Celebrating the moments!
Coming out of my birthday celebrations (which were fantastic by the way, because of all of you!), I began thinking about the whole idea of celebrating. After a birthday or special occasion, I always notice the difference. Of course, as an adult, birthday celebrations come and go, but when you have a full birthday like I did yesterday, when the delightful company has departed, the perfect food has been consumed, the parade has ended, and the fireworks have been let off . . . well, the next day seems a bit flat.
Granted, we are perhaps not meant to celebrate from morning till night, 365 days a year, but I think we can do a bit more celebrating out of the box. I know I want to do more celebrating out of the box, because celebrating feels so good. I felt really loved and appreciated on my birthday. It felt good. I felt loved, and cared for, and appreciated. And I decided I want more of that in my life. And I'm assuming a lot of other people would like that as well. So let's talk about it. How can we bring more celebrations into our daily lives? What we would we do if we were celebrating more often? What would that look like?
I was surprised when I looked in the dictionary at the definition of celebration. It was listed as a joyous distraction. How delightful! How absolutely wonderful to have a joyous term for a distraction. Little sprinkles of joyous distractions throughout the day. Sounds quite wonderful, doesn’t it? But can we really expect to celebrate when our lives are so distracted and things are going horribly wrong. Well it’s not as far off the mark as you might think and most of it has to do with us. Intentional living requires effort and desire. And learning to insert little moments of celebration into your day, is no different. We do have seconds in our day, lots of them, and a lot of them have all the right ingredients for a celebration-a distracted moment of joy.
The right ingredients for a celebratory moment comes in many forms. You do this, you will find your own. I normally gravitate to nature, people, and circumstances. Nature is an easy one, simply because it is one-sided and nature is everywhere. Try a celebrating moment next time you see something that catches your eye in nature. Breathe it in, embrace it with your heart and thoughts, and appreciate. The moment you do this, feel good hormones shoot throughout your body . . . mission accomplished. If you are not used to checking out nature . . . try it. Finding appreciation in nature, has become one of the more fulfilling practices I have found.
Finding celebratory moments with people is challenging. Why? Because we put people off. Just a minute, hold on . . . we’ve all been there. We are missing celebratory moments with people we love, people we meet, people we come into contact with throughout our lives. We are missing much of the magic that occurs when people share, when they care, when they remind each other that they matter. Children are always good examples. For instance, your child comes up and tugs on your shirt sleeve or pants leg, and you look down and he/she has a rock. You’ve been here before. “That’s nice,” you say, and you go back to your task . . . moment lost.
While celebratory moments in nature are pretty straight forward, whether you notice a tree or not, has no great impact on the tree; moments lost with people makes a difference. Looking at the same scenario with the child in a celebratory moment, is quite different. Maybe the parent kneels down to eye level. “My rock,” is now met with interest, appreciation. The parent takes the rock and caresses it, the child beams with recognition. Feel good hormones racing for both parent and child . . . mission accomplished.
Circumstances are fun ways to celebrate. Good things happen . . . catch them in the moment. Family and coworkers are going to fall into this category easily. There are tons of circumstances in families and in one's workplace where one can find celebratory moments . . . if you have the desire. Since I travel a lot, I am always coming across celebratory moments with strangers. There is nothing more important for me when I travel, than to recognize the people who work behind the scenes . . . the service industry; a practice that has brought me and others countless celebratory moments . . . mission accomplished!
As you have probably guessed by now, celebratory moments have a lot to do with appreciation, and they are important because small moments make up our lives. The small moments are going to determine the trajectory of our desires and dreams, our goals and ambitions. Small moments will determine what we pursue and what we let go. The small moments create our lives and these small celebratory moments- the flickers of appreciation and care, grow into flames, creating a full heart and a grateful life. . . if you want.
My family had birthday weeks. We called them B-day W’s! There just wanted enough time in those 24 hours for us to get it all done! And it didn’t mean presents every day. It was small stuff like special food, sitting in the front seat (kids, right?!), and it really gave us an opportunity to treat the person well. To let them know that they matter . . .
Appreciating. Paying attention. Letting ourselves and others know we matter. Celebrations are meant to make us feel more than what we are, fuller than what we are . . . and oftentimes, it doesn’t take anything more . . . than a moment . . . a joyous distraction.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. My hope is you will find some extra moments . . . to celebrate.
Wishing everyone a wonderful week!
With much love and sincere appreciation,
Karen Schaal / Gratitude Gal
Check out Karen's newest book, The Pocket Guide to Gratitude.