Does anyone really like extravagant New Year's Eve parties? Anyone I've spoken with, whether they are 25 or 85, says, "I don't get the hype. I'd rather stay home." I'm sure there are some exceptions but for many of us, the thought of heading out to a big bash isn't all that enticing. At least not as enticing as a good night's sleep!
However you plan to mark the last hours of the year, I suggest taking some time to engage in a year end ritual. It's been a heavy year globally. I don' t need to list all the news stories (fake and real) that have filled our feeds with fear and anxiety over the future of humanity. It's easy to feel despair and hopelessness.
Rituals can help you shift your mind into a place of love, hope and peace as you prepare for any event in your life. - Click to tweet
And what better time to shift into a more positive mindset than the beginning of the new year? Here's three suggestions for you. I promise that if you spend time with even one of these rituals, you will improve your outlook for 2018!
1. Gratitude - Spend some time, either alone or with your family and friends, reflecting on the experiences you had in 2017 for which you are grateful. Try and go deeper than a vacation or milestone birthday or anniversary. I'm grateful this year for a few friends who took the time to tell me where they think I need to focus in my work. The conversation we had one afternoon was a confirmation of something I was desiring but hesitating to pursue. Their words have given me the courage to move forward. Get out your journal and start a ritual of gratitude. Your outlook on the year will shift and you'll find yourself feeling much more positive about the coming year as well.
2. Labyrinth / Light a Candle / Evening Walk - I have made it a ritual to walk a labyrinth on the last day of the year. On the walk in to the centre I think about all the things I want to let go of from the past year. Once I am in the centre, I pause and reflect on the word that I have chosen for the coming year. I pray for wisdom and guidance. On the walk out, I open myself up to all the things I desire for the coming year. This year, the snow may have buried my local labyrinth. If that is the case, I'll be lighting a candle and using the beautiful finger labyrinth, pictured below, I received as a gift this Christmas. I will go for a walk to spend time in nature and remind myself of the beauty in our world. Walking and candle lighting are intentional actions that can engage your whole being in focused reflection.
3. Giving - I can't think of a better way to end the year than with a heart of generosity. Who do you know that could benefit from something you can share? Maybe it is visiting someone who could use the company? Or maybe it is making a year-end donation to a charity that is doing work that you want to support? Entering into 2018 with a giving ritual is a great way to remind yourself of how much you have. Many charities depend on the donations they receive this time of year to see them through the leaner winter months.
Thank you so much for your support this past year. I'm looking forward to 2018. I begin the year with a two week trip to Cambodia. Four years ago, my friend and colleague, Karen Petersen and I started a a leadership program that is now fully run by women in Cambodia. We are going back for the third cohort's graduation ceremony and to do an evaluation of the program. I am so thankful for the lessons I've learned about myself, about leadership development and about Cambodia on this journey.
My deepest wish is that 2018 would be a very of living truthfully so that we can heal our world.