that is a story for another time 😉

In the beginning the team enjoyed a little bit of freshly made bread, which was melting in your mouth 🙂 The kitchen was smelling herby, italian herby. Wine and water were complementing our late afternoons. We were all instructed to wear white aprons and wash our hands. The aprons had a bright white color, and a rather complicated mechanism for adjusting the “tails” of the apron. You see, we were given two tails of cloth. Each had at a button at one end, which would help the tail stay fixed. The other end would go through a tiny hole of the apron. Once this was done on both holes – I feel so naughty…- we would basically tie the apron with the tails around our waist. My days… this is harder to describe than to actually do! You get the picture, the complicated picture! I was expecting to where one of those tall Chef hats as well, but I guess I am in a hurry lol. One needs to deserve “The Hat”, it is like the stars of a military uniform I guess.

The Chef and the Sous-chef explained the several dishes for us. The newbie might have felt overwhelmed in the beginning – I felt that way too, especially when hearing all those new names of dishes and ingredients and trying to remember how to do each dish. Eleven or so dishes, different ingredients, different techniques and tools. Apparently there were easy and not so easy dishes. Thankfully we were each responsible for 1-2 dishes which did not lead to a catastrophe, i.e. burning the place down, which would have been a shame because they had recently renovated the place.  

Now first things first. The meat was a priority because it would have to go in the oven asap for all those beautiful spices to marry together with the protein. I do not cook lamb at home but you never know when you are going to need a recipe like this one. “So focus Sabrina and record this- in your mind that is because your phone battery just died.”

Then it was our turn. As we all began cooking, I could hear the hustle and bustle in the kitchen. Everyone was talking, trying to figure out what was supposed to go down. The uncertainty mixed with a feeling of excitement were lingering in the air. A part of me was glad because I was a bit lost as well.

In the end I prepared the desert, which was rather chosen for me – I guess I was the only one looking baklavish enough. The desert, muttabaq I think was its name, did not seem THAT complicated, it was all about understanding the steps and following the recipe. Now, understanding a recipe is not that easy, especially when there are several bowls and tools lying on your station. And you are thinking to yourself, “OK, what is this for? Well, if this is for this, then what the fuck does this do?”. Both Andreas and the Sous-Chef (sorry, didn’t catch the second’s name) were always going around, checking if someone needed help, explaining the steps. And that was lovely, because I did not really know how to start. Anyways, after I got into it and finished the sweet, I put it in the oven and then it was time for the sirup. Now a sirup I CAN do and I felt I wanted to just play a little bit 🙂

So I started using all those fascinating ingredients I could find. I was so intrigued and started opening all kinds of bottles of spices! There were some I knew but others I have never heard of. Just by sniffing a bit, one could intuitively figure out which spices to sprinkle like magic dust in the sirup, which is usually nothing but water and sugar dissolved above a heat source to speed things up and help them marry better together. The whole process was just amazing. I love playing around with spices!

By this time the kitchen was smelling like Morocco, or at least as if we were transported to a region of the arab world.

This is the end result right here:

 

 

Lucky for us, there was a Thermomix lying around and the poached peaches were made by another team member, or as we could be called in the kitchen, little Cook de Partie.

The most beautiful thing however came once we were all done cooking. The Chef and Sous-Chef had prepared a wonderful homy table for us. We all served  ourselves and sat together in good company enjoying all our efforts together.

Oh, the food was so delish! And the place was smelling so appetizing, my saliva was drooling! The meat was just sliding off the bone, it was tender and smooth, smelling warmth and home. And you know, the rest of the dishes were good 🙂 Well, I didn’t mean to make it sound like that. Let me try and save it: The beautiful little pitas with spinach and hot spices in them, man I can eat that for breakfast, lunch and dinner! What caught my tongue -are we allowed to say that?- was the oven-baked aubergines with sheep’s yoghurt, zatar and pomengranate. It was so appetising to the eye, I felt my pupil was going to come out and take a bite! I still make this dish on a regular basis. It is soooo easy and just makes me happy every time I taste it 🙂

Food and cooking brought once again a group of strangers together. There was small talk of course about what we do and how the weather is – yes, we are in Switzerland, these are two favourite topics in any convo- and then there was talk about finances, and food prices and genome modification of tomatoes.

By the end, we -minus moi because of the battery- had pictures as evidence to savour the experience. Then again, that was a great way of getting people’s digits 😉

Would I do this experience again? Absofuckinglutely!

And I did, but that is a story for another time! 😉

Want my fav recipes? Follow me through email and ask for them! I am preparing handmade recipe cards for a quick download and print as we speak!

Now, how about you? What brings your family together? What connects you to the world?

Can’t wait to hear from you, my lovely Curious Creature!

Till then, mwah!

 

“Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear …, Happy Birthday to you!”

Some of us have heard this song, others not. The Birthday song might be important for you and or might leave you indifferent.

When I was younger I did not really like to celebrate my birthday. I would say that the only birthday party that is still engraved in my hypothalamus is when I was turning 18. Before that I do not remember making such a fuss about a birthday party, even though I saw evidential photos of a time during my birthday party I vaguely remember. That must have been when I was 8. I was not looking excited! lol

I was born during midnight so I am blessed (or cursed, depending on how you choose to look at it) to listen to this song and accept “Happy Birthday” wishes 48 hours in a row. My sisters usually start a week ahead and prolong them for another week and at some years they have been doing it for months after or before it! A part of me disliked having all this attention, it was kind of losing its meaning. So you can imagine how delighted I was to realise that in the last couple of years, new beginnings in their lives took the attention away from me. I am now able to have some peace of mind and can be left alone to celebrate my birthday for the time I get to define.

My birthday(s) is important to me and I am always a bit taken aback when other people are indifferent, do not care or are sad during their birthdays. When I ask why they are feeling that way some say they consider it just a day like others with a typical “It is just a day, Sabrina”, others choose to stay silent and look at the floor as if they are regretting something, feeling sad or sorry they are growing up (or as they choose to see it, “getting older”). And when I ask “What do you want to do for your birthday?”, the reply has more often than usual rather the same tone and a simple word, “nothing”. Inside I am thinking, “Is that really true or are you expecting a surprise? How can you do nothing and expect nothing? Is that so bad? ” I eventually accept their opinion and switch to another topic.

Nowadays I am not the person that chooses to make a big birthday party. I would rather spend my birthday alone or in the company of special few people. And this depends naturally on which country I am and if I am actually on holidays during that time. In the past couple of years I allowed myself to be on holidays during the week(s) of my birthday and I must say it was the most I have enjoyed it, whether I was alone or with company. I prefer to be in nature, be either close to the beach or walk in the woods, up in the mountains of an unexplored, new area for me. Experiencing something new on my birthday is the most beautiful present I can give to myself and I gladly share this with beautiful people.

This year my sister Stef and I took a road trip in Scotland. Before we even began the trip I was clear that there will be a lot of walking/hiking and eating mostly vegetables, nuts and fruits. I must admit I had my doubts whether she will be willing to go with it or not. Less than 24 hours from flying we realised that we weren’t actually traveling to Edinburgh, we were actually traveling to Manchester. We were both taken by surprise! But Stef was a trooper, she booked the tickets, and soon we were on our way! My doubts were alleviated 🙂

Scotland is a beautiful land. We had the chance to visit several sites, see beautiful lakes and enjoy breath-taking views and sites. We stayed active by hiking up to Ben Nevis and around the regions of Loch Ness and Loch Lomond. We stayed -this time rather inactive-in a castle/hotel for the first time, enjoyed a luxurious “Tea Afternoon” – one the Queen of England would drool over- and stopped spontaneously throughout the road trip to practice our photography skills (mine currently at 0) and take in the views. We also managed to misfuel our little black and red Citroen, which was retrospectively one of the greatest sister bonding moments. Oh! And we managed to lose our way on the first day. Waze saved the day, or as we ended up calling the male voice behind it, “Louis” did. Within the midst of the adventure we realised that my sister could be allergic to a pinkish flower in Scotland, the ones you can see below. Well, either that or she managed to get a bit sicky. Yes, it was a new experience, full of mistakes and lessons. I would not change anything about it! It was loads of fun and a great way of unloading!

 

Tony Robbins teaches the so called 6 Basic Human Needs:

Certainty/Security

Uncertainty/Variety

Love

Significance

Growth

Contribution

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I stand by them because so far I am able to recognize and identify why people do the things they do based on these 6 needs. You don’t have to be Tony Robbins though to understand how each of my needs have been fulfilled by simply taking this trip. And here is where I come to the meaning of birthdays. What birthdays really mean are connection, love, either with yourself, God or others, taking care of yourself -mind,  body, spirit- and learning through new experiences. Birthdays have been made to review, reflect, grow, act upon new beginnings or opportunities.

20180726_160651One was however missing: Contribution. Well, “What does even contribution mean to me?”, I asked myself. I am not sure I have a concrete answer yet but I knew I wanted to offer my services and knowledge for free, out of my heart. By offering people free coaching sessions I was able to start fulfilling this need. I guess, contribution is about transforming someone’s life because they choose so, because they are committed to do so, and you as their coach are there to support, accompany and help them see, touch, feel, hear and smell things they forgot how to, without expecting absolutely anything in return.

Personally I believe that birthdays are “The Celebration of the Self- Past, Present, Future” and shall you desire to experience it to the maximum, feel free to take the 6 Human Needs into consideration and take action in fulfilling each one of them, the best way you know possible.

Now, it is up to you! How do you choose to celebrate your birthday? How has the celebration of your birthday evolved or changed throughout the years? What could you do to fulfill all 6 basic human needs for your upcoming birthday?