When I was given the topic for this article, of these three words, I wondered: what do they have to do with each other? Nothing!
I thought, I’ll just focus on celebration, that’s much more me.
But then it occurred to me that celebration is the end stage of the process and to have something to celebrate, we first need to turn our mind’s eye back to another time or event.
At different stages of our lives we’ll spend varying amounts of time on each of these phases, but we still go through them to get to the good stuff.
How we reflect varies for each of us. Sometimes, our dreams bring events back to us and give us an opportunity to go over the events, and consider how they effected us, and how we might like to do things differently, should we be presented with the same situation in future.
And if you’re an overthinker, you won’t even need to be asleep to do so- in fact, it’s unlikely you’ll even get to sleep with all the reflection you’re doing! That shit can really drive a person crazy. Good luck with turning it off too, because it’s usually a tough task, and one that can take a lot of untraining to master. However, help is out there for that, with sleep music, podcasts, yoga etc. all at your disposal.
Then there are the multi taskers. These people go about their daily lives still having plenty of time to go over every sordid and tawdry detail of their past. Through working, maintaining relationships, parenting, paying bills, going to the gym, doing all that life requires, their past haunts them, and provides constant opportunity for reflection.
I reflect in all of these ways, at different times. It makes for interesting nocturnal habits, where my sleep, and quality of, is effected, and day to day life, which is thus impacted by the busy or inadequate sleep. The days of course, are then filled with snippets of back stories and conversations which jump into the here and now as spontaneous reminders.
The conclusions I reach after such reflection usually stay with me. Occasionally, I’ll confide in a friend, especially one who was around or present at the time of the event. But, by and large, I keep my methods and results of such reflection to myself, the lessons of which I’ll take into my future.
But we’re not all the same, and some people reflect in a more public manner, such as those I call PDVs- Personal Development Vegans. They’re on a path and they’ll tell you all about it whether you’re interested or not, because they’ve found spiritual enlightenment and want to share it with you. It’s very kind, but hello, I spend a lot of time thinking over my past and learning from it. I reflect, I just don’t go around spouting on about it, and my methods, trying to get you to “come on the journey.” Another part of their reflection journey goes a little like: “I realised when I had all these negative thoughts about xxxx that really, that was a reflection of me, and it’s an area of myself that I don’t like.” Kill me now. Sure, the people we meet and the exchanges we have often teach us valuable lessons. But they’re not all reflections. And you know what? Sometimes people are just assholes. Why would I try to take someone else’s shitful attitude or behaviour and try to find it within me? Nope. I don’t think so. My method of reflection is working juuuuuuuuuust fine, thank you, and you can dismiss me all you like, but that’s not very nice, which kinda goes against your attempts of inclusiveness, don’tcha think
The PDV and I differ on the next stage too. Theirs is often to be grateful to that person for shining the light on themselves and their deficiencies, or ‘flaws’. No thanks, why are you giving away the credit? I definitely acknowledge the part people have had in my life, and I’m huge on the theory that people come into our lives for a reason, each bringing life lessons. But if it wasn’t for me, and my interaction with them, then I would have been incapable of learning anything from the experience. I was the one who decided to be open to it, and the ensuing lessons, and I conducted myself in such a way that I was able to take something away from it, be that negative or positive. But I’ll praise myself for that, not them. They’re doing their own thing, or as these peeps would also take great relish in saying: they’re on their own journey. Please, gimme a bucket.
But while we might look at these words and their meanings from different directions, where we can all come together is the party. I’m big on that. Of course I take bits and pieces of reflection and gratitude and bring it together in a great outcome. That’s the positive person in me.
Because in my life, just like anyone else’s, there’s been plenty of crap, and lots of things from which to learn and for which to be grateful. I just do it my way.
I am HUGE on celebrating what I’ve survived, (through life throwing stuff at me, or events which have occurred through decisions I’ve made) and I’ve done that by reflecting and being grateful- in my own quiet way.
But there’s no reason to be quiet about the celebration, the party. But these come in many forms, and for many reasons.
Not everyone sees the end of a marriage as a reason to celebrate. But for those who’ve had a particularly acrimonious marriage or divorce, the finalisation can definitely be cause for celebration.
I remember the night my mum died. My dad, siblings and I were called to the hospital, just an hour or so after I’d left her, smiling and happy. But there’d been a turn and we contacted her 7 siblings and their families as we assembled. Although we didn’t know it would be her last night, we gathered at the hospital in a spontaneous family reunion. We’re always happy to see each other, and many laughs were had, and stories relived. Could she have chosen how to spend her last night on earth, I’d like to think it would have been surrounded by her nearest and dearest and the sounds of us all having fun together. Mum wasn’t much of a drinker but she always loved a party, and without realising it, we’d pulled together the last party she’d attend.
So you see, celebrations come in lots of forms, and at unexpected times, and in the smallest of ways.
If we’re not open to reflection, do we ever set new goals? Reflection helps us to sift through our past and decide which things we’re most grateful for. This, in turn, helps us realise what we want more of, or what we’d prefer for our future.
The reality is, that without reflection and gratitude, celebration is an empty, ego driven act, self-given to dull the voices of doubt in our head. Too much of that, and we can become hollow, lonely shells. That’s not the me I want to be, so I’ll stick with the trinity- I’ll just do it my way, and you’ll find your way too.
Marie-Louise Pawsey is the founder of Life Stylin,’ which aims to help people who feel a bit stuck in their life, and unsure of their next step toward happiness. She helps them to examine aspects which are holding them back, and empowers them to make smart decisions that they will forever be confident in. facebook.com/LifeStylinDatingCoach