We are approaching the end of 2016. It has been a turbulent year.
How do you look back on 2016? What are the things you would like to leave behind? What would you like to take with you in the year to come?
These questions came to my mind when I was browsing through the pictures I took this year, remembering the things I did in 2016.
One picture in particular resonated with me:
I took this picture in a remote mountain village in northern Spain where we spent our summer holidays. It was one of the most precious memories of this year. The kids played in the small and quiet streets, we took walks, enjoying stunning views, and spend time together as a family.
The picture also resonated on another level with me.
The light and the dark shades in the picture reminded me of the bright and darker moments of this year. The road in the middle is the way forward, leading to future, still unknown events. The picture symbolises the transition from old to new.
We are on the threshold of a new year. We are saying goodbye to 2016 and welcoming 2017. Many of us will have some time off to relax and spend time with family and friends.
Why not take the opportunity to add a ritual to your holiday activities to mark the passage to the New Year?
To call to mind the moments that made you happy. To say goodbye to the experiences that made you angry, upset, sad and ashamed. To look forward to the dreams you would like to become true in 2017.
Celebrate the bright moments, let go of the dark events and set our first steps on the road to come.
You may want to do this for yourself, whilst snuggling on the sofa, or when taking a crisp walk. You could also do this with others, for example at Christmas dinner, Chanukah gatherings, Yule parties, or on New Year’s Eve.
Here’s the idea.
1. Let go
Write down everything you want to leave behind in 2016. Label the feelings that came with the events and things that upset you. Express them through words, drawings, pictures, movements or any other creative activity.
If you want to add an extra dimension to the ritual you may want to get rid of your negative experiences by burning (using the fireplace or the flame of a ‘let-go’ candle), shredding or burying them.
You could say the following words:
I let go of the past that I cannot undo I let go of the hurts that hold me too tightly I let go of negative thoughts that criticise me I let go of the anger, shame, and regrets that are disturbing me So I can live free
Then, think of the moments that made you feel happy, proud, and strong. Things you are grateful for. These are the memories you want to cherish. Feelings you want to take with you in the year to come. Again, find a creative way of expressing them.
You may want to keep these precious memories in a special box, or collect them in a sketchbook. Or create a video clip so you can remember them whenever you wish.
You could say the following words:
I embrace my blessings Everything that makes me strong, happy and proud They are the drops of water that nourish me The sparkles that brighten my life My gifts to the world
3. Look forward and act
Dream of what you would like to happen in the New Year. What do you hope the path and the destination ahead look like? What are you looking forward to?
Think big. Think the impossible.
And take a first step: what will you do to make this dream happen?
Make the dream a reality by envisioning it. Share your dream so others can take part in it and help you make it come true. Find or draw a picture of your dream and put it somewhere so you are reminded of it on a daily basis.
The following poem by John O’Donohue might support and encourage you on this journey:
In out of the way places of the heart
Where your thoughts never think to wander
This beginning has been quietly forming
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire
Feeling the emptiness grow inside you
Noticing how you willed yourself on
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the grey promises that sameness whispered
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
Wishing you laughs, warmth and light for the holiday season. May the New Year be filled with many moments of beauty, love and joy.