Monday, June 2, 2014

Celebrate What's Right

When I began my breastfeeding adventure over a year ago, I was unprepared for the roller coaster highs and lows it would bring. The reason I contribute to this blog is because I want to come alongside moms in encouraging each other, commiserating with one another, and sharing our experiences so we can all know better and do better. This last purpose is why we have loads of troubleshooting tips here, here, here, and here.

One thing that's difficult to troubleshoot is the myriad emotions moms experience as they breastfeed. This journey is fraught with joy, sorrow, frustration, and pride. It means coming face to face with your own shortcomings. Some moms may battle depression. One thing that kept me sane through it all was celebrating what's right with the world.

Several years ago I saw a film by Dewitt Jones, a former photographer for National Geographic. It was called Celebrate What's Right with the World

In the introduction to this video on his website, Jones shares some insight about this philosophy:
Photo credit: Dewitt Jones
How easy it is to celebrate a birthday, a marriage, a holiday. How hard it is to hold that same perspective in our daily lives. Everyday we are inundated with messages that tell us what’s wrong with our world. It’s not surprising that we lose sight of all the things that are right with it; of all that is truly worth celebrating. As a photographer, I have a choice of what lens I put on my camera; a choice of how I am going to view the world. I choose to celebrate. Why? Because it imbues me with gratitude, because it allows me to see the best in people and situations, because it fills me with energy.

This idea has stayed with me and has been especially helpful as I settle into motherhood. I try to surround myself with people who inspire and uplift me. I look for ways to refuel, refocus, and celebrate what's right. For me that's my faith and my family. Music. Nature. And most importantly of all, for me that is documenting these celebrations through photos, facebook, and scribbles in my journal. I've had to let go of my perfectionism because capturing joyful moments in any way is more important to me than the perfectly framed shot or perfectly worded caption.

Now that Boo is one, I've spent a little time looking back over these pictures and statuses and little bits of bliss. Life is fine right now, and these things are a reminder to me to be intentional about looking for bliss in the everyday. To be searching for things to celebrate - on purpose.

And when I'm facing tougher times, these tangible pieces are proof of what's right in the world. I can look back at my facebook feed, flip through the baby book, and reread old journals. And as I do, my weary heart marvels at the victories over devastating circumstances and the sweet spots in between the bitter moments. In the midst of sadness, I think to myself, In some far-off life, I had goodness and grace and glorious small wonders. And I look around my life, bleak and blurry, but a little more bearable now that I understand this is only one piece of my story.

This isn't to say I pretend heartache doesn't exist, or ignore sadness around me. It certainly doesn't mean I am the champion of noticing awesomeness in my life (because let's be honest, most of the time I am a hot mess who's too often too busy). I don't run up to a despondent friend and chirp, "Celebrate what's right with the world!" I listen. I notice. And when I take time to celebrate what's right, even when there seem to be more things wrong, I am grateful. I am kinder. And I feel whole.

What can you celebrate right now?

1 comment: