Rituals: New Years Rituals for Reflection & Integration

12459065_10153374065365975_1128308190_oIn the linear goal-oriented world we live in, how often do we take time to stop and reflect on where we’ve come from and feel truly grateful? Before we rush to making plans for the new year, this six step practice grants you permission to slow down and honor the path you’ve walked, so you can fully take stock of the many gifts the year has granted you and honor all you’ve learned before you look to the future to expand and grow.

  1. Create A Sacred Space. Start by clearing out anything that feels heavy or dense, this could mean throwing away dead or lifeless items and replenishing your space with fresh cut flowers or new plants. Clear any remaining stagnant energy by burning some white sage, copal or palo santo, then open a window to let the smoke out and new prana in. Light a white candle, turn on some peaceful music (I like Deva Premal’s Mantras for Life album) and find a comfortable seat in your sacred space.
  1. Ground & Center. The holidays always bring such a rush of frenetic energy, so before you even begin your reflection take a few deep breaths and give yourself permission to pause for moment. With your eyes closed, imagine breathing downwards into the earth, invoking apana prana, a grounding force of downward energy to move the active mind into the space of the feeling heart.
  1. Reflect & Write. With your favorite notebook and pen, look back at each month in the year and write down two things you’re celebrating and one lesson you’d like to integrate from that month. Keep your calendar nearby and don’t be afraid to look back for a memory jog! Nothing is too big or too small when it comes to writing down your month’s accomplishments and life lessons. Remember, accomplishments don’t always have to be monetary or tangible mile markers, they can be experiences of emotional growth or simply enjoying a beautiful moment to its fullest. Look back at your list of celebrations and lessons, what were your main experiences centered around? Do you see areas where you can grow and expand?
  1. Look Ahead. After you’ve taken time to get clear on the past year’s gifts of gratitude and growth, look to how can you integrate this awareness into your year ahead. Ask yourself, “What do you I want to experience in 2016?” Write down any personal and professional desires, the feelings you want to culminate along the way, and any visions you have for the year ahead. 
  1. Narrow In. Now pick five elements to focus on that will help bring your visions to manifest. These can be in the arena of your physical health, emotional wellbeing, relationships, spirituality, career and family. Next, write down ways you will put these practices into action in your daily life. Often times, where we get lost in new years intentions is by setting a vague goal and not creating the action steps to get there.
  1. Daily Action. Assign your five focuses to a day of the week in your calendar, so that each day you wake up you have one primary focus to apply to your day. For example, if your aim is to cook more at home, perhaps you schedule regular Sunday night dinners to try new recipes at home and invite friends over to share the meal. Or if you want to meditate more, you schedule 15 minutes into every Monday morning so you set the tone for your week ahead. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by starting off with a lofty goal, you slowly strengthen your meditation muscle by committing to one morning a week. Over time, these practices move from goals to habits as you craft a more conscious and present life day-by-day.

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Sharing this article and conversation over on Well Scent Apothecary’s blog this week. Do you have end of the year rituals? We’d love to hear how you honor the year passing and get centered in the year ahead. Until then, here’s to an abundant 2016! 

Collages1Note: Photos by Britt Johnson Photography

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