A Reflective Practice for the New Year

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Image credit: Raimonda Kairys


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.

The Practice

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?

  • What has been joyful?
  • What has been meaningful to me?
  • What have I found challenging or difficult?
  • What have I learned?
  • What has been my growing edge?
  • What word or phrase captures the essence of 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?                         

  • How can I support that which is meaningful to me?
  • How can I continue to grow? How can I foster my own growth?
  • How can I contribute in ways which are authentic to me?
  • Can I sense any new energy that is ready to emerge in me? How might I support it?
  • What word or phrase captures the essence of what calls to be nurtured in me?
  • What word or phrase captures the essence of 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?

  • What must I give up to nurture that which is meaningful to me?
  • What do I need to change to allow new energy to emerge?
  • What must I surrender to create space for continuing growth?
  • What attitudes and behaviours no longer serve me?
  • What word or phrase captures the essence of what needs to be left behind? 

It can be good to record the essence of what needs to be left behind in two places.

  1. Alongside the other answers, which can be kept safe so you can refer back to them.    
  2. On its own piece of paper, which can be ritually burned at the end of the practice.

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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