Do you ever feel that there is little to celebrate these days? A lackluster presidential campaign, Europe's debt crisis deepening, the job crisis far from over. For the most part, we are just going along, doing our lives, encountering the bumps and scrapes that living brings.
Yes, but what if we were actually asleep? That is until something happens that causes us to come awake, to question -- the tragic death of a loved one, serious ill-health, the loss of a career, rejection by an important friend, a bitter divorce, or any other misfortune.
"Why me?" You might cry out. This (event, circumstance, violation) is not fair, not just. How do you make sense of these seemingly and sometimes random occurrences?
At this point you have a choice. Curse, or look up. Maybe curse or blame first, then look up. However bad things seem, something larger is going on, of which you are a part, though not necessarily to blame. You are not alone.
What is the choice? What is the opportunity? Choice begins with your perception, in looking for the downside, or choosing a more expansive view of what might be going on.
Your life is sustained by a truly remarkable human spirit that has evolved to see you through the darkest days. This spirit is light. Its other name is love. With love, you awaken to the larger picture and purpose that embraces you. There is much more to life than immediately meets your eyes.
With this spirit of love, you can pull yourself up and out of the chaos that unforeseen events bring and rise above the confusion of despair and doubt.
With a loving perspective, you can learn more about your true inner core and the miraculous world in which you live. How? You relax and open to new possibility. I know -- easier said than done.
With love, you can surrender feelings of separation and isolation to connect more fully and deeply with your inner self and the natural world -- of plants and flowers, the innocence of birds and animals, the air through your breath, the beauty of sunrise or sunset -- and with other ordinary people around you.
With eyes of the loving spirit within you, you will find many reasons to celebrate, to take pleasure each day, to treasure and to share it. To surmount the challenges and obstacles of everyday existence is to notice beauty in the ordinary.
Take my 94-year-old friend, Trixie. With failing eyesight, she nevertheless takes great joy in the scent of the smallest flower. Her motto is: "Don't stop the carnival!" She celebrates with animated conversation, turning an ordinary meal into an extraordinary occasion, with a good story and laughter. The French call it "allure." A recipe for longevity? I am inclined to think yes!
Last Mothering Sunday, Trixie found the strength to take her shopping trolley to a local Friday flower market. She chose a bunch of pink roses and another of pink tulips and took them carefully back to her apartment. For two nights, she kept the flowers deep in buckets of cold water in her bath. On Sunday morning, she rose early to make little bouquets of 3 flowers each, carefully packaged to stay damp and beautifully wrapped. She took her little bouquets to church to give to her friends.
Dame Judi Dench, whose eyesight is said to be failing, never fails to have a twinkle of humor that at any moment could break into helpless giggles. A sense of celebration bubbles from her.
There is so much more that is good going on when you can come awake to it, when you open your eyes to see.
Why celebrate? And how?
Look out for the good moments, even those small and fleeting, as they show up on those occasions when the inner spirit calls your attention.
Looking through photos of some of the weddings I conducted last year, I was touched again by the joy present as families and friends came together to witness the honoring of love and vows being exchanged. Those days of celebration passed into history, leaving an imprint of exuberance and pleasure lasting long into the future.
Last November, I had the blessing of conducting the service to celebrate the life of my sweet father. As I looked at his life with eyes of love, I bypassed the difficulties he met and instead recognized his marvelous (a word he used often) spirit, gentle generosity, kind nature and enduring sense of humour.
At all times, love is present and available. Love warms, softens and comforts us, even and especially in times of hardship. There is no shortage of love. Love simply has to be expressed, shared and received.
I am presently creating a new website that focusses on celebration. Yes, the weddings, baby blessings and memorials but also the many other causes we have to celebrate -- a new home, thanksgiving, forgiveness and reconciliation, graduation, retirement -- to name but a few.
This year, England celebrates the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, only the second English monarch to do so. She has given 60 years of dedication and devoted service to the country. The Olympic Games are being held in London. More cause for celebration as many nations gather in the spirit of human endeavour.
The spirit of celebration touches and inspires the ordinary person -- that is most of us -- to lift above the mundane and enjoy the greater presence of love that connects us, that alleviates the lonely and reassures the despondent.
What is more, that inspiration enlightens and motivates us to find greater understanding, wisdom and solutions to the problems we face. We lift above the issues to find the answers we seek.
Why celebrate? Because you can -- and it is good for you.
What are some of the occasions you celebrate? And how do you celebrate the special times? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or drop me a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more tips and hints for living a wealthy life from the inside out, turn to "The Wealth Book -- Winning With Spirit."
For more by Anne Naylor, click here.
For more on mindfulness, click here.