Celebration is as important to heart health as grief.
Last time I said that giving ourselves space to feel things like sadness and anger is essential to the health of our souls. Well, the same is true of joy and happiness.
When wonderful things happen, the heart has to celebrate for a time in order to stay healthy. If we don’t make space in our lives to fully feel and express our joy over the good that we experience, this will do damage to our hearts over time.
As I’ve gotten more in touch with my emotions – and grown in my understanding of how necessary they are to my heart health – it’s been really fun to learn to celebrate! I used to live my life on a perpetual treadmill of performance: “If something good happens, that’s nice, but I’d better move on really quickly to the next thing, or I’ll fall behind.”
I’ll never forget a time in counseling school when I was observing as one of my classmates was counseling a client: The client was sharing some really good things that had happened in his life recently. Meanwhile, I was listening to their conversation, trying to identify “the problem” that I thought should become the focus of the session. (Because that’s what counseling is about, isn’t it? It’s for dealing with our problems!)
My friend – the counselor – caught me totally off guard when she stopped, looked over at the supervisor who was with her in the room, and said, “Well… I just want to celebrate!”
If I was the counselor at that moment, I would have brushed aside something truly wonderful in search of a problem to focus on. But my friend, in her wisdom, knew that celebration was what the moment called for: To set aside time to observe and rejoice over good things that had happened.
Celebration, I think, is part of the way that good things become solidified in our hearts.
Rhythm is essential
All of this means that it is incredibly important that we become more and more deeply in touch with the rhythms of our hearts, listening moment by moment each day for them to tell us what we are feeling.
I think we should spend a lot less time telling ourselves what we “should” be feeling, and more time asking ourselves what we are feeling.
And then, when you get an answer, take the time to just feel it. Maybe even share it with somebody else, or with God.
“words can never make up for what you do.”
Some relevant scripture that floated through my mind during this post:
Ecclesiastes 3; Philippians 4:4