“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” ~Epictetus
On this Winter Solstice, and in these last few days of 2011, I am reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to the next. So much has happened, and I feel on the cusp of so much more. I want to honor what I have accomplished, forgive myself, let go of what no longer serves me, and set my intentions for what I want to manifest in the new year.
I don’t typically make New Year’s Resolutions, at least not the kind that work out–for so many years I said this is the year that I’ll get in really good shape, lose weight and eat healthier, or take better care of myself, or get published, and so many times I let myself down–so it seemed better to not commit to anything.
I know better now. I was asking things of myself that denied essential truths, ignored reality, glossed over the things that really needed my attention, and were wished out of a fundamental self-hate and lack of acceptance that needed to be dealt with.
Then last year, I made a wish that I would be a better friend to myself. And slowly, things have shifted. I am in the midst of a life-rehab, and I feel the desire to mindfully and lovingly take stock of the last year, really see where I am, and contemplate what I might do in the next year.
I have already selected my guiding word for next year (retreat), and am considering which of the many strategies available I’ll use to review and plan. Here are some of the ones I am looking at:
- Patti Digh, of 37 Days, shared on her blog that at the end of every year, she asks herself two questions: “What do I want/need to let go of as I end this year?” and “What do I want to create in the new year?”
- Cynthia Morris, of Original Impulse Inc., shared her End of Year Review Worksheet. This is a simple worksheet you can print out that she’s entitled “2011 in Review: Celebrate and Let Go.”
- In an article on The Daily Love, licensed psychotherapist & transformational expert Terri Cole calls her plan “Crap You’re Leaving Behind In 2011 (And What To Take Into 2012).”
- The visionary Andrea Scher, of Superhero Journal, Mondo Beyondo, and Superhero Photo fame, shares a link to her “Mondo Beyondo Completion Worksheet” in a post where she also offers a discount for the next session of Mondo Beyondo, (which I highly and wholeheartedly recommend–the class was like an invitation to wake up and live).
- Susannah Conway, a brilliant photographer and design visionary, posted her “Unravelling the Year Ahead” workbook for 2012.
- This next one isn’t so much an end of the year practice, but for me, it fits nicely with this kind of thinking and reflecting and generating and wishing. It’s “95 Questions to Help You Find Meaning and Happiness” from Marc and Angel Life Hack.
- Another set of reflective questions comes from Reverb 2011, intended to be done one question per day, every day in December, but useful no matter when or how you might get to them. You can find a set here and also here.
- Chris Guillebeau, who wrote “The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World” and organizes the World Domination Summit (which I get to attend this year), has an extensive and involved, longer process that he shares in “How to Conduct Your Own Annual Review.” His personal process is so intense, he takes a week off to complete it.
- Forgot this with the initial post, but want to be sure and include it: “Core Nutrients and Dreaming Up 2012,” from Tara Sophia Mohr.
- My most favorite of all, a post that I am utterly in love with, written by the amazing Jennifer Louden: “2012 Predictions for You.” If you read or do nothing else on this list, go read this.
As I was thinking about putting this post together, the Universe sent me a few more things to share.
- Susan Piver, gentle and brave meditation instructor, originator of the Open Heart Project, shared two posts this week, “New Year’s Resolutions: Part 1” and “Part 2” in which she suggests a slight alteration to the tradition. These were very helpful to me in framing how I would approach the practice, “two suggestions for making new year’s resolutions in such a way that they become a part of your spiritual practice rather than an exercise in wishful thinking and self-aggression.”
- Courtney Carver, of Be More with Less, wrote “You Can Stop Now” in which she reminds us to “slow down and enjoy the last few days of 2011.”
- And this: I had seen the video already, made a mental list of the women who’d be in my dream circle, and one of the dear ones on that list emailed me today, saying “Wish we could do this together, maybe next year” and I thought “why not this year?” So, while we can’t be together in the same physical space, as I make my bundle and burn it, our hearts will be together in that moment, adding power to the “Mother of All Releasings Ceremony.” If you’d like to do your own, here’s the directions. I had to make some modifications, use Star of Anise as my offering, and fabric left from when I made a square for the quilt we made for Kelly. It has the image of a crane on it, head down and solemn, instead of being plain black as suggested in the instructions. The Star of Anise is kept whole for luck, and these two have been on my meditation shrine for the past three years. Star of Anise is burnt to increase psychic awareness and power, so it seems like an appropriate substitution.
No matter what you decide to do to honor this transition, even if you choose to ignore it, I wish for you as Susan Piver did for all of us at the end of her New Year’s Resolution: Part 2 post: