Saturday, September 21, 2013

Celebrate Every Step

As human ‘doings’ we can often race from one appointment to another, one task to the next, always adding more things to the ‘to do’ list. As we do make progress and things get ticked off the ‘to do’ list we sometimes forget a very important step. Celebration! We forget to stop and say hey, I did a pretty good job there!” Or whew – that was a big step. We don’t stop and appreciate what we have accomplished. We tick one thing off the list and add two more – the list never ends – we just go on and on and on. We often don’t celebrate, sometimes we don’t even pause! This pause and celebrate - has been one of my biggest learnings. To stop and reflect for a moment on what I have just done. For instance, Sunday services take hours of preparation and thought. Many people find them enriching and meaningful. When I get home – instead of checking my email and looking at the next thing on my list…I sit down with a cup of tea and savoured the time. Just gave myself a moment to soak up the feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction. It is important no matter how large or small the project – that we take time to do this. Here is a little fun way that reminds me to celebrate or at least acknowledge that I have completed a step. I have a pottery bowl with glass stones/blobs you can find at a craft shop. I have a beautiful glass vase. Every time I accomplish something, for instance, answered all my emails, I take a stone from the pot and drop it into the glass. Finished my report to the Board – drop a stone. Prepare a Sunday lesson – maybe that one is worth 4 stones! Doing this makes me stop and consciously appreciate what I have just done. I don’t end up at the end of the day wondering: where did it go? What did I do? I know…. its right here in front of me! When the glass is full I treat myself to something that I find personally rewarding. There is another aspect of celebration I would like to explore. As we go through our daily lives we sometimes encounter ‘bumps’. Some experiences or people that seem to hinder us moving forward. Something that trips us up. Something unexpected that happens. It could be a situation like building a bookshelf. We order special brackets, we go to pick them up, they are the wrong ones. Or taking a trip – the first plane is late and we miss our connection to the next one. We want to cook a special meal, we go to the store and they are out of a key ingredient. These things – large or small happen all the time. Or it could be a person: perhaps we join a group for fun and one person there talks too much or is always late. We go out to enjoy a walk and we see someone did not pick up after their dog. These things also happen all the time. What is there to celebrate in that? In reaction we might say – I’ll never do that again (fly, join a group, build a bookshelf). Or we might re-arrange our lives so that we don’t have to encounter that person or situation again. When we do that we are missing a huge opportunity for growth. Every person and situation is an opportunity for us to learn something – if we don’t shy away or run away. Some of the most annoying people in my life have been my greatest teachers – as soon as I was willing to see them that way. I began to ask myself: How is this person being a teacher for me? What can I learn from this person? And the best part is: I didn’t have to sign up for a course or attend a seminar. I didn’t have to pay big bucks to learn this amazing life-transforming lesson. I got my teacher – for free! No book to read, no studying – it was in front of me all the time. We are surrounded by our teachers – look around at the people and situations in your life. And celebrate that!