I will admit it’s been more of a challenge to say Happy New Year with as much gusto as I usually have. 2016 was a challenging year personally, nationally, and globally.
However, when I sat down to do my annual, end of year ritual and reflected on the past year I realized how many opportunities for growth I was given. For every seeming setback or curveball there was something more aligned on the other side. Last night, while the kids slept in their beds, and before the rebel rousing began outside, I sat in the quiet with pen and paper and kissed the year goodbye.
I want to share with you this process I look forward to each year in this in between space, as one year gives way to another.
1. Looking over the past year from the perspective of the last days of December I can see a more complete picture. The lens can become more compassionate, more friendly really. I focus on gratitude, lessons learned, highlights, low lights, relationships, work, creations, loss, what I feel done with, what I want to bring with me, themes and celebrations. It’s amazing how much insight is gained from this process of writing out your year.
There are many wonderful workbooks out there to help guide you through this process, but here are two of my favorites (and they’re both free!):
2. I revisit my word of the year. Choosing a word every year to guide me, support me, and inspire me is a powerful experience. Last year I knew my word would be COMMITMENT. With my divorce finalized on January 5th I wanted to explore this new commitment to myself. I had planted many seeds the year before and I wanted to stay committed to growing them, even when doubt, fear, and overwhelm would creep in (which they did-quite often!). And, commitment surprised me many times, testing me, throwing boulders in my way, sometimes seeming to reward me and sometimes not. Without this word by my side, I would’ve surely lost my way through the forest of 2016.
My word for 2017 came to me in early December: TRUST. I believe it came to me early because I needed it before the end was here. Trusting myself, trusting others, trusting the divine order of things has given me strength, peace, and presence to wrap up the past year with grace.
I always have an ounce of trepidation when I declare my word of the year. For all the support it gives me it also grows me in surprising ways. Be prepared if you choose to adopt this ritual—you will not be the same at the end of the year. (*smile*)
3. Another favorite practice I have at the turn of the year is to do a whole year Tarot/Oracle spread. I use a favorite Tarot deck (this year it was the Lumina deck by InnerHue) and The Return of The Spirit oracle deck. I find a quiet moment, light a candle, shuffle the cards, and draw 1 card for each month + 1 theme card for the year. The Tarot card is the main card and the Oracle card is supplementary, giving me greater insight or loving support that month.
I spend time journaling about the theme card but I don’t interpret the rest of the cards right away. I write them down and take a picture of the spread (because it’s beautiful, non?)
A day or two before each month begins I reflect on the previous month’s cards and take out the cards ahead. I journal and read about them and write a few things down in my planner for that month. I look back throughout the month if I start to lose my way and reconnect to these intuitive guides. I find this practice supportive and fascinating.
Spending any amount of time reflecting and writing out your previous year helps to release and forgive the challenges and hardships as well as honor and celebrate the growth and victories. It also clears the way for your dreams, desires, wishes and goals to come through for the year ahead.
Nothing is wasted! Even the so-called failures. It all becomes food or compost to enrich the New Year’s soil.
Let me know if you give any of these ideas a try, have questions, or a special ritual of your own that you would like to share.