Is there something wrong with me? I am sitting on a plane right now, flying from Frankfurt to Houston, reflecting on the past 13 years of my life in Germany. I have made incredible friends and acquaintances. They have bathed and swaddled me with love both in my highest points as well as my lowest ones.
However, as grateful as I am for having been given these precious relationships, I could not bring myself to go to a single celebration that brought these beloved people together in one room so that I could express my gratitude and love.
Actually, the school year of 2016-2017 was full of events that could have warranted one big celebratory occurrence after another. My youngest daughter graduated. My mother retired. We got a transfer to Okinawa. We packed up our lives and put 13 years of belongings on a moving truck from Europe to Asia. I turned the big 4-0. I began working on (and still am) a blog and an online telesummit. The very idea of having a big blow-out for each of these events exhausts me and overwhelms me. In fact, I have needed to not party in order to keep up with everyday tasks with joy and presence.
Surely I’ve got to have some strange social disorder. But I feel fine about it. In fact, throughout the process of preparing for this move, I have opted to do what feels true for me, and I have attended zero
celebrations. When one of our finest friends drove us to the airport yesterday, I was so very thankful that it was just her that we had the chance to devote all of our attention to. We celebrated each and every moment in that car ride. Each word spoken and heard was like a blessing being passed from one to another. Tiny verbal celebrations. Heart-felt celebrations. Celebrations of simply being.
Every day I wake up, do my yoga practice, meditate, brew my mate tea, and quietly celebrate the fact that I am alive as I take note of the sensation of the ground beneath my feet. I notice and celebrate the temperature of the floor, the smells in the air, the movement in my joints, and the loved ones sleeping in the rooms within my home. I am blessed.
Of course, it wasn’t always that way. In fact, I can trace my disdain for celebrations back to when I was a kid, attending birthday parties that really just made me want to run away screaming.
I don’t even know if formal celebrations are necessary. In fact, I don’t understand them one bit. I don’t understand why people put fancy clothes and make-up on to go out and talk about things that may or may not matter to them. Rather, I value the moments that I am able to connect to the beautiful people that I pass in the grocery store. The sweet 5-10 minute conversations allow me to celebrate this connection of oneness between myself and the other person. So why would I feel the need to put on a costume and go to a designated place to “eat, drink, and be merry” for one particular occasion?
Can’t we “eat, drink, and be merry” every day? In the faculty lounge at work? At the dinner table with our families? Making eye contact with a complete stranger on a metro train?
I celebrate looking into another person’s eyes and smiling with them. Our eyes do a tango. You know…since dance is a celebration.
To me, celebrations minimize the awesomeness of everyday living. It’s as if to say, “This moment, right here, is an important one.” Aren’t they all? Negative and positive experiences alike are all important. Silence and stillness are just as important as excitement and movement. Today, I choose to celebrate life by expressing gratitude for both the good and the bad. Let’s face it…shitty things happen on a daily basis. In fact, TERRIBLE things happen on an everyday basis. You realized you stiffed your waiter. Your dog dies. Your ex-wife is taking $160,000 of your retirement. But hey, man…this makes the sweetness in life even sweeter. Isn’t that something to celebrate in and of itself?
I need to confess…I don’t understand holidays. Don’t get me wrong…this doesn’t mean that I won’t get together with family for those days that we have off, and that our culture has deemed as days of stillness and togetherness. Well, at least I would if we lived in the same town. However, I believe that we need to revisit these concepts.
Togetherness. Stillness. Laughter. Joy. We need to celebrate every day as if it is one of the many winter holidays, or a birthday. Heck, even a funeral. I celebrate my marriage every single day by holding my wife in my arms and sensing my heart swell as I see her resting next to me.
THAT is one incredible celebration.
I dance many times a week. This makes even my CELLS celebrate. Yes, that’s right. CELLebrate! Let’s face it. Many of us can’t stand the idea of getting out there and celebrating in large group gatherings. So I ask us to not just save our dancing shoes for occasions that are formal social engagements, but instead to celebrate the MOMENT.
Live, Laugh, and LOVE OUT LOUD!