This week, I tried to celebrate.
I celebrated little things: a good yawn, an interesting cloud pattern, a stroll down the block, a new record. I celebrated friends with nights out on the town, making music, a farm to table meal, giving and receiving love. I celebrated something I wasn't sure (and still am not sure) if I should celebrate anymore.
Basically, I wanted to choose to celebrate everything; to find joy in every corner of my life. And when I say I celebrated, I don't mean that I went out and bought a whole bunch of balloons and did a little victory dance every time I yawned. I celebrated all these little (and big) moments by bringing a more focused attention to them. I chose to see them as worthy of celebration.
I think I was hoping that by choosing to celebrate, choosing to see joy, that joy would effortlessly seep its way into all of the little nooks and crannies of my being.
And sometimes it did!
My dear friend Jamie and I celebrated this incredibly adorable face we found in a soup dumpling on Monday night by immediately ordering another round of soup dumplings :)
That definitely brought some serious joy into my life.
While babysitting on Tuesday evening, I celebrated the younguns' love of Legos by diving in and building a pretty fantastic flying vehicle that doubled as a boat. Boosh.
But I have to be honest - a lot of the time, the celebration felt forced. Hollow. At first, I was really saddened by that. The intellectual part of me, that A-student that loves to work hard and make the grade, felt pretty low.
I failed at celebrating. How pathetic is that?!
I spent a lot of time on the phone with my friend Mathias talking out all the shit that was bubbling to the surface as I tried to celebrate. He was the perfect ear - he heard me, he listened, he responded, offering up beautiful reminders about the importance of acknowledging the dark as well as the light.
And then a different hand unknowingly reached out to me when another member of my Kripalu sangha (family) posted this article by Katarina Silva.
Here's just a little snippet:
"I let the processing of my pain become my yoga.
I let my heartache become my yoga practice: the very experience that reconnects me with my deepest core, my most confident self, the me that always feels loved, my own divine nature, inner bliss! ... Pain walked me across a suspension bridge that reconnected me with yoga. That bridge is my art."
And so with Mathias' voice in my ears, and Silva's words on the surface of my eyes, I let go, and stepped forward with the intention of truly celebrating everything; the pleasure as well as the pain. By simply allowing the emotions to come up, and observing them from a place of non-judgement, I found that the celebration became more authentic - not necessarily more joyful... but more real.
"See the gifts the years have given, things your effort could never earn, the health to enjoy who you want to be and the mind to mirror mystery."
Just a few moments ago, my sister sent me this picture of my niece and nephew from their apple and pumpkin picking adventure today. The words that accompanied the picture were "happy pumpkin dance" -- if that's not an authentic celebration, then I don't know what is!!
(My nephew doesn't seem too convinced though!)
While thinking about my art project over the past couple days, I found myself focusing mostly on the importance of balance - embracing the light and the dark, the masculine and the feminine, the easy and the hard, the up and the down, the in and the out...
With that idea of balance as my foundation, I went back and re-read the blessing and was really drawn to the following words:
"Open your eyes and see the friends whose hearts recognize your face as kin, those whose kindness watchful and near, encourages you to live everything here."
First I sketched out a yin yang symbol: balance (obviously).
Then I drew circles surrounding the symbol with long tails spiraling into either side of the symbol: the friends who encourage me to live everything here.
Then I left to teach a class.
And here I am now, a lifeless blob staring at a sketch that is meant to be a full color painting... but with zero creative energy left in me to complete it.
Normally, I'd force myself to finish, push until every little drop of energy is sucked out of me, stay up as late as necessary to get it done.. gotta get that A! But instead, I'm taking my cue from Mr. O'Donahue:
"Now is the time to free the heart, let all intentions and worries stop, free the joy inside the self, awaken to the wonder of your life."
It may be unfinished, but its still art, and I love it.
And now I'm going to take a hot shower, shave my legs, snuggle into my freshly washed sheets, and dream <3