In this weekly series, we offer a little inspiration to kick off your week. Some simple, accessible wisdom, from one soul to another.
With hopes that it helps ease you into your week.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Celebration + Enlightenment
“We are all quietly aching for something to celebrate.”
When was the last time you really, really celebrated? I’m talking a giant cake, belly laughs, sparklers, far away travel, spa days, surprise parties.
What if I told you that the degree to which you celebrate, runs parallel to the degree to which you can be fulfilled, be in the present moment and attain that elusive thing called “enlightenment”.
This deceptively simple concept has radically changed my life.
The act of celebrating everyday is a direct path to enlightenment. Before we begin to dissect why, let me clarify what I mean by enlightenment. I use Lao Tzu’s description:
“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.”
Enlightenment is awareness of yourself and the world around you. It’s being aware of the beauty in nature, of the softness of your skin, the sound of the ocean or the miracle of being alive. It’s in the grand, and the microscopic.
Seven years ago I embarked on an adventure to celebrate my birthday month each year. I committed to doing one thing every single day to celebrate myself for the month leading up to my birthday.
Little did I know that this simple self-care practice would not only help me dig my birthday again, but set me free.
Instead of worrying about getting another year older, or those ten grey hairs I just found, I began to appreciate how much wisdom I’d gained and how amazing life is.
I culled through my experiences over the last several years of celebrating my birthday month and cherry picked my top 6 tips for how to use celebration as a way to get enlightened. Here they are . . .
- Redefine celebration (on your own terms)
Celebration doesn’t have to look like huge parties, fancy dinners and dancing until the sun comes up. Celebrations are individual. What works for one person may not be right for another.
What is your preferred way of celebrating? Doing yoga with a group of trusted friends? Going on a hot air balloon ride with your love? Having a family picnic in the park? There’s no right or wrong. How you celebrate is up to you. Make sure you’re celebrating in a way that bring you joy.
- Do 1 thing everyday to celebrate yourself
By doing something every single day to celebrate yourself, you’re making yourself a priority (something that most of us often forget to do). You’re also telling yourself, your family, friends and The Universe that you believe in your worthiness – that you truly deserve to treat yourself.
This can look like taking time to read a book or indulging in a luxurious massage. It can be turning up a dance mix and shaken’ your booty in your kitchen or it can be sitting on the beach, toes in the sand, watching the waves roll. It can also be even simpler: make a cup of tea, take a bath, pull up that cat video and YouTube and laugh until you cry.
However you “do” self-care isn’t the point. Perfection also isn’t the point. The point is to make it a consistent practice. Aim for everyday.
- Give yourself permission
When was the last time you gave yourself permission to take a day off? Or to turn off your cell phone and go for a walk outside in the middle of the day? As accomplished, working women, we don’t often give ourselves permission to take time for ourselves.
By granting yourself permission to celebrate, pamper, and even get into a little mischief, you are investing in the one who counts most – you! Your relationships, your business, everything in your life will feel more spacious.
So get out that pen, and physically write yourself a permissions slip (ala 3rd grade) if you need to. And if you need someone else to give you the nudge: I grant you permission to celebrate YOU, in whatever way brings you the most joy.
- Take time
We are all given the same number of hours in a day. You, me, Oprah, Barack – we all have 24 hours at our disposal. Because most of us have lives that regularly operate at the speed of light, it’s important to consciously carve out little (or large) chunks of time for celebration.
There’s no such thing as “making” time. You have to take it. There’s no “time fairy” that’s going to grant you the gift of time. In my own life, I set celebration appointments in my calendar. Sometimes I celebrate when I finish writing a blog post with a text chat with a friend. Other times I setup a girls dinner out to celebrate . . . just ‘cause. Honestly, there are a million things to celebrate in life. Pick one a day and truly celebrate!
- Mind your mindset
Have you been reading this thinking . . . “What the hell do I possibly have to celebrate? My life is, ugh.”. Honey, I feel you. Sometimes life feels like shit. Sometimes we face loss and pain (in spades). But it’s precisely these moments that call for celebration.
Finding things to celebrate is a choice. If you’re feeling crappy, a night out dancing may not be your thing. What if you celebrated the fact that you’re honoring your need to stay home and just cry. To me, that’s a celebration in every sense of the word.
Notice where you might have some stickiness around celebration. Most of us do. We feel guilty, shameful, silly or stupid for making a “big deal” out of the little things in life. To that inner gremlin living inside your mind I say, “Ok you’ve had your say. But I’m going to go celebrate anyway. Talk to the hand!”.
- Have some fun, mkay?
We work harder, eat better and strive to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. And somewhere along the journey, having loads of fun gets lost in the mix.
When was the last time you jumped on a trampoline or had a double scoop ice cream cone (with sprinkles) or made a fort in your living room. Not because it’s “productive” or “you should” do it. No. Because it’s fun. Pure and simple.
Think back to your childhood. What brought you the biggest smiles? The greatest laughs? What brought you joy? Try whipping out the slip ’n slide or building a snow fort. Allow yourself to just play and celebrate the pure joy of having fun.
I hope that you’re inspired to celebrate this week and in the weeks to come. Let 2016 be the year that you decide to give yourself the immeasurable gift of pure joy and yes, maybe even . . . enlightenment.
Here’s to celebration!