Saying yes to the mess: a return to celebration

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What I’ve learned (and unlearned) about celebration.

At the beginning of 2012, the word “celebrate” chose me. After the dark days of 2010 and 2011, I needed a lightness, a sense of play, to permeate my life again. I realized that my celebratory go-to’s were to have a drink or throw a party, but drinking no longer held the same appeal and while an occasional shindig is fun, I wasn’t up for throwing one regularly.

I launched a daily celebration practice on Facebook and asked myself the following questions, promising to return through the year and answer them:

What does “celebrate” mean to me? (i.e. what counts as a celebration?)

What and how do I want to celebrate?

What is mindful celebration?

What happens when the thought of celebration makes me want to hurl dishes at the wall?

No one has called me on the fact that I didn’t answer these questions, so I’m outing myself here. Even after a year of daily celebrations, I’m not sure I have a handle on all the answers. Here’s what I know right now.

Celebration is simple. It’s available to us in each moment. All we have to do is reach for it…

Hugs. High fives. Holding hands. Candles in cupcakes or ‘tater tots or eggs over medium. Happy dancing anywhere and everywhere. Joy that fills your chest, parts your lips in a grin and makes you want to explode like a Katy Perry video. A toast (water is acceptable though something bubbly is preferable). An internal “holy sh*t”. A quiet nod. A suppressed smile or a shopping spree. A mouth-watering meal. A square of dark chocolate. A party for two or two hundred. A massage, a pedicure, a haircut. Jumping up and down like a 5 year old on Christmas morning even though you’re 41. A whispered prayer standing at the edge of the ocean, arms outstretched, face to the sun.

Celebration is what we make it. It’s an acknowledgment of the moment’s importance. Celebration is saying yes to life in all it’s messy glory and pausing long enough to tattoo that yes on your soul.

This Monday is the 3rd anniversary of our son Benjamin’s stillbirth. Even as I feel the familiar ache in my chest, and contemplate hurling a dish or two at the wall, I am loving and celebrating this spectacularly messy, wonderful life.

The candle my daughter put in my TJ's 'tater tots on the eve of my 41st birthday.

The candle my daughter put in my TJ’s ‘tater tots on the eve of my 41st birthday.

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3 Responses to Saying yes to the mess: a return to celebration

  1. Roos says:

    I love how you put “unlearned” in your header. So, so wise!
    Today I kissed Kenji in the sun. The sweet taste of that kiss was most definitely a celebration of the moment. Each and every moment is all we have. Thank you for sharing what you know right now.
    Sending love from Amsterdam,
    Roos

  2. Merry ME says:

    Alana,
    This is beautiful, as always. I’ve copied into my list of Kick Cancer’s Butt quotes. I think I now have enough to keep me decorating for the next year!

    m

  3. Dian Reid says:

    “Celebration is simple. It’s available to us in each moment. All we have to do is reach for it…” <– This. For me it always comes back to making conscious choices. And a square of dark chocolate, of course 🙂

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