This week on Blonde Atlas, we’re talking about gratitude and celebration. I landed on this theme last week in yoga when we were holding chair pose for what felt like an ungodly amount of time. As I anxiously waited for my teacher to prompt us to come out of it, she kept talking instead. “Now can you smile?” she asked. I was annoyed. I was ready to get the @#$% out of it, but she kept going. “If we always focus on the thing we want to change, we’ll never learn to be content. If we can learn to be happy when we are uncomfortable, imagine how much we can grow- how good life could be.” It convicted me. I thought of all the tiny things the perfectionist in me has always complained about, all the negative I’ve focused on, and meanwhile I am crazy, stupid, unbelievably blessed. My life is awesome. I have so much to be thankful for. So this week, I’m choosing to celebrate instead of obsessing over what I can’t change.
I’m thankful for the simple things- the things that make life beautiful. I’m thankful for passport stamps. I’m thankful for fresh cut flowers. I’m thankful for climbing into a bed with crisp clean sheets fresh out of the dryer.
I’m thankful for the loud “POP!” of a champagne cork flying off the top of the bottle and the gleeful “WOO”s that typically follow. I’m thankful for the millions of bubbles that fizz as it’s poured. I’m thankful that you don’t need an occasion to celebrate or clink glasses and cheers.
I’m thankful for the sweet old couple I saw holding hands and drinking Frappuchinos at Starbucks last week. I’m thankful for how luxurious it feels to indulge in a bowl of pasta or a deep dish pizza (or let’s be real, any carbohydrate). I’m thankful for the gift from God we know as guacamole-for it’s ability to make everything right in the world.
I’m thankful for kisses from my dog, Halle. I’m thankful for Frank Sinatra and the way he makes me feel when I cook barefoot in my kitchen and drink wine.
I’m thankful for Sunday nights with Jordan; drinking a bottle of wine and eating key lime pie and chocolate cake and laughing and having raw, soul-bearing, honest conversations.
I’m thankful for travel. For the way my heart beats a little faster when the wheels of my plane lift off the runway or when I’m exploring a new place for the first time. I’m thankful for music: how it can cut to your soul and how it can amplify your happiness. How a simple song can transform you back to holding hands in a truck and kissing at every red light, or to a cab ride down Via del Corso in Rome on a summer night.
I’m thankful for Friday nights shooting Sake and making toasts and letting your guard down and letting yourself do what feels right, even if it’s just for right now. I’m thankful for beautiful weather and nights on the porch staying up way too late to talk about life and the things that really matter with people you love.
I’m thankful for grace. I’m thankful that it’s been given freely to me and that I can show it to others. I’m thankful that perfection isn’t even an option for any of us- that we're all loved right where we are.
I’m thankful for honesty. That when I bear my soul and my mess and my whole self to my friends that they just listen and love me without judgement or expectation.
I’m thankful for hope- that no matter how ugly life looks, we have a God who promises us beautiful things are in store and that He’s working all things together for our good.
What are you thankful for? What can you celebrate today? I know that celebrating may sound ridiculous right now. Like something unreachable, that those other people should be doing. If that’s how you’re feeling, I think this excerpt I read on my flight this morning from Cold Tangerines will help:
Celebration when you think you’re calling the shots? Easy. Celebration when your plan is working? Anyone can do that. But when you realize that the story of your life could be told a thousand different ways, that you could tell it over and over as a tragedy, but you choose to call it an epic, that’s when you start to learn what celebration is. When what you see in front of you is so far outside of what you dreamed, but you have the belief, the boldness, the courage to call it beautiful instead of calling it wrong, that’s celebration. When you can invest yourself deeply, unremittingly, in the life that surrounds you instead of declaring yourself out of the game once and for all, because what’s happened to you is too bad, too deep, too ugly for anyone to expect you to move on from, that’s that good, rich place. That’s the place where the things that looked for all intents and purposes like curses start to stand up and shimmer and dance and you realize with a gasp that they may have been blessings all along. Or maybe not. Maybe they were curses, in fact, but the force of your belief and your hope and your desperate love for life as it is actually unfolding, has brought a blessing from a curse, like water form a stone, like life from a tomb, like the actual story of God over and over.
I know some of you are dealing with a mountain of confusion or hurt or failure or loss, and I don’t mean to downplay any of that for a second. But I hope that even if it’s just for this week, you’ll pause to realize the things that are good. I hope that you’ll stop and notice the ways that life is lifting you up and delivering you to become better. I hope that you’ll choose to celebrate.