Celebrate Your Life
by Debra Lynn Dadd
I have to admit that I had to stop and consider what it might mean to celebrate a life. Do I celebrate my life? And how do I do it? A birthday party? I have the feeling there is more to it.
My dictionary has several definitions for the word celebrate. The one that seems to fit best is “to
observe a notable occasion with festivities or other deviation from routine.” But I think that definition is too shallow. I think a celebration is to honor something that is important, and to sustain it with acknowledgement and admiration.
In times past, a celebration was about connecting with the rest of life around you. People who lived in pre-industrial societies had an immediate experience that their very existence depended
on the sun and rain and land. Seasonal celebrations marked the blessings brought by the sun and anticipated its return. Rites of passage celebrations, such as birth, coming of age, marriage, and death were about acknowledging the change of individuals and their relationship
with family and community. All these celebrations were accompanied by feasting and dancing and singing as well as meaningful ceremony appropriate to the occasion.
Some time ago, I realized that today, most celebrations are more about the feasting and dancing and singing than they are about the meaning of the occasion, and I vowed to restore meaning to my
own celebrations. I’ve done that for seasonal celebrations and rites of passage, but not to celebrating my own life.
In fact, I was actually puzzled about the very idea of celebrating my own life. What am I celebrating and how might I celebrate it?
After many days, I came to this: To celebrate my life is to honor myself as being important and to acknowledge and admire myself, my life, and my accomplishments. My birthday would be a great
day to do this, but I didn’t have to wait for one day a year, I could celebrate myself whenever I wanted to!
At the heart of my celebration of myself is to celebrate myself as the spiritual being that I am. Actually, I have been doing that for quite some time now, without being aware I was
celebrating. For many years I have been keeping a journal of, not my daily activities, but my spiritual growth. As I become more aware of myself as a spirit, and gain new spiritual abilities (such as opening to more love, or using my creative intention), I write about them in
my journal. Several years ago I began to write short stories about my real-life adventures as a spirit, and currently, my celebration of spirit has expanded into a scrapbook with words and pictures pasted in or drawn with colored pencils and markers. The more I celebrate
myself as a spirit, the more creative that celebration becomes!
But there is more to it. As a spirit, I have many lives to celebrate, many existences, right here and now.
First, there is my life as myself, as an individual. Who I am, what I’ve accomplished…recognizing and celebrating the life of me alone. In the past I’ve honored my existence on Earth on my
birthday. Without fail, my husband and I both take the day off and do something special of my choice (we do the same on his birthday and he gets to choose).
Then there is my life with my husband, as a couple. My husband and I consider that our marriage is its own entity. Each of us are individuals, but there is an entity of “us” that we both create
together. And it has a life of it’s own that we both participate in. We honor our marriage on our anniversary by again, both taking the day off and doing something romantic together. And one could also celebrate being a family.
And then there are the lives of various communities I belong too, which are also entities of themselves, created by those who participate. Communities of those who are geographically close,
such as a town, or like-minded like a business or special interest club, or kindred spirits, like a church.
And I could celebrate the life of the state I live in, and my country. We have fireworks on the Fourth of July to mark the birth of our country, but how could we really celebrate with honor and
acknowledgement of successes and admiration for what we have?
And, hmmm, I have a life as a woman. I don’t think I celebrate that enough, honoring and acknowledging and admiring my feminine qualities.
And, I have a life as a human being. I could celebrate simply being human, and honor and acknowledge and admire that which is wonderful about my species.
And, as I go about my daily life, giving and taking to and from the ecosystem in which I dwell, I participate in the life of the Earth, which we all create together, so that is a life to
celebrate as well. I could celebrate the watershed I live in, the ecosystem, the continent, the planet, the entire web of life, and even the cosmos.
So much to celebrate!
My birthday is coming up on June 18th, and I’m considering what I might do this year to really honor, acknowledge and admire my life as it is right now. At a workshop I once attended, we were
all asked to write a list of our successes over our lifetime. I think I’ll write my successes for this past year. Also, where I am in life now, and what I am planning for the coming year. Ah! And what I like now—my favorite people, places, books, ideas…I wish I had started
doing this sooner, it will be interesting to see in the future how I change from year to year.
Well! This birthday will be a great one. In addition to the feasting and dancing and singing, I’m going to truly celebrate my existence here on Earth!
© Copyright 2007 Debra Lynn Dadd.
All Rights Reserved.
Debra Lynn Dadd has
been a leading consumer advocate in the field of health and
the environment since the early 1980s. She was the first to
comprehensively write about toxic chemicals in common
household products in language meant for consumers, which
created a demand for the many nontoxic products we find on
the market today.
Beginning with her first
self-published book in 1980, Debra's various books have been
continuously in print for twenty-five years. Her book Home
Safe Home is the definitive guide to toxic exposures in the
home and safe solutions. She also publishes Debra's List--a
free online directory of 100s of links to 1000s of products
with health and environmental benefits--and three free
online newsletters: Health, Home, and Habitat, a weekly
recipe using natural sweeteners, and Words of Wisdom--a
daily quotation on nature or spirit. She has been a regular
contributor to Natural Home & Garden magazine since it's
Hailed "The Queen of
Green" by the New York Times, Debra has appeared on
many radio and television shows including Geraldo and the
Today show. She was featured on the cover of East West
Journal (now Natural Health magazine) and Yoga Journal.