Celebrating feels good, and there’s been a lot to cheer for over the last few days from where I stand. As the Confederate flag eases down the pole and equal rights are extended to same sex partners with respect to marriage, the energy on my Facebook feed has been warm, loving, fabulous, and fuzzy. It’s like sliding into a big hug over and over again.

Even before this little wave of goodness that rolled in from the Supreme Court ruling, I had been pondering the idea of celebration and counting one’s blessings because it’s become a very critical cornerstone of my existence over the last few years and a practice that has completely transformed my perspective on life. As my perception has changed, doors of opportunity and joy have opened all around me, beckoning to me to enter.

Back before, in my “dark years”, celebration came through a bottle or a drug. I didn’t feel like I had much to celebrate – even when I did – because the truth of the matter is that I’ve always been blessed, I just couldn’t see it. At all. I look back at stretches of years, and I see a lot of depression, anxiety, and fear, and it’s a sticky, grey energy that rolls through almost every memory I have. And because I couldn’t see the miracles and blessings that were lying all around me, I tried to make up reasons to celebrate that involved drinking and debauchery. I needed those tools to help me feel like I could open up to others and share myself with them. I could be merry when I drank; it gave me permission and an outlet. The rest of my hours were spent in a pretty bleak state of fear and insecurity that typically consisted of me beating myself up for perceived bad decisions, a general lack of good fortune and because I just didn’t feel good enough.

This was a cycle that took me years to break. I really thought that I deserved to be unhappy and that I was inherently unworthy of experiencing a good life. I propagated this personal myth by acting in self-defeating ways and then condemning myself for my actions.

Getting through this was a progression of baby steps that was initiated, for me, through recovery. As my head got clearer, my heart began to open. Through a lot of writing and healing work (and trial and error!), I was able to reach a place where I felt like my head was above water. I could have stopped there; life was much better than it had been, but truly a miracle occurred. I got a glimpse that it could be even better, and I had reached a point of actually believing that I deserved prosperity and happiness. I was close enough to sniff the possibility and my desire to claim it began to outweigh my fear of doing the work to move towards it.

It’s difficult at times to know which part shifted what because I threw myself into the process headlong at various points. What I do know, though, is that when I brought the concept of celebration into my life as a way of acknowledging gratitude and blessings received, my vibration aligned with a more prosperous and happy one. Everything began to shift. I celebrated coins found on the ground, food, hugs from my boy, my crazy and adorable pets, and the love of friends. I laughed more and I hugged from my heart more. I began to forgive more quickly and freely. I started to feel really good and the better I felt, the more thankful I became.

I’m not perfect and I am definitely a work in progress, but I enjoy and appreciate the progress. I celebrate as much as I can from a cup that is never, ever less than half full. Even what I might consider painful, hard, or just plain crap, is pointing me towards something to celebrate if and when I allow it to. As I move through my life relishing the little things, I’m not dependent on the need for big things to happen in order to feel good (though they feel even better when they do). There is a knowing that I am okay that rises up and out from within me. And more than anything, that is cause to celebrate.