“Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you.” ~Hafez
“Rejoicing in the good fortune of others is a practice that can help us when we feel emotionally shut down and unable to connect with others. Rejoicing generates good will.” ~Pema Chodron
“Everything that is made beautiful and fair and lovely is made for the eye of one who sees.” ~Rumi
“This is your celebration.” ~Kool and the Gang
Now that Thanksgiving is over, Americans, once again, are plunged into the vortex of consumption. We can shop all night and day and contribute to the important fourth-quarter earnings that keep our fiscal world spinning. Gift giving is linked to celebration in our culture and comes to us as virtuous consumption, distilled from religious traditions. Our holiday shopping buoys the weighty dictates of capitalism and the Consumer Confidence Index. Maybe it’s my imagination, but holiday marketing this year seems earlier and more unapologetically fierce than ever. While I appreciate cultivating generosity, the obvious commercial manipulation to make us want what we don’t need and can’t afford seems such a poor substitute for what we are really longing for.
All the marketing in the world can’t make us believe that we will truly be happy when we get the just right thing. We know that that new computer or cell phone won’t really be the catalyst for connecting with others or make us less lonely. We know that our new weave won’t guarantee that others accept us for who we are or bring us someone to love us for our authentic self. I am looking at what we are really searching for during our hours trolling through Amazon Wishlists checking off the gifts we are obliged to buy. What do we want to celebrate? Not stuff, not momentary happiness.
I believe we are all looking to go deeper and to celebrate the gifts we have already been given. When we recognize the abundance in our lives, we can celebrate every day. There’s a celebration in seeing the generosity of the Earth, the beauty of kindness in others and in ourselves, the delight in someone who makes music, sings or creates beautiful food. That may sound naïve and impossible, but when we consider what Interbeing is—the knowledge that all rely on each other to support our lives much more than we know, we can celebrate what we have already been freely given.
Dance in the kitchen and celebrate that you can still dance despite the pain in your knees and your 1980’s dance moves. Celebrate that you can feed your friends and those you don’t know. Celebrate that you have a quarter to give away to the woman sitting by the subway and that you have laundry to be washed. Celebrate the good in others and in yourself. Our feelings are worth celebrating, the happiness and sadness that let us be fully present to experience life and this body we have on loan—that allows us to engage in the process of being a human on Earth and the energy of life that enables us to wake up each day.
Celebrate when a spontaneous thought of generosity appears, the wish to help, the desire to see a world free from violence and inconsideration. Allow someone else’s point of view to matter as much as our own and celebrate dropping our judgment to find out what happened to make them speak with hatred. Find the celebration in the sweet sharpness of the pomegranate seeds that we did not have to tend, but grew healthy and fertile without our worry. Knowing what causes suffering…that first drink, eating all the cheesecake, texting that person who is not good for us, and we don’t do it—that’s a celebration. In our grief, we can celebrate that we have a friend we trust to understand. There are celebrations waiting for us everywhere we look. Where is your celebration hiding today? Celebrating this life is the realization of our interbeing. We don’t do it alone. Get a little retro with this video and start the party early. Let happiness be your default mode. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GwjfUFyY6M
May we all trust our light,