How to Intentionally Welcome the New Year
The New Year. A fresh start. A new beginning.
For me, the marking of the New Year is filled with hope, with potential, and with anticipatory excitement. It is a time of reflection--honoring what has been, what is currently happening, and what is yet to come.
Consciously honoring rites of passages such as the New Year allows us to think about our lives in a way we often don't do. It's easy to get caught in the grind--moving through life on autopilot. We have our routines and schedules--we trudge along week by week by week.
But the New Year is a break in the pattern. It is an ending and a beginning. It is an opportunity to stop, reflect, and start again.
In this article I am going to guide you towards honoring your New Year. Here are some simple thoughts and questions to help you reflect on what happened in 2012, to align you with what you are grateful for in this very moment, and to set you up to move in the direction you want in 2013.
1) Honoring the Past
As we move into a new phase of life it is natural and important to reflect upon what has been. A lot can happen in the span of a year. I'm sure for most of us 2012 was filled with many wonderful experiences, and challenging ones as well.
Take some time to fondly look back upon the beautiful memories you created this passed year. I'm sure if you think about it, there were many. Also take some time to reflect on what didn't go so well. For it is only by acknowledging what was difficult for us that we are able to make different choices for the future.
When thinking about challenging things that happened in our past, one thing to keep in mind is: it's over. Sometimes we forget this. We get stuck, holding onto to fears and pains that affected us in the passed year or before. A lot of us carry the mindset that if we don't continue to think about the bad things that happened, they will continue to happen in the future. Ironically, it is by not letting go of the past that keeps it repeating in the present. After all, we can't move on from the past if we're still obsessing about it today.
Honor your past, cherish the beautiful times, and be willing to let the challenging times go. Allow yourself to move into a new reality. Here are some questions to help guide you through this process:
What was significant for me this passed year?
What was challenging for me this passed year?
What was wonderful this passed year?
How did I make it through the hard times?
What were my best times? How did I grow?
What would I do differently next time?
How can I choose again?
Who do I need to forgive?
Deepak Chopra said, "Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future." Honor your past. Keep the dear memories close. And use the knowledge gained from the challenges to choose differently tomorrow.
2) Gratitude for the Present
I have heard that the only time we truly have is now.
It is definitely easy for us to skip over Now. Just as we get caught up in our routines, we also get caught in both the past and future, skipping right over this very moment. And while the past and future are important and have their places, what is most relevant is what is happening for you right now.
There are many ways that we can bring ourselves back to the now. Meditation is one. It, again, is an opportunity to disconnect from the grind and reconnect to yourself. The reason this is so important is because if we don't actively connect into ourselves, then we feel disconnected from everything else (Ta da! Amazing how that happens!).
This is the simple equation of life--how you feel internally is how you feel about everything around you. Therefore, if you actively take the time to connect into yourself, you immediately start to feel reconnected to everything else too.
Here are some questions that will bring you back to Now:
What feels good about my life, right now?
What am I grateful for, right now?
What does it feel like to be in my body, right now?
What is important to me, right now?
What am I happy about, right now?
Taking just a few minutes a day to close your eyes and pay attention to what is happening inside of you will make a big difference in your sense of well-being. Well-being happens now. We are usually just too busy to notice!
If you don't like sitting quietly, another option is to notice what is happening Now throughout your day. Ask yourself these questions randomly:
What does the sky (trees, buildings, anything!) look like?
What do I see, feel, smell, hear and taste?
There is so much to appreciate around us all the time if we just stop and notice. Now is usually pretty damn good if we let go of what was (past) and what will be (future). Try not to forget that your life is happening right now. You don't want to miss it.
3. Excitement About the Future
Consciously and unconsciously we are always moving towards self-actualization. What this means is that deep within us we are called to become whole. We long to grow. Our Souls long to grow. It's just what we do; it's called evolution.
This movement within us towards becoming greater people cannot be stopped--nor should it be. The New Year is a time to get excited about who you want to continue to become.
Sometimes people associate self-actualization with acquiring things or accomplishments. That is definitely a part of the process. But I believe the most important piece is about getting to know yourself as you already are. How can you be in the world in a way that more authentically you? Because the truth is you don't need to add things onto yourself--who you are now is already amazing. You just have to work on showing-up as that person in your everyday life.
Self-actualization is about embodying you authentic greatness. Ask yourself these questions to align with who you really are:
How can I be more authentically myself in this New Year?
What kind of person do I want to be?
How do I want to show up in the world?
What do I want for myself this year?
What do I want to feel like? What do I look forward to?
What are my dreams?
What do I want to accomplish?
What greatness will I share with the world this year?
Everything that has ever been accomplished first began as an idea or a dream. It is by taking time away from the grind and connecting into ourselves that we set the wheels in motion for creating and building our futures. The New Year is a beautiful time to start.
Allow yourself to feel excited about the potential changes that are on the horizon for you. There are tons of them! You have so much potential inside of you--tap into it so you can make it a reality in this upcoming year.
I wish you all a very Happy New Year. Here's to peace, joy, and kindness in 2013. I hope your year is filled with laughter, happiness, heart, abundance and most of all, lots and lots of Love.