That time is upon us, where we get to bid farewell to the year that’s been, and welcome in the new year. We want to start afresh, rip the old sheet from the tear pad and stare into a blank horizon. Full of possibilities… What could this year bring? What do I want to do this year? What am I hoping for?
Just pause right there. Before you go rushing off setting your intentions, announcing your resolutions and declaring your desires, I want you to consider something first.
There is still so much magic in 2015 for you to draw from if you’d just sit with it for a little while. Have you celebrated how you showed up this year? Have you acknowledged the person you are right now as a result of what unfolded in the past 12 months? Have you loved yourself for the actions you took, the words you spoke, the kindness you gave, the courage you tapped into, the love you spread?
Have you felt your disappointments? Have you held yourself as you remember that struggle, the pain from a relationship breakdown, the devastation from witnessing your efforts around something come to nothing? Have you sat with the shame of spending money that brought very little return?
Have you felt the sadness from realising that things haven’t really changed in a year?
For the past few days, I have been spending my time in reflection. As the boys played, I went through my 2015 planner and recalled people, activities, trips, commitments, work events. As I rolled pastry, I felt into bits that were calling the loudest. As I recalled the things, I recalled the ‘me’ I was at those times. I remembered the emotions.
This was so potent because without remembering the nitty gritty, I would have forgotten what I experienced, what I achieved, and who I became.
Yes, you too will have become someone that you weren’t at the beginning of the year. Truthfully though, you’re just becoming more of who you are. So grab some time and sit down and reflect on all the wins, however little. Choose to celebrate and write them down, because when you don’t pause in this way, when you don’t elevate those wins in your mind’s eye, we end up just unconsciously meandering into the next year, focusing on what didn’t work out.
Yes, some stuff didn’t work out. Some areas of your life may have been a giant disappointment. Some may have left you full of emotion you’d rather not feel.
But THIS here is the main reason I am writing this. Unless you dig deeper and find what stories you have going on around your disappointments, you will likely have another year full of the same.
I used to do this. I used to go about my year, doing the same old thing, come to the end and then hope for something different the following year. Some years I didn’t even bother setting New Year’s resolutions – ‘what’s the point?’ was my thought process.
And then bit by bit, step by step, I have dug deeper into the person I am. I have given myself the gift of time, attention and love. I give myself the gift of ritual.
This ritual of reflection has been quite eye-opening for me this year. I sat with all my disappointments – there were quite a few – and I journalled away. Truth is, these disappointments alone were putting a real dampener on the whole year. I had been looking at them purely from a superficial level. Then I asked myself what story I was telling myself about that particular situation, or that I was telling about myself.
Do you know what the main story was, the common thread, behind most of these ‘failures’?
I didn’t do enough. I don’t do enough.
I am not enough.
Like I say, eye-opening!
I KNOW that if I don’t kick this story out the window before the new year comes in, I’m just going to keep on creating a reality where I am not satisfied.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
There is NO point setting intentions if I’ve got a script constantly running around ‘not good enough’. This kind of judgement is a breeding ground for more pain and more suffering.
So I reframed every single one. My candles were lit, I wrote out what certain voices inside were saying about those particular matters, and then I chose to see the situation from a higher plane.
Was I doing the best I could?
Yes I really was.
Did I do enough? Was it enough?
Yes I did. Plenty.
Am I enough exactly as I am?
Yes I am. Plenty.
I’m not taking that into 2016 with me. Because I know without that story, I can be so much more. I am freer and happier and kinder and calmer and more blissfully me without it.
Go ahead and make plans for 2016. Choose your word for the year, list your intentions, map your deepest desires, but before you do, look back.
Look back at the person you were then and give thanks for who you are today. Peel back those regrets and ask yourself what lies underneath. Spend time in ritual and let go of those stories. Tell yourself you are done living your life from that place. Affirm, out loud, in a dance, over the fire, that there is no space for that kind of thinking. Feel good about releasing what you need to release.
And when you’ve done that, decide on what you’ve learnt from the past year. What did you learn? What are the best bits that you want to take with you into the new year?
And that’s the bit I’m up to. So I’m off to light my candles again, maybe a little white sage, and I’m going to write all the ways in which I’m a wiser, more powerful being than I was at the start of the year. Because I really am.
I would love for you too to bring your wisdom from 2015 front of mind so that you can consciously and purposefully embody it as you keep walking your path into 2016.