The last two weeks of the year are the best time for reflection. We are close to leaving the past year behind while soon approaching a new year. With time for reflection, we can make a conscious choice about what we want to leave behind and what we want to carry forward.
The ending of the year is a powerful time for ritual, to bring to completion that which we no longer need. It is a powerful time to acknowledge the work we have done during the year: all that we have let go of and cleared, and all that we have gained.
As the year comes to an end, I perform a fire ceremony for this purpose. I write down on small pieces of paper old beliefs and thought patterns, or any themes in my life that I want to let go of. I place the papers in my fire bowl and burn them one by one, expressing out loud my understanding of these patterns, what I learned, and why I no longer need to carry them forward. I express gratitude for how these patterns served me in the past. I free them with the realization that they are no longer needed in my life.
The purpose of this ceremony is not only to completely let go of old beliefs and thought patterns we have shifted, but also to remind our brain and body that we want to move forward with new thoughts and the ability to take action in a new way.
Performing a ritual is a powerful way to summarize what lessons we have learned, what wisdom we have gained, and to feel gratitude for these teachings. It is a time to honor ourselves and the work we have done. It is a time to reflect upon how we will carry the wisdom we have gained into the future.
After I have released all that is old and no longer needed, the second part of the ceremony focuses on what new thoughts, choices and actions I will carry forward into the New Year. I start a journal for the year and write in its first pages a summary of my new way of being. I write it out like a movie of the new life I am living:
How will I look?
How will I feel?
What will I be thinking?
What will I focus my attention on?
How will I spend my time each day?
As I move forward into the New Year, this movie will become a part of my daily meditation. It will be the way I reinforce the new way of being in my mind and body memory.
We can use meditation time, writing in a journal or a ritual to provide the space we need in our daily lives to reflect upon what is most important to us. In this valuable space we can determine what our deepest intentions are for our lives. We can determine what we need to support our deepest intentions.
Photograph by Diana Parkhouse