Welcome to this reflective practice. It consists of a series of questions to ask ourselves. The questions are prompts to help gather the essence of the outgoing year and sow seeds for the incoming year.
This can be done at any time around the New Year. It can also be done on a birthday, anniversary, or on any day which has meaning to you.
The practice can be done in the company of others or alone. If you do this with others, you can meet in person or online.
Once you have gathered your reflections, you can choose to share all, some or none of them. Sharing what you write can be enormously powerful, but only when people can listen to you with compassion and respect. Be wise, pay attention to your gut feelings, and look after yourself.
Settle down somewhere comfortable, silence your phone, perhaps light a candle, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Ask yourself the questions which follow and collect your answers in one form or another.
You can write your answers in a notebook, journal, or on sheets of paper. Handmade paper is a lovely option. You can type your answers using a computer. You can speak them and record your words. You can draw your answers or express them in movement. Do whatever calls you.
Your answers can be long or short; a single word or several pages.
You might find yourself pondering each question in turn, or you might focus only on those which catch your attention. Alternatively, entirely different questions might call you. Follow what feels right to you. There is no right or wrong way to do this.
Try to be as honest as possible. This is a gift to yourself.
Open to the unexpected and the surprising. Listen for the whispered answers which arise at the edges of awareness. The quietest murmurs often hold the most precious insights. Before starting, make a point of inviting in the whispers.
(1) What experiences do I need to gather from the outgoing year?
(2) What aspects of myself do I need to nurture and grow in the New Year? What are my intentions for the New Year?
(3) What do I need to leave behind to make room for new growth? What do I need to leave behind for my intentions to become possible?
It can be good to record the essence of what needs to be left behind in two places.
Burning the second piece of paper does not instantly consign the old ways to the ashes. Meaningful change rarely happens that easily; rather, it often takes months or even years.
Nonetheless, rituals, especially those involving primordial elements such as fire, impact not only our conscious minds and bodies but also our unconscious minds and bodies. Thus, ritually burning the paper can be a potent force in sowing the seeds of change.
Some years there is nothing to burn; recognising this is important.
(c) Daniela F. Sieff, 2022
Daniela F. Sieff, PhD.
is a scholar, author and speaker, who explores emotional suffering, healing and well-being.
Learn about Daniela and her work at: https://danielasieff.com/
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