With a blindfold over my eyes, I reached into the velvet pouch that someone held in front of me. My fingers closed around a smooth, oval-shaped stone about the size of my palm and a bit more than a quarter inch thick.
When I was instructed to remove my blindfold, I saw a word in gold lettering carved into the stone’s top: CELEBRATE.
What? I thought to myself, vaguely disappointed. This isn’t my word. There was no feeling of “yes, I need that”, no sense of connection to the word.
Around me, other people at the retreat I was attending were exclaiming about the words that gleamed from their selected stones. I shared my word when asked, but no one seemed any more interested in it than I was. I wondered why I hadn’t grasped onto something more inspiring like “peace” or “beauty”.
So, I just put my “CELEBRATE” rock in with my other belongings when the session resumed and took it up to my room later.
I tried to give it back before I left two days later, but I was gently told “no, it’s yours to keep” by a retreat leader. Hmmm . . . it still didn’t feel right, but I slipped it into my handbag anyway and forgot about it.
I found the stone again weeks later, last Sunday night, when I was moving things into the handbag that I would be taking to dinner – the dinner my husband was taking me on to CELEBRATE the initial success of The X-Factor: The Spiritual Secrets Behind Successful Executives & Entrepreneurs. I chuckled and moved the stone into the new bag. Why not? We were going to celebrate.
It wasn’t until after dinner when we were talking about the celebration on the way home that I started to get an inkling that maybe CELEBRATE was mine after all.
Yes, I know how to celebrate. In fact, my mother was a master celebrator. Holidays were always glorious in our house, Christmas especially, but also birthdays, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, and Easter. Mom knew how to make holidays special, to celebrate no matter the level of holiday or number of people around us.
But I suddenly understood that we hadn’t really celebrated life’s milestones, the little triumphs and victories that bless our lives. Sure, we celebrated high school and college graduations, but other milestones like successful swim meets, soccer goals, or good report cards were quietly acknowledged, but not really celebrated.
I don’t remember ever celebrating any success of my father’s or my mother’s, although they surely had them.
The word sang in my head: CELEBRATE.
I realized that I don’t really celebrate much nowadays either. Yes, we emphasize the big things: new books, big promotions at work, and birthdays. I’m good at celebrating birthdays. But the little things? Not so much.
Looking back at my corporate life, I can see that while other people celebrated successes regularly, I didn’t. I had been like my parents, particularly my father in that respect. To succeed was expected. It didn’t get the attention it deserved.
As I thought about the stone in my handbag, I realized I was sorry about that now. I wish I had celebrated more. I’m sure the people I worked with would have appreciated it.
I want to celebrate more now. To acknowledge more of the little victories in my life. To acknowledge my husband’s wins more thoughtfully and my stepsons’, my brother’s. . .
We all need to celebrate, to have our success acknowledged, to relish the efforts of our work and allow ourselves the time and space to feel the joy.
Do you do that enough? Do you celebrate yourself and the people around you, big or small?
I’m going to do more celebrating, my friend. I hope you will too.
With light and love,