Thankfulness and Celebration
Thankfulness and celebration feel like devotional practices to me.
Whether you have a theistic point of view or a non-theistic spirituality, you might still relate to the idea of acknowledging the gifts from the great unseen. If you don’t think about the great unseen and are completely engaged with the world in front of our eyes then you might not relate to this, but that’s okay. Diversity is a wholesome quality and makes us more than the sum of our parts.
Thankfulness and celebration are humble positions that acknowledge that we didn’t get what we have without love, help and support.
Sometimes there’s guilt attached to the feeling of celebration, which is unproductive as guilt, but healthy as an acknowledgement that there is inequality.
When we take the time to reflect on what we have to feel gratitude for, it fills the heart with wonder and awe. If that feeling doesn’t become arrested by guilt over all the tragic lack in the world, then it transforms into deep humility as we acknowledge the extent of the gift that was given to us, and our real powerlessness to have created even a tiny fraction of it on our own. To really feel that thankfulness is also to try and receive the gift that has been and is being given. Again, sometimes guilt blocks the heart from receiving.
I find the gift is too big for my heart to take in, though I try the best I can. When the heart is as full as it can be there is celebration, like a dance for the wonder of life, or choirs of angels singing. That’s where celebration comes from. It’s like a way to convert the energy of receiving into an expression of appreciation…so it’s a type of devotional practice.
When my own heart has been filled up with thankfulness I find this always leaves me more committed to being the best steward that I can be for the gifts that I have been given…the gifts of the heart and mind as well as the material gifts.
I’ll give an example: If I get a thoughtful gift from my loved one on Christmas morning, or on my birthday, and I barely glance at it and toss it into a corner, leaving it there to gather dust and cobwebs, then I wouldn’t be showing much gratitude for the gift. I wouldn’t be opening to receive. I wouldn’t be enriching myself by using the gift and being a good steward to it.
Being someone who has spent a good bit of time getting to know the body and it’s mind, I don’t think there is a greater gift that we will ever be given, than the vehicle which houses us in this life.
Could it be an act of devotion and appreciation to celebrate and care for that gift?