photo by kaykayblaisdell via Pinterest
Endings and Beginnings
I love the newsletters and blog posts my colleagues and tribeleaders put out this time of year: so many reflections and suggestions on ending one year and beginning another. So many creative and thoughtful ways to process where we’ve been and where we’re headed. And loads of ideas about how to let go of what doesn’t serve us as we consciously create what we want to experience in the year ahead.
For me, the reflection and planning process changes from year to year. Some years I follow someone else’s ideas to the letter. Others I take bits and pieces from several thinker-leaders, doing the parts that make me most uncomfortable (yup) as well as the yummy/juicy exercises that have my fingers itching for my pen even as I read the writing prompts.
My process definitely involves writing. This stuff I want to record and come back to later in the year, when I’m losing steam or focus. I love the creation of a document that guides me and that marks in ink where I started and what most called out to me in January. In years past I have gifted myself new Moleskines solely for this exercise; this year I’m using an old journal that somehow survived two house moves and is mysteriously blank.
I always turn off the computer to do my year-end processing. There’s something about a crisp new page in my journal and a favorite pen that makes this writing extra special. And the sacred act of writing from my heart seems to demand sprawling in bed or bundled up on my back porch. It doesn’t want to be tapped out on a keyboard.
Because I tend to be so cerebral, it’s important for me to have an additional element: I involve my non-thinking side. I invite creativity to the process, either through artwork (might even be doodling a page in my journal) or movement. Or both. Music helps me dance with my thoughts as they arise, and sit with as-yet-unformed inklings. I also extend the questions out beyond the time I’m actually sitting down with them; it’s amazing what turns up spontaneously in dance class or while I’m walking the dog.
And this process is spiritual too. I bring questions into my meditation practice, allowing them to swirl around me. I tune in more deeply to what is calling me forth right now. I invite myself to surrender again and again. All this informs what I’m leaving behind and taking ahead into the next year.
Drawing Inspiration from Others
So now you know a little about how I celebrate the passing of the year. I thought it might be helpful to share with you some of the folks I follow, and some of the tools they offer to help others with their own processes.
Susan Piver is a meditation teacher and writer who, along with Patti Digh and 5 other amazing teachers, has created The Week of Inward Looking, a series of questions to guide the process of reflecting on 2011 and creating 2012. They are on Day 2 today, but you’ll find the whole shebang on this Facebook page.
Many teachers encourage us to choose a word or a theme for the year; this is a super powerful way to retain focus and to come back to what’s calling you most profoundly. If you haven’t tried it before, consider doing so this year. Here are some thoughts and guidelines from Liz Lamoreux at RootsofShe.com and Sandra Pawula of alwayswellwithin.com.
For those who love spreadsheets and holding themselves accountable, Chris Guillebeau has a thorough year-end review that starts off asking the big questions, then drills down on the details.
Tara Mohr is suggesting an alternative to the one-word approach this year: she suggests identifying your Core Nutrients and seeing how well you’re doing on fulfilling them. Cool!
And here are some downloadable Guides to see you through the process. Get ready for thoughtful questions, creative exercises and action plans:
Molly Mahar, creator of Stratejoy.com just put this out, and it looks amazing: Create Your Magical Year.
Andrea Scher of Mondobeyondo.com offered this quick and easy worksheet.
Goddess Leonie, a delightful Aussie who creates amazing and whimsical products, regularly offers this beloved planner and guide.
Go forth: reflect, acknowledge, release, and invite. And enjoy the process!
What’s inspiring you this year?
If you have a process for unfurling into the new year, I’d love for you to share it below.
Happy New Year,
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