Summer in the UK is filled with festivals. From May through to the end of September, there’s not a weekend where you couldn’t find a gathering of folks, ready to commune, dance, and meet like-minded souls. From the smallest of village fetes to the largest of commercial events, if you want to come together with your fellow reveller, there are a myriad of opportunities to do so.
I love a good festi. And over the years, I’ve attended many – Glastonbury, Womad, Big Chill, Wilderness…And also many smaller, boutique, heart-felt gatherings with dear friends where we come together to let our spirits soar, adorn our bodies, heads and skin with decorative embellishments to a theme so that we may share in a rich, cultural experience of celebrating as one. I love the eccentricity, the release from the every-day of life and the chance to dance under the stars. There is something wonderful, primal even, about camping out and sharing a few days of outdoor magic with fellow humans – it’s a wonderful leveller.
But why limit ourselves to such celebrations once or twice a year? Are we really only entitled to cavort with our friends in a field on occasions? I don’t think so.
Yes, of course there are awful things happening in the world out there, and attending a festival might certainly be one way to extract ourselves from this, and celebrate in a more elaborate way.
But how about taking the time to celebrate and bring joy in our everyday lives? This too can really enrich us.
As Osho says: “Every man now is responsible to create a buddhafield around himself, an energy field that goes on becoming bigger and bigger. Create as many vibrations of laughter, joy, celebration, as possible; dance, sing, let the whole of humanity by and by catch the fire of Zen and the wind of Zen.
Just your laughter will be enough to prevent the war. Your celebration, your dance, will be enough to prevent the war. Your ecstasy, your meditation, will create a tremendous force which will be far higher because it is life-affirmative.”
Make more time to celebrate the every day, the small stuff. Let life itself be your festival. Why have excuses such as a birthday or anniversary? How about celebrating the fact you achieved what you set out to do this week? Or that you finally understood something you’ve been struggling with. Why not have a family gathering one weekend, simply because you can? How about acknowledging that you’ve stuck to your healthy eating commitment, or exercise plan? But more powerful still, simply take in a real moment of gratitude and to look around you – the roof over your head, the food in your belly, the warmth of the sun on your skin, the sound of the rain on the window – and smile in celebration at all you have.
“People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state--it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle.... Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one's actions.”
― Abraham Joshua Heschel