“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” Oprah Winfrey
We don’t make the time to celebrate.
A client of mine, Susan, is a super achiever, hard worker, and extraordinarily creative. When she walked through the door for her weekly appointment, I saw how exhausted she looked. Before she even got settled into her chair, she began talking about the pressure she was feeling and how she needed to make certain decisions before leaving on her holiday in a few weeks.
For years, Susan has been running non-stop and is constantly pushing herself to get ahead. She never feels like she has done enough and is living with the unspoken anxiety of trying to figure out how she can juggle all of her commitments.
We need to appreciate our achievements.
Susan is like most people who feel the need to respond to a society that values production far beyond anything else. Few of us have the awareness and/or courage to get off this endless treadmill, slow down and configure a more meaningful and joyful way of living.
I listened intently, gazing at Susan’s eyes and feeling a great deal of compassion for her. After she finished speaking, I sat for a moment and then asked: “Do you have any idea how much you’ve achieved this year – both your soul work and professionally?”
She paused for a second with her head down, then looked up at me sheepishly and said “No.”
I let out a big laugh and said emphatically “I do!”
I proceeded to go over each of her achievements and asked if she ever took the time to appreciate them?
“No” she quietly responded.
It’s important to celebrate when our endeavors give birth or come to fruition.
To celebrate means to mark an occasion or moment in a significant way. We usually think of birthday parties, anniversaries, good news, and accomplishments.
But it’s also important as creative beings that we celebrate when our endeavors give birth or come to their own natural conclusion.
We honor teachers at the end of the year for having finished the cycle of teaching our children ~ and our children for having completed another grade.
Two friends of mine are partners in an architectural firm. They never miss reveling when a job has been completed. They may pop a cork on a bottle of champagne, go out to dinner, or even treat themselves to an afternoon at a spa.
The ritual they’ve created allows them to stop their normal routine – even for a short while – and honor their accomplishment.
Celebrate the small stuff.
It’s not necessary that we celebrate only major accomplishments.
It’s important to honor the journey for simply having happened.
As a child, I remember being scared to death each year playing in a piano recital. I tried every trick in the book to get out of it but my parents won out. Somehow, with shaking hands and butterflies in my stomach, I always made it through. Afterwards we celebrated with a big hug, and going out for a hot fudge sundae.
When my children were young, we celebrated when they learned to ride a two-wheeler, hit a goal in soccer, got a good grade on an exam, or stuck up for a kid being made fun of.
We feted their courage, their persistence, their efforts, their values and their willingness to show up with all that they had in whatever they did.
Think of what you have to celebrate this week – with your children, partner, spouse, friends, or extended family. If you sit down, relax, and let your mind wander, I bet you can come up with more than a few things.
Now it’s your turn.
Share a special celebration in your life.
Love the idea of celebrating life. So many good things happen and when we don’t take time to acknowledge and celebrate, they drift by and are forgotten. I’m trying every week to make it a habit before I write my week’s list of things to do, to write down what went well for the past week. I can feel the difference when I do.
Beautiful picture of you and your daughter! Thanks for the needed reminder to celebrate all of our milestones.
I love the idea that you write down what went well for you the previous week BEFORE doing your ‘to do’ list. As soon as we get into a productivity mode, the sweeter things in life are too often forgotten. Am delighted to see that you are bringing appreciation and celebration into your everyday life ~ Fran
I’ve just written an article about how necessary it is to create a new structure for your life when you have lost the old one (I write for widows, primarily). I’m sure it takes time before someone grieving is ready for celebration. But gratitude is a wonderful start too, isn’t it…
I’m learning to create a balance in my own life as well, creating more space for gratitude and rest. I find your article inspiring. Perhaps it’s time I turn some of my gratitude moments into celebrations! 🙂
Thank you for your inspiration!
Interesting point that you bring up. I have a dear friend whose wife recently died of a brain tumor. He is in mourning BUT he is also very much celebrating the beauty of life. As a matter of fact, when we spoke the other day his last words were ‘I never imagined that life could be so wonderful’. Sometimes I think that the loss of a dear one makes life that much sweeter.
One thing that I’ve learned over the years as a minister is that there is no right way to mourn the loss of a loved one.
Am so glad that you are taking the time to appreciate your life ~ yes, I do think that actually ‘celebrating’ it is a way of making a time for a joyful occasion. I too am working on consciously doing more of this. Thanks for your thoughts. With gratitude-Fran
Wow, your story is so inspiring! I’ve noticed on multiple occasions (and know it’s a fairly common experience) how mourning opens us and makes us present to life in a way we seldom experience otherwise. Taking it one step further – into a celebration of life – seems both bold and beautiful. Thank you!
Halina – I’m glad you found the story inspiring. I am grateful that this friend is in my life for several reasons ~ but watching him evolve at this point in his life is a privilege. It’s always wonderful to hear from you. Fran
Oh Fran. We are so on the same wavelength. Yesterday was our son’s high school graduation and the culminating concert for his orchestra. We celebrated and toasted and enjoyed the day with our dear friends and family and it was a joy to be alive together. I am filled with gratitude today. Your post helps me integrate.
All my best,
Congratulations. Graduation is a wonderful rite of passage and a time to rejoice. What a gift that you and your loved ones celebrated this occasion filled with joy and from the heart. Your son is one lucky young man to have a family who treasures this special time in his life. Reading your words brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing Suzi. With gratitude – Fran
What a super thought Fran…honouring our achievements, our triumphs and victories.
My husband and I have a nightly ritual of appreciation for each other and I’m definitely going to be adding celebrating our wins.
We might not be kids, but I still like the idea of celebrating with a hot fudge sundae!
Elle – I am touched by what you wrote- that you and your husband have a nightly ritual of appreciation….how beautiful. Thanks for sharing ~xxoo
Love the photo! How beautiful. I do love to celebrate. I made up for my childhood by celebrating with my daughters. It drove Hubs crazy because I would take them out of school so we could celebrate one on one. I have no regrets:)
Tess – How wonderful that you took the girls out of school – one on one – to celebrate. I’m sure those special days still mean a great deal to them 🙂
It’s so true that we don’t make time for celebrations in our lives. One of the things that I always celebrate is a new milestone in recovery. Sometimes, I just have to sit back and acknowledge how far I’ve come. It gives me new energy to move forward and break free totally. 🙂
How beautifully said and what a good reminder for everyone who is in recovery ~ ‘to move forward and break free’ is a powerful statement. Fran
Thank you for this beautiful post Fran!
I needed to read this one. I will be raising a toast to you tonight!
I know you’re going to have plenty of celebrations in your new home. xxoo-Fran