Our theme for this past month has inspired a new awareness in me—that there is an inherent connection between joy and celebration. There’s a subtle difference between the two, but the relationship is certainly there.

‘Joy’ is the emotion we feel or a way to describe the experience we are having, while ‘celebration’ tends to refer to taking action in some way, whether it’s throwing a birthday party, or finding a way to acknowledge yourself.

I’m seeing for myself that experiencing joy is something that I can surrender to passively (yin- feminine) and celebrating myself or others is something that I must actively choose (yang- masculine). Opening to the energy of one very often (if not always) includes the benefits of the other.

To reflect on the month, I’ll share my personal journey with each of the inquiries presented in the previous weeks’ newsletters from Lee, Britta, and Shandra.

Lee suggested two simple practices:

1. Celebrate something you had nothing to do with—a pure gift that is totally not of your doing, and
2. Celebrate something that you created, are a part of, or made happen

Even as I write this, I’m noticing that #1 is much easier for me than #2, but here goes!

1. I would like to acknowledge my beautiful friend, Kari Sandell, for the very thoughtful gift she gave me for my birthday recently. It’s a little air plant that sits in a wooden holder, which has a gold accent painted on it and a magnet on the back. I’ve placed the plant on my fridge, and it brings me joy every single day!

2. This is where Shandra’s note about feeling vulnerable in the face of joy and celebration has struck a chord for me. There are two very important aspects of my life that I have been on simultaneous journeys of creating and birthing over the past year or so: Declaring myself as a belly dance teacher and offering classes locally, and this baby girl of mine who is on the way! (Yes, I am currently 22 weeks pregnant!)

Seems like a no-brainer to celebrate those things, right? Yes, and it hasn’t been easy. I’ve learned that when I want something so badly that the gravity of its meaning becomes palpable, then the heft and weight of that experience can trigger parts of me that worry or become afraid that it won’t work out.

For example, with this babe on the way (and the miscarriages I experienced last year), part of my journey in this pregnancy has been being with my concerns around losing her, even though the pregnancy is going well! Similarly, with teaching belly dance, I’ve worried about being in direct competition with other teachers in the area and the complexities in people that can be stirred up from that dynamic.

Fortunately, I’ve realized how exhausting all of that worrying is! As Britta once told me, worrying is a poor use of our imagination! I have a commitment to myself to live a life that is resourcing and through which I am experiencing what is true in the present.

When I choose to celebrate what is actually happening now, it’s not in denial of the parts of me that worry, but with compassion and love so that they can relax into the knowing that everything is OK and will be. Whenever I do that, I feel that healthy part of me getting stronger and stronger, building up the personal resources within that will help me meet life’s challenges and gain momentum in living a full, happy, and healthy life.

Those resources are within you too, my dear friends! So, what will you choose to celebrate now, and again and again along the way? Share with us on Facebook!

With much love,
~ Kelsey