So only a few hours left of 2014. As we prepare to take on the New Year, we are called to tie loose ends, let go of old baggage we no longer wish to carry along with us and make space for the new experiences that are to come. It’s always nice to take time and properly mark the end of a year, before beginning a new one. Below, I’m sharing a few ways you can prepare practically and energetically for the New Year and my favourite, a letting go meditation ritual.
7 ways to prepare for the New Year
// Make a list of your wins + things you celebrated (or should have) in 2014
Celebrating our successes, whether colossal or tiny, is essential for our wellbeing and psychological health. It however, is often overlooked or deemed silly, out of fear that our wins is not big enough to warrant a hip, hip, hurray! Well, let me tell you now, you are wrong, and in fact honouring these small landmarks and achievements are also good indicators of healthy relationships!
So, sit down with a journal and start writing everything down. Start from, you know, the big ones, the things everyone would consider big enough to celebrate: e.g. getting promoted, changing jobs, buying a house, starting a family, paying off your debt, curing cancer, and so on. Then let those ‘smaller’ achievements in, the ones that tend not to be celebrated with any big announcements, like managing to not kill your parents, keeping up with your overseas friends, keeping your exercise goals, learning to cook cinnamon buns (yum), etc. And then once you’ve warmed yourself up, in go the things that really matter: being a parent/daughter/son/sibling/grandchild, being there for others, starting to listen to your intuition, went on a date after a loooong time, let go of an old story, sold your first handmade thing, decided to start your own business or make a change you’ve been avoiding, started writing your book, learned how to kick up to a handstand. Whatever it is, if it makes you smile (even a tiny bit), put it on the list. Then read through it, give yourself a pat on the back and channel a sense of gratitude for every single item on there. Well done.
If you are curious, this is what mine looks like.
// De-clutter (i.e. clear the hell out of your drawers, cupboards, baskets, shelves and minds)
There is no better way to feel instantly clearer, refreshed, calmer and more focused than doing a major clear out of those corners in the house that tend to collect cobwebs. I’ve been reading High: A Party Girl’s Guide to Peace by Tara Bliss, and Tara calls this exercise clearing the decks. She says:
Everything is energy; a flow of flux and change that is constantly in motion, unfolding, expanding, traveling with ease. And yet sometimes, it can’t. Energy can become blocked and stagnant, slow-moving and stale… If your environment encourages energy to stay still – to accumulate in corners – the weight of the room (or your car or your fridge) will be heavy and burdensome, preventing ease and fluidity… The space we reside in often mirrors, or is an accurate representation of the space within us.
I’ve been on a de-cluttering frenzy over the past few days: I started with the bedroom and cleared out old clothes, sheets, towels, shoes, underwear. I then went on to the bathroom and disposed of all those half empty bottles of shampoos, toners, face oils, hair styling products, which had more dust than liquid. I actually recognised a tiny bottle of hair serum that my man had brought me from London when he came to visit me in Greece 6 years ago. Can you believe it? Create 3 piles: charity, bin, and Red Cross. My rule was if it has not been used or seen the light of day for at least a year, it goes. Is it expired? Out. When you clear out your space of the old, you create more space for the new (and I have bought two new hole-free, pairs of trousers to honour this!).
De-cluttering also extends to other stuff, including sorting out unfinished projects, reorganising your paperwork, your bank accounts, making a dreaded phonecall, anything you have been procrastinating on. Same rules apply: if you have not touched it for at least one year, it needs to be released. So either do whatever needs doing to solve or close it, or lovingly decide to extract yourself from the commitment. This might also mean lovingly saying goodbye to plans or ideas that no longer fit with where you are or where you are going. Mind = clear.
// Rearrange your furniture
This is something I love doing and always have done from time to time. I do this every few months, and it always happens out of the blue, when I get an sudden urge to change my living space. When the urge comes, it does not get satisfied until the room in question is turned inside out and upside down, and then carefully put back together. It always seems so much fresher and renewed once the room has had a make over. I now recognise this is because I manically move the energy of the space around, energy that might have been blocked or stuck somewhere (see above), and I bring in a new flow of change. For the few days after changing the room, when you walk in you will feel a lovely sense of new as you settle into the room. (N.B. Rearranging also usually inevitably leads to some de-cluttering, so two birds with one stone!)
// Burn incense, a sage stick or a new essential oil
Even just a few tealights will do the trick. All of these are thought to clear the energy in your space and it helps support your letting go and opening up for the new ritual. If you are new to essential oils you can choose a calming, citrusy scent such as orange or bergamot, and combine it with an earth, woody one like cedarwood to connect you to nature.
// Try something new
There is nothing like trying something that you have never done before, to declare you are ready for the New Year! Push your boundaries, take a risk, challenge your comfort zone, even if it is just for a few minutes. You could experiment in the kitchen, start a gratitude practice, try a new exercise class, take a singing workshop, start a conversation with the person next to you, or jump off a plane (with a parachute ideally)! Whatever it is, I can guarantee it will fill you with excitement, a tiny fire in your belly and it will most likely make you feel brighter and braver for the rest of the day.
// Set heart-driven intentions
Not goals or to do lists. Not even new morning routines. Setting an intention comes from a place of gratitude and love. It does not aim to make you better, more productive, thinner or smarter (although these things might happen as a side effect). An intention is a declaration of how you want to live and what you want to invite in your life. Intentions are feeling-based, not outcome driven. I absolutely love setting intentions, especially at times that are energetically primed for this, as is the New Year, so I have a whole post coming up for you in the next few days with step by step instructions on creating an intention setting ritual. Make sure you are on my newsletter list to receive this post as soon as it is released.
// Letting go meditation ritual
+ Choose a time when you won’t be interrupted for about 20-30 minutes.
+ Open the windows for a few minutes and let the light come in the room (if there is any). Light a candle, burn some incense or a relaxing essential oil blend and set yourself up using a rug or a mat on the floor. Make yourself comfortable, using blankets, cushions or a bolster. You can also use crystals to help this process.
+ Write down a list of things that happened this year, things you are proud of as well as losses. Include achievements, changes, decisions, transitions, confusions.
+ Transfer them on individual pieces of paper and spread them around in front of you on the floor.
+ When you are ready, close your eyes and meditate on these experiences for a while. Think about them one by one, seeing them develop. Notice your thoughts, how your body responds to each memory, how you feel. Try not to get attached to each one, just let it flow through your mind’s eye.
+ Once you have spent some time on this and you feel ready to move on, start visualising a stream of fresh, clear water. Hear the sounds of the water as it rushes through and touches the life around it. Visualise the colours, the smells, what it feels like to be standing over the stream on a bright, clear day. Now visualise dropping each piece of paper, each experience onto the water and watch it float away until it is out of your line of vision.
+ With each one you let go, whisper this affirmation, or something along those lines in wording that resonates with you:
Thank you for the lessons you taught me. I lovingly let you go as I open to receive the new.
+ If you notice a need to linger a little longer on some of them, don’t worry, take your time. Move on when you are ready.
+ Keep your breathing smooth and gentle. Every now and then return to a supportive mantra, such as: I am safe, I am whole.
+ When you are finished letting these go, visualise yourself sitting on a rock by the stream, breathing in the fresh, crisp air. Hear the sounds around you. Feel nature surrounding you, the ground supporting you. Start to feel the weight of your body, firmly grounded on the floor.
+ Take your time to open your eyes, keeping your gaze low in front of you.
+ To close the ritual, you can journal about your experience for a few minutes, reflecting on how it felt letting go of the past year. You can then (safely) burn the pieces of paper, or rip them up and throw them away.
++ I really hope you enjoyed this last post for 2014. It truly has been a magnificent year and I can’t wait to welcome 2015 with clarity, intention and presence!
Happy New Year my lovelies!
Tell me, what are your favourite ways to prepare for the New Year? Share your comments below.
See you in 2015 xx