There I was, enjoying the sunshine streaming through the window of my favourite café, when my friend said “I noticed that your posts and your retreats are all about living from a place of gratitude, joy, beauty…you do know there is more than that, right? There is suffering, there is pain, there is ugly”.
I sat up.
I was stunned to realize that he thought my celebrations were avoidance. That to “Celebrate What’s Right in the World” was to walk around with lenses focused only on the good and simply not look at the bad.
He couldn’t have been further from the truth.
As a photographer, Dewitt speaks of training your technique. Like Dewitt, I have tried to develop an “eye”- a keen awareness of all that is going on both around me and within me. As a result of his teachings, I’ve learned how to be fully present, awake and alive in each and every moment. I see and feel it all, the good AND the bad.
But the discipline of celebration allows me to hold it all in a larger context. A context where I don’t deny what’s wrong but see that there is so much more that’s right; a context that shows me possibilities rather than hopelessness; a context that fills me with energy rather than draining me.
I intentionally put time into practices that build this mindset. Like building muscles, I build the capacity to be in gratitude, to explore my vulnerability, to taste joy, to create flow and balance, to hold acceptance for “What is” and not run from the discomfort, to see how the glass is also half full.
These practices have become a way of life; they are not accessories. I live them constantly, deeply, with discipline, courage and joy. They are constant, holding me present in all the moments - the good ones and the bad ones.
As I stand in these moments. Dewitt’s question “What is the Next Right Answer?” whispers itself into my ear. Like a mantra, it brings with it an ability to quiet my mind. It is because “Celebration” is my resting place, my baseline, that I am able to live through and not avoid those things that I wish I didn’t know.
The practice of celebration is a balm of my soul. It inspires joyous laughter, beginner's mind, belief in possibility. It holds me steady but more importantly, reaffirms my sense of wonder. To practice celebration is not avoidance - it is a life practice. It is the most disciplined thing I do – every day. A conscious choice to seek abundance and beauty and an intention that I set as the inspiration of my day.
And for that, I Celebrate!