Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Celebrating what is

balloons afloat from Flickr via Wylio

Life is good.

I have been enjoying it quite a lot lately.

And I feel the need to point this out (mostly to myself) because I have spent so much of the past not enjoying life. Beyond a handful of months there have been very few extended periods where I have appreciated life—embracing what is going on in and around me with open arms and spirit.

It is hard to put into words the joy that comes over me when I realise how… dare I say it… happy and grateful… I am with my life.

Recent days have not been without their stresses and strains. Between full-time study, paid work, volunteer work and starting to try my hand at a few short writing pieces, life is very full; but beautiful. I am living at a busier pace than I have in nearly ten years. Sometimes I misjudge my energy and my body can’t keep up with the motivation that I feel, but I am constantly learning and reminding myself of the gift of that problem.

All those years of dreading life and struggling to see the joyous gifts and moments in my days. All those years of fighting and struggling against my wants and the realities I found myself in. All those years of being numbed by the combination of pain and hopelessness and affects of medications.

I am learning to celebrate.

In her book Cold Tangerines, Shauna Niequist says that “When what you see in front of you is so far outside if what you dreamed, but you have the belief, the boldness, the courage to call it beautiful instead of calling it wrong, that's celebration.” (p.178) This is a truth that I’ve taken my whole adult life to learn, and I’ll probably need to keep learning it until the day I die. I can only hope I get better at it!

Despite never having dreamed of being where I currently am, for better or worse, I am learning to celebrate—the light streaming in to the lovely little house I share with two friends, the joy of making food for others, the accomplishment of another piece of writing being submitted and/or published, random late night adventures in the city with new friends. Most of all, I am learning to celebrate my creativity and myself.

It is hard work to dedicate myself to study again. However the freedom and joys I have been finding in exploring my own creativity with more abandon than ever before has been the best reward. This is the power of art. Another reason why Shauna’s book has been so significant over these past weeks. She says that “art slips past our brains straight into our bellies. It weaves itself into our thoughts and feelings and the open spaces in our souls, and it allows us to live more and say more and feel more.”  (p. 227)

This I know: at the risk of maybe experiencing depressive lows again, I will celebrate. I will attempt to make art and bake and love the people in my life and find energy in celebrating what is, instead of wishing about what should have been.