Creatively Celebrating Yourself, Others, and Life
“We are here to bring to consciousness the beauty and power that are around us and to praise the people who are here with us.” Annie Dillard
Learn to create joyful living through small celebrations:
If you watch most children play, they are exuberant and joyful. There is an Italian saying that has been globalized by Loris Malaguzzi, the inspired leader of the Reggio Emilia, an early childhood educational movement that started in Northern Italy. He says that learning should be joyful too — Nienta sensa di gioia – nothing without joy. This attitude permeates the conceptual framework of this extraordinary children’s program and it shows in the children’s and teachers’ attitudes.
Nothing without joy — What would happen to the old world is nothing was done without joy? Boggles the mind doesn’t it!
If adults adopt this joyful adage and try to live it then it might translate to “if you cannot derive joy out of something — don’t do it, or better still, change it so it is joyful.” Life is too short for continual boredom, drudgery, or anger. But joyful living is also an attitudinal choice, and someone very wise once said “you are always in charge of your own attitude.”
Joyful living in creative spirits thrives in small but unexpected ways. Being creative and feeling creative are states of mind. Creativity is not always an act that relates specifically to the development of a product, the completion of a project, or the solving of a problem, you can be highly creative in the ways you choose to live and interact with others. We create every day in many ordinary ways. In this context learn to celebrate your accomplishments, experience something new, take safe risks, and especially learn to savor moments of joy.
Like children in the highly unusual but exceptional program at Reggio Emilia, adults need to learn to experience the wonder of life in new and different ways. It truly changes one’s perspectives–which is good for enhancing and supporting creativity, and changes the search for creativity into creatively being.
Here are some simple suggestions and starting places for creating or re-initiating joyful living:
- Reinvent yourself in some way — discover a hidden talent; tackle something you’ve always wanted to do; take a new and different route home; comb your hair another way; try a new food; watch a movie in a genre you are unfamiliar with.
- Throw something away or give something away that is no longer of personal use, or which no longer has meaning or function and then celebrate simplifying your life. Literally say good-bye to this object, and enjoy the empty space.
- Re-envision your living or work space by rearranging or moving something in your home or office.
- Paint or clean something and sing, hum, or whistle as you do it.
- Praise someone else’s efforts — out loud! This is especially elating when you do it for a total stranger.
- Commit an act of random kindness or beauty. And, don’t expect others to notice, or say thanks.
- Dance, whirl, sing loudly in a public place — and then giggle.
- Cheer for someone else, or for yourself.
- Wake up in the morning and announce — “I back and I’m here to stay.”
- Find something or someone to celebrate — something or someone positive on the news, or in your community.
- Get excited about some little thing and show it.
- Laugh a lot. Laugh out loud. Laugh ’til you double over, and your ribs hurt and tears run down your checks. This is exhausting and yet wonderfully cathartic.
- Buy some different type of music and play it loudly — and dance wildly.
- Cook something you’ve never tried before, or order something you’ve never tried in a restaurant.
- Surf the Net in order to learn something new, and then try to connect it to something you already know.
- Have a conversation with or sing to something that isn’t human.
- Say something complimentary to a total stranger.
- Get a massage, or a reflexology foot rub, and try to remain in that moment celebrating the gift of healing touch.
- Anthropomorphize something non-living — give it a name, does it have any human characteristics? Expensive toys, cars, appliances deserve a formal naming!
- Cook or bake something for those you care about, and mentally infuse every action in the preparation with joy and love. Cooking is after all a highly creative act!
- Create other celebrations, often.
If you have found wonderful ways to celebrate life and make living joyful, send me your suggestions. E-mail
Original materials on this site are copyrighted to Leslie Owen Wilson