We have our tree up and decorated. The bare maple has giant light balls hanging from its branches; the lighted palm tree is perched just so the neighbor kids can wave to it coming home. We have scores of family coming from Australia, Colorado, California and Arizona. The holidays are just about to hit a home run of crazy-ass cheer.
And with all the parties and gatherings and short dark cozy days, festive sweaters and dresses and drinks and food and settling into That Time of Year, there are two things I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE about December:
1. The Year End Wrap Up Reflection
2. The Year-to-Come Imagining
While everyone's running around shouting "Where did the year go?" and "I'm so busy SHRIEK" I like to sneak away for a yearly ritual of reflection and getting prepped. Here's how it goes down, I invite you to join in, with your own personalized touch.
THE REFLECTION PROCESS
I love this process, and have loved it even when I've had those ass-whipping years that sat heavily on my heart. But ALWAYS, no matter what, there is at least ONE THING that either went well, surprised me or set me up to do something new and different in the new year. Also, the year-end reflection is important in order to be YOU. By looking at what happened each month it's like you show up for yourself, own your experiences and claim yourself in the world. It's like sitting down with yourself to renew your contract: Who's your best friend and ace support system, standing by you through thick and thin? YOU/ME. Isn't that cool? There's something powerful about owning everything that tumbles out in your wrap-up reflection.
Going through the year is also like an easter egg hunt, because of the excavation and mining going on. What happened in February again? Scratch-scratch--Oh yeah! And even if there was some seriously hard shit, you will find gold, even if it's in how you turned up for that hard shit and endured, or even better, came out stronger or with the belief that you can endure. Trust me--you're going to find a bunch of golden eggs, all sizes.
Here's how I do the Year in Review Reflection process:
Get a notebook, paper or a Word Doc. Write "January 2017" at the top in big letters. Then start remembering what happened and write a list. It's like a giant year's end "To-Done" list. But it includes activities, events and experiences (one year included a conversation I had with my dad). Start from memory, and then refer to your calendar. Keep doing this for each month, all the way to now. If it's not a banner year, don't get caught up in maudlin thoughts. Remember: you get to choose your thoughts, and watch them come and go, so choose good ones; then give yourself a high five because next we come to:
THE YEAR AHEAD
For starters, I don't do much more than settle into the gooey yummy visual about a fresh year, with absolutely no foot prints in the sand; all that blue sky, white space. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. (I have to admit there was one year this uncharteredness freaked me out--I was very sensitive, newly sober--and I called a friend in tears but it was still REALLY COOL to be that raw).
Yes, anything can happen any time of the year. The year can start on March 23. But for me, new year is always Jan 1, the end (haha). The days are getting longer and it feels like a voyage upward toward summer into new possibilities, the stories of our lives unfolding, unfurling with vigor. It's like we start growing upwards on Jan 1.
I don't make resolutions. Resolutions, like promises, are meant to be broken. But that's just my view. Go with what inspires you.
Instead of resolutions I think about mantras and feelings and then some creations or accomplishments I'd like to point to at the year's end. I spend a lot of time thinking about crossing the line from this year into next. What is the wish I hold for myself, my family, my friends, the world humanity etc? Lofty stuff but it inspires and motivates me. One year my mantra was "Keep it simple," and that guided me through the whole year. Good for an overthinker. Another year it was "Just say Yes," so I could open myself up to new experiences because I was closed up and stuck after a year of heartbreak. One year, it was "What will you do with your one wild and crazy life?" and even though I forgot about it, that was the year I left my job to return to my passions of coaching and writing.
One year a neighbor friend and I laced up our running shoes at 11:30 pm on Dec 31 so we could be outside doing something we loved while the new year flipped over.
Another year a friend and I wrote a bunch of random words on pieces of paper and stuck them in a drawer. One of my words was "pilgrim." That September, I ended up walking part of the Pilgrim's Trail in Spain--a destination that wasn't on my radar when I wrote that word down.
If you want to have the best year ever, review and then inspire yourself for the possible and unknowable. Take a stand. Go through last year lovingly, month by month and remember what you gave yourself, how you thrived, what you opened yourself up to--all of it. Then consider the big beautiful anything-can-happen year to come. It's yours, that year.
Tell 2018: I'm coming for you, Year, you're all mine.
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