The beginning of any new year is an opportunity to strengthen our commitment to making our lives the way we want them. As we do this, it can be useful to notice that there isn't a "hard stop" of an ending with a "perfect" new beginning, but that we are continuing on our journey from what we've already built, what we've learned from our successes as well as from our hardships. It's a good time to reflect upon all of this from the previous year, set and reset our intentions, and go forth with renewed energy.
Many of us just want to say “good riddance!” and never look back. But for all the things that were hard, what were the lessons that we learned from those situations? What were our “take aways”? Did they make clear to us any changes that we want or need to make to keep going forward? No matter the difficulties, we can always take a moment to notice what did go well, what we’re grateful for, and what successes we had.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the new year starts in the middle of winter.
Winter is a time for hibernation in the natural world around us, a slower, more restful time when plants and animals find refuge, store up during the colder months and conserve their energy. If we take our cues from nature, we can be resting a bit more also and letting our ideas and visions get well-rooted so they become more clear to us. It’s a great time to commit anew to our intentions and nurture daily habits of support and groundedness, building a base to spring from. It's a time to take small, consistent actions that keep momentum going and keep us moving towards the manifestation of our intentions.
Our journey in life is ongoing. Throughout the year we have multiple opportunities to reflect upon our lives, like our birthday or the new year. We can use the moon cycles to set new intentions and let go of things we're done with each month. We can use the end of each week to review and reflect and set intentions for the new week. We don't have to wait for special occasions to be purposeful about our lives, and if we take the time for gratitude, reflection and intention practices on a regular basis, we may be able to better follow our own lives as we move through them. We may also find ourselves better equipped to handle any of the difficulties that inevitably come along.
A powerful new year practice is to look into the future a year ahead with curiosity, surprise & delight. First, find a comfortable spot to sit and focus on your breath. Ground into your feet or your seat and feel the internal space of your physical body all the way through the middle from the earth below your feet to the space above our head. Let yourself relax as much as possible. Imagine it is New Year's Eve 2022, and your are surprised and delighted by all the things that have happened in the past year. What has happened? You can reflect internally for a few moments and then take some time to write down your reflections.
Our lives are a continuous cycle of ups, downs, expansion & growth, but we're not always able to be aware of it as it's happening. With meditative and reflective practices, we are more able to fully engage in it, enjoy it, and choose it, rather than feeling like it's just happening to us. So, go ahead...take time for yourself to reflect...say goodbye to those pesky notions that no longer serve you and let them go, welcoming in the first week of this New Year with strong intention, grounded spirit and a clear vision of what’s possible!