I had some fabulous things happen recently. Actually a series of them. Realizations, cracking opens, small victories, exciting ideas taking shape and then my podcast got picked up by Maine Public Radio. They put it on their shortlist. It was a big deal for me on top of some other things that I was ready to celebrate. So when I went in to see my business coach and started telling her all these things she asked “How are you going to celebrate?!” And I paused. And then I felt myself shrink a little. I smirked and shrugged. Yeah I said, another friend asked me the same thing.
My coach kept asking questions. And we began the process of unraveling the threads. Pulling back the layers. She could see me half answer and that I was slightly uncomfortable, but also partially excited about the idea of celebration. “What does celebration look like for you?”, she asked? Uh. I don’t know. Cake? I love cake. I could buy a slice of cake.
As we talked it dawned on me that I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness. If you know anything about them than you probably at least know that they don’t celebrate birthdays. But really, they don’t celebrate much of anything. I began to explain that the idea of celebrating your own life is in opposition to the whole way of godly thinking that I was raised to believe in. Celebrating yourself brings glory to yourself and not god. It was taught to me that it was egotistical and selfish to want to celebrate yourself.
But as I talked about celebration I was looking out the window. I could see the trees covered in snow and they were all glittery in the sun. I kept thinking that they looked like a giant party. A celebration of life. And I had this overwhelming download of feeling in that moment. Like a wave of intense warmth. Of the idea that nature, that the entire world really, is a living breathing celebration. If there is a God or a Goddess than this world, and we humans, are the most intricate elaborate celebratory things that I can imagine. I felt deeply connected to the reality that I, by the fact that I am breathing here now, am a joyous celebratory being.
My relationship with celebration had been defined by a whole lifetime of instructions and rules. I am in the process of unlearning all those things and sometimes I still find myself just doing things the way I used to without really thinking much about it. I realize more and more how important it is to pause and take the time to think and really ask myself questions about the way I think and do things. How many things in your life have you found yourself doing or reacting to on auto pilot? Then later wondering if that is how you really want to do it. Stopping to wonder if there is another way.
When we slow down and question ourselves we make space for other ways to do things. For ideas about how our way isn’t the only way. That there could be another or many other ways to approach the situation. I think it’s always been worth my time, when I take it, to really sit back and ask myself the important questions.
This one just happened to be “How are you celebrating?” And so now I will celebrate with abandon. I am making a list of all the things that could mean for me. I am letting myself enjoy the process.
Who’s with me?