Stages of lunar eclipse, May 15, 2022 (Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)

Happy birthday, dear Melanie. Soak in the healing red glow of the full blood moon, arising in the waning hours of your birthday.

The moon is offering a silent birthday song, in a voice so soft and gentle so as not to intrude upon your silence. You are growing up so beautifully, she says with her presence. Every month I see you dancing in my ocean tides and meditating in my winds. I love the person you are and are becoming.

Remember your body's kinship with the moon: fertile when the moon is most full, blood flowing in release when she wanes into darkness. Tonight, this red moon reminds you of blood, the blood that signals fertility and the emptiness of the womb. Celebration and mourning in one. The call to motherhood is sounding. Prepare the space by returning home again and again.

First, return to the physical home in which you grew up. Befriend and love your brothers, and embrace your parents for as long as you can. Learn the stories of your ancestors, soothing and transforming your own fires – anger, fear, and ignorance – with soft and gentle rain, the kind that heals and forgives. Be conscious about the inheritance that you will one day transmit to your children.

Cultivate belonging in your body – read as an Asian-American woman – this slightly rotated spine, this skin, supple belly leading to hips and stable feet. Hold the grief and heaviness of inhabiting a female form, a body of color. Prioritize your safety and wellbeing. Fight white supremacy in all forms of thinking and being, and give yourself space to truly rest (far away from all possible harm). Celebrate Asian joy and resilience. Mourn those people whose lives have been lost to violence, the spaces you have lost to violence. Find communities of Asian and Asian-American women, of queer folks, of those exhausted by the constant violence, where you don't have to explain your rage and exhaustion.

Return to the home in this present moment, found in the stillness between breaths. Learn to mother your own suffering: cradle your grief, soothe your anger to sleep, wash your body of toxicity, and lay yourself down to rest. Your very survival is a miracle. In a time of pandemic, war, violence, and racism, sometimes all you will be able to do is wake up in the morning and cry. Cry a lot if needed. There is no need to be extraordinary or to compare yourself to anyone else.

Return to the home you are creating with Ryan (your partner), building a foundation of love, trust, and balance. Utilize agreements and healthy strategies for conflict resolution to bridge communication gaps – allowing for movement from conflict into practiced and natural ease. Learn how to love him fully, accepting challenges as one part of a vast and beautiful whole. Remember the way he holds your doubt and fear, the habit energy of running, your anxiety, with arms of compassion and love. See if you can bring those gentle hands to your own heart. Recognize that this kind of partnership is rare and sacred. Do your best to water seeds of solidity and ease in both of you.

Build a home with rituals for welcoming the day. Keep up your gratitude wall, spontaneous dinners with Anand, afternoons of therapy and chiropractic adjustments. Meditate, build the Beloved Community with your dear sangha friends. Let yourself be nourished in countless bowls of jook and chicken long rice, and all that is found at the farmer's market – strawberries, stone fruits, the many delights of summertime. Rest your mind and walk to the rose garden down the block, letting the joy of fresh blooms connect you to your grandmother, who loves to garden. Enjoy your quiet evenings reading books on social justice, Asian-American families, trauma and healing, Buddhism. Make space for joy.

Remember to pause for the moon. When she's resting, rest. When she's full, allow your energy to shine into the darkest corners. Welcome both and all the stages of you that emerge in between. I love you dearly and wish you a fruitful, stable 32nd year of life.

Melanie and the moon