Before we dive into the holidays in earnest, clear some ground and start dreaming up some new dreams with this simple new year ritual.
I turn 44 next week, which means that this is my own personal new year. I look back at the past twelve months, take stock, and ponder what next year’s theme and goals and projects might be.
(This past year my theme was Trust The Unfolding, and it was eerily useful. Even though I did want to smack myself when the Unfolding was even more mysterious and challenging than I could have possibly predicted.)
I know most people wait to do this sort of yearly review at the end of December, but I find that by the time the holidays are over, I am basically a deep-fried mushball of oversaturated twitchy nerve endings.
So I like to take advantage of the rich autumnal energy of November, while my mind and heart are only medium-fried, to look back and reflect and map out a rough idea of where I want to head next year. It doesn’t need to be complicated; this simple new year ritual can really help me get clarity on the past year.
And oh, what a year it has been!!!
It’s easy to say “IT WAS A DUMPSTER FIRE” or “THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE.” And you aren’t wrong.
But also? It was a year of strange gifts.
For me, this was the year that I bought my very first house, published the memoir I’ve been working on for a decade, and moved away from the prairies that were sucking my soul onto a green growing island. (Where I live now? It looks a little bit like that dream board you see in the background of that photo up at the top. Because magic.) But that doesn’t mean that Unfolding was easy or without challenges.
In fact, it was such an intense year that I felt like we needed some grounded magic to help us process it all. So I led a Releasing Ritual for my beloved Patreon community, and it was so useful and cathartic that I want to share some of the prompts we used.
A simple new year ritual you can do right in your journal
Grab your journal, and start scribbling.
- What were your hopes and dreams for the past year?
- What actually happened?
- What were the gifts of this year?
- What are you holding that isn’t yours?
- What are you holding that IS yours?
Take a look at everything you wrote down, and decide what you want to keep and what you want to let go of.
If you want to get all mystical and witchy like we did and BURN that shizzle, go for it. If you just want to pluck out the gems from that list– the things you want to keep and hold on to and carry forward with you– try writing them on their own piece of paper, whispering them into a piece of jewelry, or making a collage (like the one in my photo).
I’ll share more from my own year-end ponderings after my birthday retreat, next week.
But first I want to give you one more simple practice that might blow your mind, especially as it relates to this past year.
Right now, real quick, I want you to give yourself a witness.
Count, on your fingers, five things you DID this past year that you’re proud of. Breathe them in.
And then count, on your other hand, five hard things that you have come through… just in this past year.
Don’t you feel astounded? That you made it through? That you DID it???
You’re kind of a badass, my friend.
Breathe a little breath of gratitude to yourself.
Breathe a big whooshing breath of forgiveness to yourself.
Then maybe laugh or cry or snort a little at the sheer ridiculousness of this year, and who you’ve become.
You’re someone entirely different than you were a year ago.
It’s worth getting to know this new self. Greeting her like a shy, eager stranger.
Ask her what she wants. Ask her what dreams she has for you. Ask her to open her palm and show you the seeds she’s brought you.
Then take your journal, turn to a fresh page, and use this simple new year ritual to start dreaming up what comes next.