Gratitude and appreciation would fall off your list of life qualities. Taking the time to do something extra for yourself or another person would have little meaning.
You would lose your zest for life.
We have expectations about celebrations which can undermine receiving the fullness celebration brings to each of us. Often we feel there is a need to be recognized for our accomplishment and rites of passage. We seek to create the perfect scenario in our minds and want the celebration to be exactly as we imagined. We compare the celebration with others and how they created their moment. It causes us to judge what we are doing, how we are doing it and brings the dreaded worry of not doing our best. The result? Disappointment rather than acknowledgment of our special event.
Recently I attended a family wedding and the closing sale of my mother’s home. It may seem strange that I am referring to each of these major events in the same sentence, but the celebration of each of these landmarks represents building a new life for the future. Each was a splendid event, momentous for the main characters and guests.
Wonderful changes and realizations occurred within me as a result of attending both celebrations.
Weddings: A Landmark of Adventure
The purpose of each event determines how open we are to receive more from life. Weddings are the realization of a dream for two people. The closing of my mother’s home was the completion of the most tangible physical representation of my parents’ relationship. It was the home they created together.
The magnitude of each experience represents the beginning and end of living a life together with someone you dearly love. Both are the actualization of dreams.
The wedding celebration was an “intimate” cast of hundreds (350 guests!) gathered to celebrate my cousin and his wife-to-be. The gathering of our family for this occasion has been added to a memorable past, as the cousins, parents and grandparents gathered once again. We feel like great friends coming together for another wondrous event. My heart was warmed from the time we attended the rehearsal dinner through the wedding celebration. The families truly enjoyed one another and adored the bride and groom-to-be.
As a traditional part of the celebration, parents and friends of the bride and groom all took part in proclaiming their love, affection and friendship, reflecting past experiences and bringing them alive for each of us to share and receive. Acknowledgements flowed freely as friends’ spoke of their precious relationships built over many years, from grade school through college to the present. As each of the parents spoke about their children you could not help but feel the love and pride they experienced knowing their children had grown and were about to embark on life’s most daring adventure.
Clearly everyone felt the bond between the bridal parties. Every guest was joining in celebration as witness to a special couple.
I felt privileged and honored, witnessing and receiving this event. I now understand the tears of joy people feel when their heart is touched so deeply. Feeling the love and grandeur reminded me of what I want in my own life: a deeply committed partner, someone who I love, a life companion to share life’s adventure.
To Dream and To Create
Weddings show our potential for a stellar future and encourage us to dream and create. A sense of gratitude for being the witness of two precious people beginning their lives together struck a chord deep within me. I have no doubt the memory of this wedding will impact on my future as well as theirs.
Celebrating endings opens the doors to new freedom.
It may seem odd that the selling of my mother’s home was a celebration. After all wasn’t she leaving her home and its memories behind? Wasn’t her life without my father and the home they built together an important memory they had built together? Did letting go discount the past?
For months my sister and I worked on helping my mother transition into her new home, a place for independent living where she could do what she wanted with freedom from the reminders of her past. We did not want her to forget about her life. We wanted her to gain independence without worry. Mom was focused not only of selling her home (this was not the home we grew up in) but finding a buyer who loved her home and appreciated the gardens she created.
Once her home was under contract, she wanted to know everything about the buyers.
Our daily phone conversations included everything she felt the buyers should know about her home, pluses and minuses. To give her mind a rest and mine peace, I created a list for the buyers, including what contractors she used for the various work done on the home. We made frequent visits to the home as preparation for closing and for her to quietly say goodbye to her house. Still she worried that the new buyers would not fully enjoy and appreciate their home.
Transition to the New
Settlement day finally arrived and Mom was excited, anticipating what the buyers were going to be like and how they really felt about “her” home. The feeling of celebration started immediately as the buyers and seller were introduced. Quickly Mom learned the wife loved to garden, the husband loved the built-in bar and they raved about how beautiful the house was kept. They even cancelled their cleaning people feeling this home was ready to receive them!
Mom felt as though her prayers had been answered; her home was going to buyers that loved and appreciated the home she had created.
After attending years of real estate closings for clients and my own properties, it was great to witness the genuine loving nature my mother felt. She made a promise to the buyers that she would send them a note with the gardener’s contact information so the garden could continue to improve with the buyer’s touch.
Would you believe we sat at the settlement table for a half hour beyond the closing as Mom was having a great time getting to know the buyers? The feeling of joy showed in her face.
Finally we had to end this celebration—or at least the closing!
Mom and I had several wonderful hours after the closing where she continued to acknowledge the buyers and how they were perfect for the neighborhood, the house and the people they would meet. I had not seen her so excited about an event in years. Her prayers had been answered. he was so excited that she wrote a letter to the buyers later that day conveying her delight! She even made sure the letter was mailed that evening.
The Power Embedded in Celebration
Sharing these experiences with you has reawakened the memory in my body. I can feel the joy as I recall each event. Clearly, each of you has memories of celebration near and dear to your hearts. These celebrations have shown me that when one aspect of life ends, another begins. Celebration is deeply ingrained in our memory. I can still feel the delight which my body knows so well, as I celebrate those people who made it possible.
Life is truly meant to be celebrated.
Imagine the impact of the joy you feel for different celebrations. Is it possible there is something to celebrate each day?
Have you looked at life’s celebrations lately to see what you remember, how you felt and how you feel now? Do you allow your life to be filled with celebration?