After attending a three day conference honoring the Devine Feminine in Assisi, Italy the music came on to signify the end of the gathering. And then something amazing happened: one after another, the women in the audience spontaneously rose to the music, swaying, twisting, and turning in celebration of our feminine essence. We danced uninhibited, letting the music flow through us. Feeling light of body and heart, I moved carefree as a child imitating a nymph in the forest. We literally floated home. Why don’t we celebrate more often, I wonder?
At a recent workshop an attendee asked me, “How do you celebrate?” Her question made me stop and think. Our methods of celebration should be as individual as we are, yet they are so often relegated to following meaningless dogma. For some, celebration means chocolate, balloons, or fine wine, and for others it’s a wild 50th birthday party with the proviso, “what happens in Vegas…” Yet regardless of our favored mode of celebration, they almost always connote familiar traditions on calendar holidays, rather than an individual cause for celebration. Furthermore, if you’re the one responsible for providing the food, gifts, and decorations, these events can be exhausting, to the point that they don’t feel like celebrations at all!
The bottom line is that for all our “celebrations,” we women haven’t felt worthy of celebrating ourselves. It’s time to think about claiming our right to “bask in the glory” of who we are by finding some celebrations that capture our unique spirit and personality. Here are some ideas for creating our own rituals:
1) Honor your family and friends. One reader emailed to tell me about a pub-crawl that her aunt organized for her matriarchal family line. The youngest of the group was 16 (shhh!) and the oldest was 88 (women weren’t permitted in the beer parlor in her day). They had tons of fun celebrating their membership in a strong and admirable group of women.
Another friend celebrates something she calls “Ancestor Day.” She gathers family and gives tributes to those who have gone before her. Celebrating the roots and values that give her life meaning is enriching. But the pleasure starts with the fact that the date and theme are of her choice – no one at the top of a hierarchy is telling her how or when to celebrate!
2) Make it significant to you. Peggy Holt, an instructor at Canyon Ranch, describes how one day each year she celebrated “Holt Holiday” with her children. After waking them she would surprise them with an unexpected change in routine – rather than being hurried off to school, they would take the day off to play with the family! Now that her children are grown they continue this ritual by having these annual celebration days with their own children.
To create your own ritual, ask yourself what gives you energy and honor that. Start by finding a date that holds special meaning. Then celebrate with something that is fun for you. Last year on my birthday I invited women to a dinner where we celebrated femininity by doing the Yoni dance. I also make a point of celebrating the new mobility that came with losing 100 pounds. In my recent travels, I’ve celebrated with activities including zip lining, trekking, and white water rafting. Each activity is elating!
3) Celebrate more by doing less. Sometimes we think we need to organize a big celebration, but little things can be even more enjoyable. Something as simple as buying a book and taking time to reflect on it can be celebratory. The sixth Stilletto Step is Self-Celebration, which means that rather than getting co-opted into the masculine energy of always doing something, we should instead celebrate by enhancing our inner experience.
The best celebrations are outward manifestations reflecting who we are, which is what happened with our spontaneous dancing in Assisi. What could you do to celebrate the special and unique person that you are?