It’s that graduation time of year and Today is a Celebration! Really, every day is a cause for celebration. Why, you ask? Because when we stop and think about it, just the fact that we are ALIVE is a reason to be in awe. But we don’t always remember this.
We live in a world full of distractions, demands on our attention, and pressures to succeed and perform. It can get really intense! We have bills to pay, mouths to feed, deadlines to meet. The stress can be overwhelming. Layer in our “got to have it now” world and society, and it is easy to get overwhelmed and anxious. So, when it all just feels like it’s too much, and we don’t know what to do next, we can Command Joy by Celebrating Ourselves.
We can get there by pausing. Breathing. Looking around to see that there is so much pure beauty that exists in each and every one of us.
We can Command Joy by Celebrating Ourselves.
Years ago on New Years Eve I found myself standing in my closet. I was frantically looking at every dress I owned and trying to figure out what to wear to a new year’s party. I probably tried on 20 different combinations of glittery skirts and silk blouse, black pants and sparkly tank top, long dress and glitter heels. As I looked at all the different combinations of shoes and jewelry and jackets, I started to feel very overwhelmed. In my head I was thinking, why can’t I make one simple decision about what to wear? Why was even this, small, tiny, simple thing, so hard? AND WHY do I have so many clothes to begin with? My closest isn’t that big!
As I tried on shirt after shirt, I had to sit down. I plopped right down in the middle of my closet. I felt dizzy. I could barely breathe. I was making little, short breaths but when I tried to take a deep breath, I couldn’t. Then I felt a pain in my chest. A sharp, shooting pain in my stomach and heart. I freaked out. I screamed out loud, OMG I am having a heart attack.
I knew where the nearest ER was so I grabbed my keys, ran to the car, and drove myself there. I thought to myself, this is it. This is where my story ends. Erin Merritt’s last day. I couldn’t believe it. I had so much more I wanted to contribute to the world! This can’t be THE END. It felt too soon, too sudden. As I pulled into the ER parking lot, a nurse saw me. She grabbed a wheelchair and wheeled me right in, past the waiting room of a hundred people with bloody body parts and aching pains. I couldn’t believe how packed the ER was! Luckily I didn’t have to wait. I was moved into a hospital bed and my vitals were checked. A few minutes later, a doctor walked over and evaluated me. “You aren’t having a heart attack” he finally concluded. “It’s just an anxiety attack.” “The majority of ER visits stem from mental health issues.”
The relief set in. I was going to be okay! I was going to live!!! I had an overwhelming feeling of Joy and happiness.
As I started to process what the Dr. had just said to me, I thought I don’t have a MENTAL HEALTH issue. Who are you to tell me that I have a mental health issue?!! Then later, I thought… hypothetically that if he was right, then what is an anxiety attack? Is that even a real thing?
Naturally, from my hospital bed, I started looking it up on my phone. Turns out, it is a real thing. A very real thing. So I spent the next few months trying to understand how I made it to that point. How did I get here? What the heck happened?
As I thought about the events leading up to my visit in the ER, I realized that for months I had been dealing with a high amount of stress – I was overwhelmed at work, I was having problems in my relationship, my Mom was fighting melanoma. I had a lot on my mind and I wasn’t doing anything healthy about it.
I had a co-worker that recommended I start meditating to calm my anxiety. So I decided to start trying. At first, I thought it was dumb and a complete waste of time. I had so much to do, I couldn’t just sit in silence and try to clear my mind! Who has time for this?
But I didn’t stop trying. I kept at it. After a few weeks of daily 5 minute sessions, I started to see the power in it.
Through meditation, I started to see beauty in myself and in the things around me. I felt love, real love, for myself for the first time in my adult life. Calmness. Peace. Beauty.
The world that was once scary and overwhelming felt different. It felt alive and wonderful. From the ER came a changed woman. From the ER came a person who was ready to Command Joy.
We can all Command Joy by Celebrating Ourselves today. At the core of every one of us is freedom, love, and joy. Why not take the time to celebrate that today?