“When celebration has a tinge of sanctity and prayer, it gains depth and dignity. It is not just entertainment for the mind or excitement for the body, but nourishment for the soul. Instead of beginning a celebration with intoxicants, begin afresh with an act of kindness, a moment of reflection. The wise see their past as destiny, the future as free will and are happy in the present.” His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
This resonated very closely with me. Although I stopped drinking alcohol some time ago, I still take pride in being able to make pretty epic cocktails and mocktails. I don’t encourage or discourage the consumption of alcohol, but I do think it’s worth a discussion, at the very least that through reflection, and knowing ourselves at a deeper level, we may discover what celebration that’s nourishment for the soul really means for us. When we think of a “celebration” its normal to think of popping champagnes, pouring drinks/ shots and all that is mere excitement for the transient body. Up until a year or two ago, I was in the same boat. Done in moderation, most things tend to be ok.
When I made the decision to stop drinking alcohol, the idea of a celebration took a bit of a transformation. In celebrating any occasion, my focus moved to ensuring a memorable experience in a place or location that is conducive for reconnecting and relationship building with the people whose company I enjoy most. Such a celebration allows for a deeper level of connection, both with ourselves and those around us. This is of course a journey that’s very personal and individual to me, it’s the sort of celebration that indeed goes deeper than a classic “night out”.
Speaking of a celebration that’s nourishment for the soul, I welcomed the New Year, 2021 on the Main Beach at Byron Bay, under the cooling light of the (almost) full moon and soothing sound of ocean waves. I reflected on the year gone by and set resolutions for the one ahead, completely sober, and high on life! I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the new year. Being in a beach town, how could I have missed the opportunity to see the year’s first sunrise!
The morning presented for an opportunity to do a cheeky act of kindness. Turns out there were heaps of people coming to see the sunrise on Byron Bay’s main beach. Most were still slightly intoxicated from the beach parties. What’s interesting is that most people gathered on the Main Beach in the morning quite realised (or knew) that you can’t see the sunrise from the Main Beach because of the landscape around the town. You have to go around to the other side of the hill to Tallow Beach for the sun rise over the ocean. I kindly gave some of these people the devastating news that they happened to be on the wrong beach for sunrise, but also the good news that they might be able to make it in time to the other beach in time! Was I late to the other beach too? Absolutely not – I was driving! ?