Theresa Byrne nails the important questions to ask yourself before the new year starts.
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. —Søren Kierkegaard
What’s your year-end ritual? Do you have one? Do you put conscious thought into the changing dates or mark the occasion in any significant way?
When the year is over the sentiment for you may fall somewhere between “Oh thank God that’s over/I can’t believe I survived!!” to “It was a decent year.” to “Best year yet!”
Then comes the question of how you choose to celebrate this changing of the calendar, do you have a tradition or do you just make it up as you go along?
For some it involves a party hat and a weird horn you blow at midnight (what are those things?!?). For others it’s a big blowout extravaganza with a multitude of people you don’t know, some that you do, and a whole lot of champagne. And looking for that midnight kiss. Sometimes from a random stranger, sometimes from a loved one. Some celebrate at home with the giant ball drop and a Rockin’ New Years Eve (is that still a thing?) with Ryan Seacrest, if that’s still happening.
While others choose to celebrate in smaller groups of tight-knit friends and family to ring in the new year. I tend more toward quieter times. If it’s dinner with friends then home for my own rituals, or a movie, then I’m happy.
In case you’re looking for some ideas, I’ll share my reflection questions with you. Maybe it’ll jar you into an action of your own, or maybe while your blowing that weird horn thing you’ll think “it was a good year.” My ritual has always been a combination of looking over the past year with eyes that observe (rather than judge myself) and looking future-forward at what I want to create. I don’t set resolutions, but I do reflections and intentions.
Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead. —Yvonne Woon, Dead Beautiful
This is important: when you look back at your past make sure you look with a view of observation. Eyes filled with self-observation rather than self-judgment are quite different and much easier to truly “see” with. When we judge ourselves we miss the whole picture. We miss the positive ripple effects we’ve had because we might not have truly “seen” them.
I think of the character in It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey. When he judged himself for all his shortcomings and misdeeds, he missed his contributions and the positive impact he’d made on others. He couldn’t see these things until he was aided in observing them with Clarence, his Angel. So observe yourself, it’ll do you good.
The reflection questions:
What’s the theme or lesson of the past year been? Example themes for me have been healing, clarity, grieving/loss, acceptance, grace, trust, balance, fun/work, self-care, light-heartedness, rest, and vulnerability.
What am I grateful for over the past year?
What am I most proud of myself for having done? Where did I show courage?
What have I learned that I’m carrying forward with me? (This can be what worked or what didn’t work).
What lessons did I incorporate/integrate into myself?
Then I look toward the new year and with a hopeful spirit I ask my higher self:
What do I want to bring with me from the past year into the next year?
What qualities or things do I want to add more of in the upcoming year? For me it’s things like peace, joy, laughter, play, wins, feelings of success, celebrations, more speeches, articles that touch people’s hearts, to teach more teens, impact more people in teaching higher self-defense, and learn online marketing.
What’s one intention or feeling I can picture having manifested? And I create a picture in my mind in full living technicolor with words and sounds and looks and emotions. I use this as a backdrop to create the feeling of actually having accomplished or done something and imagine what my loved ones, friends and family will be saying, what I’ll be feeling, what I’ll be hearing, seeing, smelling, etc. You get the picture. As vivid as I can create it, because I know our minds don’t distinguish between imagination and reality so I’m using that to my advantage.
And then I create a saying or a word theme for the upcoming year. The year I used “dreams come true in 2015” thinking that dreams and 2015 rhymed together just fine. Apparently my friends thought that was hilarious. My theme for 2015 was “HOPE,” and it was the word that carried me through the darkest of days.
I’m still working on my theme for 2016 … I’d better get back to that. What rhymes with “rebirth”?
Photo courtesy of Unsplash/Pixabay