Saturday, April 18, 2009

...But It's Going to Get Cold Again

Over the last several weeks here in Asheville, NC we have been bouncing back and forth between spring-like weather and what feels like dreary winter again. Each magical sunny day that is brought to us is a reminder of the cycles of growth and renewal that are a natural order of the universe. We can use these to energize our own personal growth as well, which is probably why so many people engage in "spring cleaning" feels right and natural to open up and let the light and sunshine come into our lives as the universe does the same.

But what I have noticed with these glimpses of spring is how very few people can enjoy them for the moment, but will instead focus on the possibility that it may not be here to stay for very long. On these perfect days that have transpired, I've noticed that most people I have commented to about what a lovely day it is, have responded with a declaration like, "Yes, but don't enjoy it too much because it is supposed to get cold again in a few days." These are not perpetually pessimistic people I am talking about, these comments are from almost everyone I mention it to, even those I know as generally positive individuals. And while it is understandable to want the perfection to stay, or be disappointed if it doesn't linger, it is such a waste not to fully enjoy it while it is here.

Why is our nature to not enjoy things simply because they may not be here forever...and what do we miss along the way? I distinctly recall times in my life where I felt like celebrating an accomplishment, not in a gloating way, but in a moment of joy and a feeling of gratitude, when someone around me would temper it with comments like, "Don't get too cocky", "Don't celebrate too much, it may not be so good next month". I don't understand that logic. Of course, life will have its ups and downs, its sunny days and its rainy days. That is part of the natural ebb and flow, and provides us many opportunities to experience all there is, but where does it leave us if we cannot appreciate the good when it is here? Who have we become if we only look toward the negative possibilities that may come our way rather than enjoying the positive moments? And, even more importantly, does our lack of joyful gratitude and celebration keep us from receiving even more things to celebrate?

In sports, it is now commonplace to give penalties for excessive celebration, and while I agree that some celebrations may go a little far and border on taunting, I have watched penalties be given for even the slightest display of excitement over a big game-changing play, no matter what the circumstance or surrounding emotion. I disagree with rules that say a player cannot celebrate distinguished accomplishment or should squelch all emotion in that moment. I think it is inhuman to contain overwhelming joy, and not the least bit good for us. Those moments in life can be rare, whether on a sports field or in everyday life, and we should celebrate them rather than diminish or scorn them.

We should retrain ourselves to enjoy the moment more, to celebrate the beautiful day without regard for the returning cold, rejoice in our successes rather than worry that they will be fleeting, and live in a space that recognizes goodness so as to attract more of it. Are you living your life in such a way as to fully appreciate the good, or are you bracing for the cold that you are certain will find its way back to you? Perhaps if we brace and prepare ourselves for all of the good and blessings that are coming our way, then we will be in place of gratitude that will encourage them to appear more frequently. Make a conscious effort to expect good things, and to enjoy the moment when they are there. Your joy is a celebration that shows gratitude. Be thankful rather than regretful, hopeful rather than doubtful, and see if it makes a difference in your outlook and your ability to deal with life's day to day challenges, which we all are certain to encounter. At the very least, you will have the joy of the moment, and that in itself is a great reward.

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