Celebration is the action of recognizing and marking the pleasurable nature of some important event or accomplishment. One might also say that it is a state of being, validating that in this moment it is good to be alive, feeling joy and appreciation and expressing that in action.
Many years ago I was in graduate school, studying for my PhD. After taking a set of basic classes I had to give a presentation followed by questions from a panel of faculty members. This panel would then give a thumbs up or down on whether I could continue in the program, researching and writing a thesis, and finally receiving my degree. I was nervous about this presentation, and even more so about potential questions afterwards, as these could be about anything in physics. Even though I had done well in my courses, and was prepared on my topic, the prospect of answering open field questions was intimidating.
On the day, my presentation went well. One of the first questioners, a brilliant professor in different field, asked a question which I answered in a way he wasn’t expecting. The other faculty assured him that I was in fact correct. After that he sat back and the rest focused on topics I knew.
When it was over I felt relieved. I certainly had cause to celebrate. Rather than being present in the moment and allowing myself to enjoy a sense of accomplishment, my mind was telling me that I was lucky to scrape through. As if I had fooled them somehow.
I had performed well in the actual circumstances. There was reason to believe that I would continue to perform well in the future, going on to earn my degree. Which was how it played out. But this was somehow not good enough. Perhaps part of me thought it was dangerous to feel too good, that I would be inviting something bad. Perhaps my internal critique was keeping me under its thumb.
I don’t remember now if I did anything to celebrate, or just went home and got on with things. I do remember my inability to celebrate myself.
Many years later it is clear that it is always good to celebrate accomplishments or happy events. It is moreover important to celebrate simply being alive in this human body. Important to feel joy and validation through all of the events of the day. This is our spiritual nature, who we are. Like many other qualities of spirit we can choose to cultivate them all the time, rather than waiting for some particular set of circumstances.
My guides recently suggested writing out a list celebratory activities, to feel into what I can do by myself, with my beloved, with friends or family to celebrate something. The feeling state of celebrate is more important than the specific acts, though they should be acts that feed the soul, and nurture the body.
My guides then pointed out that once I had the list, why wait!? Go ahead and regularly, or spontaneously, do things on it. Celebrate all the time. Celebrate being alive and connected to spirit. Celebrate anything and everything. Practice bringing joy, validation, and enthusiasm into the present moment of your life.
I suspect that the more I cultivate celebration, the more things I will find to celebrate 🙂 I expect this is true for you too. And if some voice in your head questions this, joyously give it permission to go swimming in a lake.