By Puja Dhyan Parsons
When we started Growing Spaces LLC in 1989, our effort was to build a socially responsible business based on the values and practices we are living. One of them was the idea to “Celebrate Everything.” For me that means the attempt to shift inside, and see the potentials in every experience as well as to acknowledge the participation in an intricate order that is beyond our comprehension. It allows us to remember the mystery of existence and to remember from a place of humility that we are a part of a larger life, that is often beyond our understanding. If one can remember humor and the “light touch” of celebration, life is just plain easier! When we see the humor of interactions and our own mistakes, we can heal. We all know that “Laughter is the best medicine” and often it is a sign of great intimacy and trust.
The practice of Celebrating is to look from a place that is open to inquiry and happy to see progress even in the disappointments of life. As we are a Conscious business, emotional intelligence and reflection is a part of our base line. Self-inquiry is a part of our accountability. Celebration is a conscious choice to remember our blessings.
As founders, we wanted to express Celebration as a call to realizing the power of choice. At any moment, we know we have the ability to take disappointment and even despair and step back to find the possibilities in the moment and change our view. We already knew when we started Growing Spaces in 1989 that we can change our reality by changing our stories. Part of our cultural trance is to constantly hear our own critical “self-talk” shaming by dissecting one’s performance with criticism. “Celebrating everything” is for us a return to gratitude, and the recognition that we can see the “cup half full rather than half empty.” Developing an awareness of acceptance is developing a capacity to Celebrate. The power of the moment is that if we can be here now, we are free of the past and the tendencies to fear the future. Then, the creative process itself can have an attunement and timing that is filled to overflowing with all that inspires us. We are capable of returning to the larger perspective by returning to the moment. The mind wants to cancel this.
Many are aware that we easily tell ourselves stories that are illusory and then act as if they are true. We have all heard it said that the mind is a helpful servant and a dangerous master. This is because the mind is limited and our appraisal of ourselves and our world depends upon more than this part of intelligence. Caroline Myss discusses this beautifully in her book Defy Gravity, when she says “Achieving the impossible requires that you outwit your voice of reason and access the whimsical part of your nature that inherently delights in the possibilities of the imagination. We are at the ‘beyond reason’ point of our evolution, meaning that the type and scope of the problems we are now confronting cannot be resolved by a mere gathering of ‘reasonable’ people around a table.”
“Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong- doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there” says the 13th Century poet Rumi. He is pointing to the safety of a relationship that forgives or accepts unconditionally.
The safety of a work environment or one’s home sanctuary is the same. If we accept the human condition we can celebrate our ability to cut through our stories. Celebrating everything, we can relax, let go, and start again. In the martial arts, this is called “centering” and “extending ki” or relaxing and extending our energy beyond our physical/mental/emotional limitations with intention. Bringing attention to the moment in this way makes us strong and develops our capacity. It has the effect of self-mastery and changes our experience of our world.
An atmosphere of Celebration and appreciation is much more of a draw for the enthusiasm that is creative. I heard John MacKay Co-CEO and Founder of Whole Foods say that they end all their meetings with “appreciations.” Often, Udgar and I share our gratitude to remind us of how incredible the gifts of this life have been. When we are most despairing, our practices pull us back into the wholeness of life and the focus on all that surrounds each experience, rather than the challenges that seem insurmountable.
In the practice of celebrating our staff and the small wins in each day we are stronger, and more able to accomplish what we have set out to do. Every problem is an opportunity if we celebrate our challenges and see them as the path to growth and excellence. Our work in the world is transformative, and we aim to help partly by transforming ourselves. If we have an attitude of openness and can celebrate even the most difficult of situations, as a part of a life lived consciously, we are allowing greater fulfillment and truth to enter our experience.
It is said well by the teacher OSHO, in these passages: “Have you ever seen a tree depressed? Have you seen a bird anxiety-ridden? Have you seen an animal neurotic? No, life is not like that, not at all. Only man has gone wrong somewhere, and he has gone wrong somewhere because he thinks himself to be very wise, very clever. Your cleverness is your disease. When thousands and thousands of people around the earth are celebrating, singing, dancing, ecstatic, drunk with the divine, there is no possibility of any global suicide.”
Heavy Man! If you couch “problems” in terms of “opportunities” and “obstacles” as “challenges”, you soon find that you are playing the game instead of the game playing you.