The start of a New Year is, for me, a time of reflection and celebration as well as a time of looking forward. Sometimes, if we’re not careful, the years shade into one and we don’t take the time to simply stop and look back and see just what we have to be grateful for.
One of the things I do during the year is to keep a glass jar filled with all the great things that happen… not just the big things like special events, holidays, achieving goals… but the little things too. Some of the compliments I’ve been paid, the moments when I pushed myself to achieve something, the days when something has gone right. I can’t remember which of my friends suggested it – but thank you. Here’s mine – an old Kilner jar – empty at the moment (hey, it’s a new year, give me a chance…).
Every year at the end of the year I take each of the notes out of the jar and read them with gratitude, remembering some of the great things that have happened. Even in a tough year, there are still some great things happening to each one of us – moments that bring us joy and elation.
And then I gather them together and hold a burning bowl ceremony – this year as I was considering this and reading through I suddenly noticed the most awesome sunset over the houses – so I jumped on the bike til I had a good view of the sunset and set fire to each one in a bowl. It just helps me to recognise what’s been great about that year, to be thankful for it, and then to release it – to let it go and clear the slate for the next year. And the beginning of the year seems to be a good time for it. You might find a better time that works for you – other cultures celebrate New Year on different days.
The burning bowl allows me to let go of the sadness of the year that’s gone, too. Dreams that didn’t happen, things that went wrong. Perhaps for you it was a love affair that didn’t work out – or didn’t happen at all. Perhaps you’re still struggling financially. Maybe the new job you wanted didn’t happen, or the new home didn’t materialise. Maybe you’ve been struggling with ill-health, or have had family problems. Maybe the goals you’ve had didn’t happen – for whatever reason.
While those things may remain, this is a chance to breathe – a chance to know that that was then – and this, today, is a new day. Today, things can be different. Today, we can open our eyes, look to the skies and believe that we can start again.
For me, the exciting thing is to start to look at the year ahead. I’ve got a journal that allows me to do just that – to write down what I want to achieve next year. And for me it’s a hugely important time, because the choices I make are going to motivate me through next year. I’ve chosen to take huge chunks out of my week to do this – not just to grab for the easiest and most obvious goals, but to really choose to listen to my heart and find what will truly motivate me – that will allow me to step into all I can be.
So, for you….What’s going to drive you and motivate you next year? What do you value? What’s important to you? You can choose the characteristics that will form the year – abundance, adventure, peace, freedom, love, family, growing, change – whatever words you choose – and you can also (and perhaps most importantly) choose how you want to show up next year. What sort of person do you want to be? What gifts do you want to share with the world? How do you step into the true magnificence of being you? How are you going to unleash that on a world that, truly, is ready for what you have to offer.
And only then do I turn to goals for the year – goals that will help me express who I want to be. I’ve got some huge goals for 2014…and I have some simple ones too. But each one of them excites me and thrills me. They are not goals I feel that I ‘should’ do to conform to some stereotype…. but goals that move me, things that I want to do with all my being.
So, for you – how do you want 2014 to be? Let’s choose to throw out the new year’s resolutions and decide that this year – THIS year – is going to be the year when we really show up for life – where we decide that we’re going to fill the year full of adventure, full of experience, and above all – full of joy, and happiness, and peace, and love.
Because, for me, the only real question to be answered is
“What would love do now?”