When you celebrate, the whole existence participates with you. Only in celebration do we meet the ultimate, the eternal. –Rajneesh
Sometime last year, upon receiving a wedding invitation, I decided that from here on in whenever someone requests I participate in celebrating something, I am going to do whatever I can to be there. This is a massive shift for me. I am introverted, so gathering in large groups, even with the best of intentions is often not particularly appealing. Without even realizing it, I’d begun to treat celebrations as less important than they are and started to believe that another reason to get together would come again. I was really taking one of the most spectacular parts of life for granted. The truth is, other opportunities to celebrate do present themselves, but another truth is that I’ve made choices that have led me to miss out on things I will never have the opportunity to show up for again, and it has hurt me and taken away from people I love.
I’m not exactly sure what happened the day I received that particular invitation, but I am certainly grateful I feel differently now. Making space to celebrate sets the tone for your life. It affects how your home feels, whether you have room for laughter and play. It defines and characterizes your environment and relationships. It tinges your perception (are you annoyed by the summer storm? Or excited to watch it unfold in its magnificence?) Gathering to celebrate gives our relationships such a positive shared structure, an imprint of joy to hold onto when things are more challenging.
I was at a wedding recently. It was exactly what everyone wants a wedding to be, a beautiful and personal expression of the two making this sacred commitment. This couple is very much in love and very much beloved, the community surrounding these two is big. When we show up for this kind of thing, we both help to create and plug into something profoundly joyous and shared by all in attendance. It happens once, never to be recreated and is a special kind of magic. There really is nothing like gathering with others in celebration, be it our nearest and dearest or acquaintances, to mark something together. And this is why: at its most basic, when we are present with each other, the goodness we co-create passes through each of us. It affects us for the better, lifting us up and reminding us that life is good and life shared with others is even better, even if you happen to be an introvert.
It doesn’t matter if you are part of an elaborate event planned for many months or an impromptu dance party in your living room that lasts the length of one song, both can satisfy our deeply human need to celebrate. The important thing is to be open to revel in joy and feel the rightness of your life just as it is. We all have access to that if we agree to it. Celebrate!