How happy and excited are you when you celebrate something? You celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, holidays — all kinds of personal and special occasions. You give a card or gift, call the person, throw a party, go to lunch or dinner and surprise someone with your love. Those emotions, ceremonies, giving and feelings of love are all gratitude.
Any birthday with a “0” in it, is a big event for me. I ponder my past and formulate my future, as I am turning 60 years old this month. It struck me that I was not really noticing and enjoying my present life, my today. A friend of mine texted me, “Congratulations on (whatever it was)! What are you doing to celebrate?” That stopped me dead in my tracks. I forgot to celebrate. To me, first and foremost a celebration of myself. It means taking time to recognize and acknowledge what I’ve done. It is an act of self-love.
I have not always thought this way. I used to live a world full of achievement without acknowledgement. I didn’t think taking time to celebrate my accomplishments was necessary. After all, I knew what I had done. So I asked myself, If I want the process of creating and making and doing to feel energizing and inspiring — What do I need? By not celebrating, I realized I was missing out on rewarding myself for my hard work. When you fail to take time for reflection and celebration, you end up with a “what’s next mentality” and the real treasure slip past unnoticed. Stop and acknowledge your own story of personal empowerment. This is the real, true value of ritual and celebration. You intentionally take time to savor, make sacred, and relish your own experience. Celebration can support closure or open the door to something new. It gives birth to rich, powerful memories you can cherish for a lifetime.
A renowned theologian, Joshua Heschel stated, “People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state — it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle.”
Celebration is active, specific and abundant. Gratitude is simply another word for it. Parades, customs, prayer, shows, rites, biographies, commemorations, forgiveness, traditions, flower blossoms, friendship… are all an intricate part of gratitude and celebration.
The energy of celebration is tremendous! Don’t put celebration off for another moment or for just special occasions. In America we celebrate the obvious, yet there are so many other events that stand out as significant in our lives. It is important to recognize significant moments by taking the time to celebrate. This celebration lets you honor the specialness within your life experiences and maintain an attitude of gratitude and joy each day. Making celebration a priority will deepen your experience, create powerful memories, and reap profound rewards. You will transform moments that might have been missed.
There is always something to celebrate. Look around you right now. Pick one and start an active moment of celebration, an object of gratitude, a taste of celebration, a touch of gratitude, a smell of celebration or a sound of gratitude.