Oh, please, not another “How to set yourself up for a great year” article, right? Of course, the end of one year and the beginning of the next give life coaches, meditation teachers and bloggers a great platform to remind anyone who will listen how to get ready for your best year yet!
I don’t mean to make light. In fact, since I fall into all three of the categories above I’m mostly poking fun at myself. Truth is, I used to offer a New Year’s Eve meditation to help myself and others really set the energy and intentions for the coming year. I do believe that energy follows intention and that life without conscious intention is life lived in chaos. But in all of those meditation offerings the one thing I don’t believe I did as well as I would now is release the current year.
It’s really challenging to let in new energy when the past energy hasn’t been thanked, blessed and released. Now, if you had a 2013 like I did, this might sound like a monumental task; but I assure you, regardless of how delightful or rotten your year was, this process will make you feel SO. MUCH. LIGHTER.
As you go through this process, do it in a way that honors your comfort zone. If you are a writer, journal it (this is my favorite way to wrap up); but, maybe you will use paints, or magazine clippings or photos or crayons and markers…there is no right way to do this.
Step 1: In your own creative way, acknowledge all that you have been through this year: The good, the bad, the celebrations, the crisis, the triumphs that stick out (no matter how small), the accomplishments, the defeats, etc. Our brains tend to register more easily the negative stuff that happens in our lives. We tend to check off the successes and feel-good moments as things that we expect from ourselves, and soon the luster of the accomplishment fades while the pain of loss lingers as a reminder to do it differently next time.
Step 2: What/how did you learn, gain or benefit from these moments? Perhaps a health crisis led you to eat better or exercise more. Maybe a job loss opened the door to a new career or opportunity to go back to school. Perhaps the loss of a loved one caused you to realize you embody the very traits you loved in that person? Capture the lessons gained from all of your accomplishments as well as your defeats.
Step 3: Let it all go. When I do this I imagine that everything from the year that I listed above is heaped onto a dinner plate which I rather unceremoniously scrape into a trash can. (It’s not pretty, but it works for me). You might choose to burn your notes and release the ash to the Universe (please do this in a safe place like a fireplace, metal bucket etc. with good ventilation). Some people I know make this exercise the last pages of a journal and tuck it away. However you let go, the key is to do it with a sense of acknowledging that the year past has brought you many opportunities — some that you may have only just now recognized. Release all of this with a sense of being complete, done, finished; sort of like how you might put a book you have read on a shelf. The book exists, whether you liked it or not; whether you finished it or not. You, hopefully, have no malice towards the book — it didn’t take anything from you. You gained some knowledge, even if you didn’t want it or feel it’s mostly not applicable. Now, it just sits there on the shelf. If you have any feelings of anger, frustration, animosity, deep sadness etc. Go back and do steps one and two again…there’s unfinished business in your mind and body.
For some, these three steps will easily flow from their hearts and minds. For others, this will be a process that is filled with grief or is challenging and may take a day or two to complete. Be kind to yourself. Allow the process to be yours. The power behind this is that you are preparing yourself like you would a vase for fresh flowers. We would never just jam a beautiful new bunch into a vase filled with dirty water and dead flowers – no matter how pretty they once were. OK, well, I would never do that, and hold no judgements for anyone who enjoys doing so.
Oh, and this is important, now you do need to fill that vase — at least partially. An empty vase collects dust and the garbage others throw into it; similarly, a life without intentions is a life filled with other peoples desires for you. Begin putting your heart’s desires into conscious thought. With reckless abandon choose the flowers that will fill your 2014 vase.
Whatever your journey today, may it be filled with love, laughter, conscious intentions and peace. Happy 2014!!