“What is the magic of the joyous? The joyous are simply more conscious and consistent in their attempts to sense and generate joy and gratitude. They make joy a practice, a habit, a consistent condition of their character.”
~ Brendon Burchard
My heart swells with a ridiculous fondness each year when I am done lighting and decorating my Christmas tree – it is like the arrival of a dear, good friend: long, solid hugs and we settle in to catching up over a glass of wine. Each year this bright, sparkly creature generously turns to me and asks, “How the heck are you?” And I know she’s ready for me to spill the deets.
We began this tradition, in earnest, seven years ago after what I’ve come to term “the Disastrous Christmas” when, two-weeks before Christmas, my now ex-husband asked for a divorce. He proceeded to drive me to Kansas so my father, who was a nurse, could give me the injections I needed to sustain the IVF babies growing inside of me. The months following were pure hell, complete with a miscarriage and divorce and sale of what had been our home.
By the time December came around again, I was still in mourning and decided not to muster the energy or memories by heading to family gatherings in Kansas. I stayed local and celebrated quietly with two girlfriends who had also experienced sadness and loss that year. However, as I reflected, in my journal later in the afternoon, I realized I had survived a host of sorrows; my grit and determination had made it a possibility in a capacity I had never before had to experience.
And I knew – BOOM – with bright, crystal clarity, I would create a different kind of Christmas season for myself, from this point forward. Sorrow and tragedy would not, absolutely NOT, overpower this season of joy and light.
Acquiring a fresh-cut (by my own hand – or that of friends) Christmas tree and stringing lights and decorating it became the ritual which symbolized thriving for me. Gathering my energy each December to bring beauty and light and enchantment into my home was a way to beat back the darkness. And, it became a way to emphasize and celebrate the progress I was making in creating a vibrant, thriving life.
Celebration: the Gift We Give Ourselves
Most of us have survived some sort of crappy event or two or three and have discovered ways to thrive in spite of circumstances. And, the question is, how have you celebrated your perseverance, your fortitude, your determination, your courage? Do you have way to acknowledge, honor, and celebrate yourself?
You don’t need to layer your celebration onto an existing Christmas tradition like I have, although, depending on your spiritual or religious leanings, traditions of the Winter Solstice or Hanukkah or those celebrated at other times of the year, like Ramadan, or Diwali, can be wonderful celebratory events in which to take stock of the distance you’ve traveled.
The key is to open ourselves to the joyous energy of celebration. As Leza Danly, a mentor, coach, and founder of Lucid Living says, “Celebration is where magic lives. Celebration makes room for the resonance of gratitude.”
Magic is the spark. This moment of light is created when all-that-went-before meets with possibility. Think of the scratch of a match on a sandpaper strip and resulting flame. All the time, energy, and effort you’ve put towards surviving, overcoming, and finally thriving; that is the match. The sandpaper strip is the range of possibilities those efforts now open up for you. The resulting flame is joyful celebration. It is what ultimately fuels the much bigger, brighter, warmer fire yet to come! And, yes, this is where the magic lives.
I love the idea, celebration is what lifts our energy, allowing us to float and rise on currents of well-being, taking us to higher and healthier energies of forgiveness, acceptance, optimism, hope, love, and gratitude. Celebrating who you are now, the composition of your strengths and character and personality; celebrating, where and how far you’ve come, honors the experiences which have uniquely shaped you into the person you are today, this is the stuff of magic-making and gratitude.
Give yourself the gift of celebration. Live in the magic. Allow yourself to be lifted into a higher vibration of optimism, love, and gratitude. Let gratitude be your fuel, propelling you into 2015. Let it spark joy and excitement, for all you want to do and be, in this upcoming year.
Create a Ritual.
Performing a ritual, as a way to celebrate, is a beautiful way to unlock the sacredness, the awe, the beauty, of us and our existence. For me, acquiring and decorating a Christmas tree has become a sacred ritual in which I reconnect to my strength and honor myself for going the distance and creating a thriving life.
What will be your ritual? A celebratory day in which you treat yourself to a massage; making dinner with friends; a hike in the woods and hills; an afternoon spent journaling in a peaceful, sunny spot?
Let in the Sacred.
Give yourself permission to create a sacred space filled with beauty: Perhaps a vase of gorgeous flowers to grace your kitchen island; maybe it is choosing your best dishes for serving dinner; or maybe you simply fill your space with candlelight.
Welcome the sacred through the honoring, respectful tone you set for your celebration: amazement, gratitude, and pride – yes, absolutely, give yourself permission to feel proud of what you’ve accomplished.
Deepen your heart-connection and love for yourself; take in the goodness of who you are. Savor your accomplishments and resonate in the soul-stirring vibrations of gratitude for all who you were and what you learned about yourself this year.
Here are some questions to help you get started celebrating the magic you made this year!
What accomplishment are you particularly proud of?
What did you let go of?
What did you learn?
How did you grow and change?
What goodness did you receive?
In what ways did you thrive?
What brought you happiness and contentment?
How does your best-self choose to celebrate the year?