Rituals are ingrained in my psyche. For example, every Friday over a family meal, we each highlight the best thing that happened during our week. This is usually prefaced by one of the kids saying "not again, Mum" -- and always raises lively discussions and lots of smiles.
Another ritual I do and value each year around this time is reviewing and honoring the end of the year, giving me a sense of awareness and clarity before jumping into the next year. I love the excitement of celebrating beginnings, but appreciate that endings need to be acknowledged and honored. I believe we can only truly experience a new beginning when we have fully dealt with the ending that preceded it. Otherwise, aren't we just carrying the unfinished business of the past into the future?
No doubt you'll have your own rituals, however here are seven steps I employ that help me take stock of the positives, challenges and the lessons learned, and clearly identifies what can be sent off with a kiss and not carried into 2015.
1. SET THE SCENE
Find the 'right space'. To highlight mindfulness, inspiration and clarity, find somewhere near nature. Share the experience with or without that special someone.
TO ACHIEVE MAXIMUM FOCUS, SWITCH OFF ALL TECHNOLOGY.
I use a beautiful leather compendium as my YEAR BOOK specifically for this purpose. Some years I have been more creative than others, and find it a good opportunity to play with my Sharpies, highlighters and embellishments.
To help switch off, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, dropping your shoulders and allowing your body to loosen and feel comfortable in your space.
Take a few minutes to reflect on the overall big picture of 2014. How did it unfold -- globally then personally for you, month by month? What were the major challenges, triumphs and who and what were the game changers of this past year?
3. DIGGING DEEPER
Breathe in deeply and mentally travel through all the areas of your life. Reflect by asking yourself a series of probing questions, here are some suggestions:
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
• How did my body, mind and soul fare in 2014?
• Did I achieve my fitness and weight goals?
• Did I need medications?
• Did I nurture my soul -- have treatments, weekends away, and quality rest?
• Was I happy? (Score yourself between 0-10)
• Who were the people that made a difference to my life?
• What were the fun times with family and friends (note them month by month)
• Was there quality time with each 'valuable' person in my life?
• Were there energy vampires?
• Who made me feel appreciated and worthy?
• Did I feel nurtured and loved?
• Did I reach my expected goals and bring to life images emblazoned on my career/business vision board?
• Did I learn something new every day?
• Did I finish that special project I was working on? (e.g. writing that book?)
• Where did my focus land?
• Did I respect the money I earned?
• Did I keep to budget - or did I overspend unnecessarily and impulsively?
• Did I earn the money I deserved?
• Did I feel a sense of 'flow' during the year and absorb myself into passions that took my mind away?
• Did I enjoy unstructured fun and spontaneity?
• Did my external world (my home) reflect my inner world, and vice versa?
• Did I give enough of my time to serve others?
• Was I aware of my ecological footprint? (Check out your footprint calculator Footprint Calculator)
• Was I actively involved in pursuing my social conscience?
• Was I in harmony with my intuition and inner wisdom, and did I make soulful choices?
• Did I stop and smell the roses and appreciate the wonders in the world?
• Was I compassionate and giving as much as I could, and conversely did I accept graciously?
• Were the speeches and presentations I attended inspirational, and what did I learn?
• Did I thrive?
• Did my meditation practice evolve and provide a sense of harmony?
Being grateful for everything you experienced in 2014 -- both good and bad -- is very important. The wins indicated that you're on the right track, and the challenges were there to teach you to explore further, to take the risks and rebuild with an open mind.
According to Professor Robert Emmons, a leading scientific expert on gratitude, regularly practicing grateful thinking may increase happiness by as much as 25 percent! Professor Emmons even suggests that managing a gratitude journal for as little as three weeks can result in improvements in sleep and energy levels!
Do you regularly talk about the things in your life that you are genuinely grateful for? When you take stock of all you appreciate in life and commit to being genuinely grateful - you will soon see abundance flowing into your life. Why not start by joining my Facebook group Today is awesome because.
5. CELEBRATE THE SUCCESSES
Being mindful of all achievements -- small and big -- is very valuable for our growth, confidence and self-esteem. Recognizing even the small successes this past year puts us into a success mindset. Perhaps you can list every 'win' into a yearbook and enjoy the satisfaction of what you've achieved.
6. ACCEPT AND LET GO
Listen to Idina Menzel sing the powerful words of "Let It Go" to help you release what doesn't serve you.
Just as Sonia Ricotti's beautiful quote states Surrender what is, let go of what was and have faith in what will be, understand and accept what you can and can't change and let it go. This is the all-time game changer and sometimes walking away is a step forward. Don't carry into next year the things that don't serve a purpose in your growth. This becomes ever more apparent to me with each passing year.
7. CREATE A MEMORY
If you are feeling particularly creative, have some fun these holidays and make your own vimeo. Perhaps this one will inspire you: Year in review 2014.
Another option could be to create your own album like the Facebook album, "It's been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it."
Finally, acknowledge what you missed in 2014, and begin to make your goals for 2015.
Happy holidays and I hope that 2015 brings you an abundance of happiness, compassion and love.
Namasté and love