There are so many ups and downs to the holiday season and so many opportunities for you to tune out what’s really important to you. Whether it is to maintain or lose weight and/or avoid credit card debt, or something else, these goals don’t need to be cast aside just because it’s the holiday season. Being conscious at this time of the year will help you avoid mayhem, depression and exhaustion.
Nothing gets you down more than your own failures, and I’ll bet you’ve had some throughout the year. Maybe they’re even blocking you mentally and spiritually from proceeding forward in these final days of 2012 or getting re-started. There’s a saying about falling off a horse and it certainly applies here; it’s time to get back on. But what’s the best way to face your true assessment of how you’ve been doing and get yourself clear to create for the future from a powerful place?
My answer: every year, I do a specific “wrap up” ritual of my past year. I want to share this process with you because it has been so potent in my life. It’s so important to mark time in a meaningful way, that’s why all the cultures do it with seasonal rituals. I’m hoping that you use mine or create your own so that you can enjoy the spiritual and communal benefits. This practice is about mental and spiritual mastery, or controlling your thoughts in order to be effective and confident. Whatever is blocking you or weighing on you now is the same that will impede your path in the new year. So please, take some time to do this writing exercise.
Here are five steps to make sure you end your year in a sacred and conscious manner, even if you didn’t live every day of your year that way (hey, you’re only human).
1) List all of your accomplishments.
This is pretty obvious as to why you would do this: to feel pride in yourself for all that you did in your year. Every time I start with this first step, I am blown away by the things I get to remember. Please, treat yourself to remembering all the great stuff you accomplished. If you didn’t take time to feel proud throughout the year, do it now. You deserve to relish each thing on this list and the totality of it! I promise, even if you think you already know what you’ve accomplished, you won’t really be present to it until you try to write a long list.
2) Ditto failures.
This one might hurt a little, but it’s part of the process. Think of it not as a list of reasons why you are to blame, but an accounting of the stuff you wanted to see happen, but for whatever reasons, didn’t.
3) Write what you want to acknowledge about it all.
Who deserves credit for supporting your successes? Whom are you still blaming for failures? Where are you still being a chicken/brat? There are going to be conversations in here you have to have, with others and with yourself. There will be opportunities to realize that circumstances were beyond your control for certain goals. You did the best you could at the time you made these goals, and when you didn’t, you get to see that, too. Own your failures specifically, including what you wish you would have done differently, so nothing goes down as a “general comment” on your worth. Forgive yourself for the choices you made that were not optimal. Plan new promises to head off similar mistakes in the future.
4) Do a ritual to burn it all symbolically.
This might sound a little like voodoo, but I swear it is powerful. Create something that symbolizes your failures: you could write them on slips of paper, make a collage, or just use your list. Then, burn it. (Of course, please choose a safe place to burn your items.) A staffer of mine who had been dissatisfied for months with her real estate agent burned a copy of her contract. A little over a month later, the house sold and she was finally done with her agent! The advantage of the burning ritual: she felt immediately better. If you’d like to say a few ceremonial words during your ritual, feel free. Extra credit if you do this with other people. I do it with my friends at a bonfire on New Year’s Eve.
5) Create your new year in a collage or vision board.
This is my favorite part and it’s all the rage now. What you want in the new year should be compiled in visual form in your collage. You can use images from the internet, pages from magazines; some people do this entirely on their computers, though I like the experience of actually cutting out words and images. Probably you still want to accomplish most of the things on your failures list. Put them into your collage, MINUS any emotional clutter or bad vibes you’ve got about not having succeeded yet. Extra credit if you do this arts and crafts project with other people; you’ll inspire them and they will inspire you.
These ideas may seem simple or hokey, but they work. Ask anyone who has tried them. Please don’t vote until you have done them. Honor yourself by acknowledging what you did and didn’t do clearly and boldly. Personal accountability always feels good. You’ll be amazed by how letting go of the past, in a way which releases it symbolically, will radiate mentally and spiritually for you. Please share your lists and collages on the blog. We love to see them!