THE ART OF CELEBRATION
March 18, 2011 § 1 Comment
Most of you have probably heard the refrain, uttered in anticipation of a moment that might provide the fulfillment of a cherished dream, “don’t get your hopes up.”
It seems to make sense, doesn’t it? After all, who wants to feel the grief and disappointment that can come with our most treasured hopes being dashed, unrealized?
It turns out that it may hurt us more in the long run if we don’t allow ourselves to hope with all of our hearts.
Feelings of joy and happiness are self-perpetuating but also require a space in which to find expression. We cannot wait for them to show up. It is in the recognition of not only our greatest triumphs, but also our smaller, more prosaic victories that we may find more reasons to be happy with ourselves and our lives than we may have previously thought possible.
It’s easy to tell people to be “grateful”. Just as simple to also advise them to “have more fun”, a piece of advice that has often stirred a powerful desire in this writer to have tremendous fun punching out the lights of whoever may be dispensing it.
Like anything else related to self-development and growth, it starts (and usually ends) with practical choices based on our awareness of ourselves and how we respond to events in our lives.
For most of my life, my default response to any occurence in my life that triggered feelings of joy was to allow myself the briefest of celebrations before falling into well-worn mental habits. Some of these included:
Worrying that what had just occurred was in fact “real” and fearing that it would be taken from me.
Beginning to immediately plan ahead, thereby taking my mind and feelings away from the pleasure of the celebratory moment.
Resenting what I perceived to be the lack that was inherent in what I’d just received or experienced.
Pushing down feelings of joy and contentment for no good reason and seeking distraction.
If any of those seem familiar, it can be helpful to understand why we may fall into those ways of thinking and being. But we can begin to effect radical and positive change immediately by catching ourselves in those moments and moving ourselves back into that space of joy and lightness that we initially felt, before we got in our own way.
Just as we hopefully wouldn’t let another person drown out our natural joy and happiness at the gifts life gives us, we mustn’t allow our own internalized voices of fear and suppression to do the same.
Take every opportunity to celebrate life’s bounty in all its forms. It can find expression through voice, movement, feeling, generosity toward self or others.
In doing so, you’ll find there’s more reason to celebrate than you might have suspected. You’ll also notice a wonderful by-product: Everything becomes just a little easier.