Celebrating Your Life
True celebration arises from a joy that is first experienced deep within, and spills over into an overflow of song and dance and laughter, and yes,
even tears of gratitude…don’t bother about scheduling a party on your calendar. Let your hair down, take your shoes off, and start splashing in the puddles right now. The party is happening all around you every moment” --Osho Zen Tarot
Celebrate a Life
All winter I was struggling with a way to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday. I wanted to give her a big party. She wasn’t interested. Ok, how about a trip? She wasn’t up to it. Presents? What could I possibly give her that she didn’t already
have? Finally, I let go of what I wanted and focused on just celebrating her life.
One of my clients had been given a memory book for her 45th wedding anniversary and that seemed like the perfect gift for my mother. This would be a real celebration of her life.
My brother went to her high school and found copies of her yearbook. This was the first time that we had seen any pictures of my mother as a teenager. He also dug up her two sister’s yearbooks. What a revelation. Who knew that my Aunt Sylvia was a
star basketball player or that my mother had dreams of playing professional tennis? At this moment I was struck with the thought that this was a ritual of connection for me as well as for my mother. We were excavating our roots.
I contacted everyone I could find who might we willing to contribute. Her friends wrote her poems, shared memories and sent pictures. Some even wrote her a song. My son wrote a letter that brought tears to my eyes. Julie, my sister-in-law put
together several pages of collage photos.
One of the most poignant moments came after I had a long conversation with one of my mother’s friends. She shared stories of my mother and told me how happy it made her to put the page of memories together. As she spoke I could imagine the two of
them going to out of the way art galleries and off Broadway theatres. I was with them as they shared cocktails and loads of laughs. I felt their laughter and friendship. Sadly, four days after I received the memory page from her and a few short weeks before the celebration
she died suddenly.
Putting the book together was a blessing for me. I felt so lucky to have had glimpses into my mother’s life that I never would have been privy to otherwise. When we gave the book to my mother, I really understood that remembering is in itself a
celebration of life. Each moment is an opportunity to create the jewels that will be the memories of the future. Going through the book together has brought our relationship to an even deeper level.
As we move into the promise of spring and summer, it is time to embrace joy and celebration.
Karla (my fabulous right hand) and I were working last week. By 4pm we were exhausted and couldn’t think clearly. Karla jumped up and put on a great Madonna tune (Four Minutes to Save the World) that got both of us up and dancing. We laughed, sang
and had a great time. Five minutes later we were energized and ready to get going again.
By celebrating and allowing music to move us, we got a chance to express joy that is beyond words. As my friend Toni Condos, a NIA teacher once explained to me, “when we dance and stretch, joy is released-physically, mentally, spiritually and
emotionally.” Through movement, we connect to a place that’s deeper, more creative, more alive, and more joyful.
Dance with life: become a joy magnet.
Invite your friends to come over and dance for joy. Ask each one to bring a few favorite songs that make them remember being in love or just being incredibly happy. The important thing is to enjoy your body and allow the music to free your spirit.
Allow yourself to break loose and rejoice in the rhythms of life. Give yourself permission to fall in love with yourself. When you are in love, everything looks like Technicolor. Let your whole body tingle.
This is also a great ritual to do alone. Call forth your magical inner child—you know, that part of you that really knows how to play and have fun. Fill your room with the scents of lemon, grapefruit, orange, lime or any citrus to boost your spirit.
I like to make my own blends (feel free to check out my website for my essential spray collection…www.joyofritual.com)
Now share this joy with others. Celebrating is contagious. The more you smile and enjoy yourself, the more you share it with others. Open to receiving love and joy and imagine yourself as a joy magnet. As mystics have known for eons, you are not
dancing alone; you are dancing with the Universe.
Celebrate your birthday every month.
Angela Arrien, a cultural anthropologist, shared this wonderful Basque ritual with me. Every month on the day of your birthday, plan to do something you have never done before. If you were born on Jan 5th, each month on the 5th try to explore
something different. Try a new food, discover a new artist, take up belly dancing, explore White River rafting or anything that opens up your mind and spirit.
Copyright © 2008 Barbara Biziou. All Rights Reserved.
Barbara Biziou, author of The Joy of Ritual and The Joy of Family Rituals, is an internationally acclaimed teacher of practical spirituality. Barbara has been featured in articles such as Body & Soul, Harper’s Bazaar, New York Magazine, and Parents
Magazine. She was featured on Morgan Spurlock’s hit show 30 Days and is the everyday ritual expert on New Morning airing on the Hallmark Channel.
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