I realize that issuing an edict to celebrate may seem heretical given all the serious and very consequential problems we are currently facing, but hear me out. My encouragement to look for things to be grateful for and celebrate is not, I hope, a personal failure to acknowledge and face these realities, but a word of caution lest we forget the importance of remaining in touch with life’s deep pleasures and joy.
If we become blind to these small, but vital aspects of life we risk a loss of perspective that will leave us feeling even more miserable and bereft. It is important to remind ourselves that there is much in life that is still worth waking up for in the morning. What’s more there is an opportunity here to clarify our values, to realize just how much is still functional, beautiful and salvageable, and to make it a priority to preserve it.
Life is an infinitely complex and therefore rich experience. As much as we may be challenged by it, we need to daily remind ourselves that we are daily gifted with experiences that hold all sorts of potential for supporting, edifying and making our lives a pleasure to live. To notice is all that is required of us. To choose to be present not only to all that life outside us, but inside us too (they exist in intimate relationship. If we neglect one, the other is bound to suffer).
It all boils down to humility and choosing to care. for often it is merely our pride that stands in the way of being grateful for and celebrating the simple pleasure of being alive. Our worldly ambitions, our narrow definitions of success and, perhaps, our relentless intolerance of failure colour our world in dismal tones that permit only an inhuman ‘excellence’ as worthy of our notice and approbation. This is setting ourselves up for real failure.
Failure’s part of the game. Our only job is to learn how to surf the waves of disappointment and failure – dare I say to have fun with it?
Life is short. Regrets are long. Look for something to celebrate both in yourself and outside yourself today – something that comes from the heart, that’s real for you.
Love and courage.