AN INVITATION TO MARVEL AT YOUR LIFE
And so the end of 2011 is upon us. What a powerful year! Did you feel it? I find the end of the year to be one of the most meaningful times, moreso than the beginning of the year. As these last days of December present themselves, many of us finally have a little downtime to take care of things around the house, relax and enjoy friends and family. It is a poignant time of year to marvel at your life and an important time to assess where you are at and where you are going.
YEAR END REFLECTION: MAKING TIME TO LOOK BACK
Reflection is a powerful tool towards achieving inner peace and clarity of vision. It can create a sense of closure as we shut the door to 2011 and strengthen our sense of possibility as we open the gates to 2012. I dedicate time before December 31st each year to honor my journey over the last 365 days and to marvel at my life. When we really take time to look back over the year, we often realize just how many mini miracles occurred and how much we've grown. Even if we have had an immensely difficult year, reflection at year's end allows us to close one chapter of life and welcome in an easier ride in the coming year. Often times it is getting clear about what didn't work that ignites the passion in us to shift our experience moving forward.
I invite you to take some quiet time to yourself to reflect. My favorite place to do this is at the beach or in my bedroom early in the morning with my journal. Here are some questions to inspire your process:
* What would you like to acknowledge yourself for?
* How did you grow this year?
* What was your most brave moment in 2011?
* Where did you practice expressing yourself authentically?
* What was the highlight of your year?
* Who/what are you most grateful for in 2011?
* What do you need to forgive yourself for?
* What is the greatest lesson you learned this year?
* What word embodies the overall theme of your year?
* What parts of your life from 2011 are you going to continue to cultivate in 2012?
MAKING ROOM FOR 2012: CLEARING PHYSICAL & MENTAL/EMOTIONAL CLUTTER
During the process of reflection it is common to gain some clarity on next steps. As we prepare to set intention and clarify our New Year's resolutions, it is important to make room for all of the good things we would like to invite in. Clearing clutter and "Releasing Rituals" are powerful, simple ways to create room for abundance, love, health and manifestation in the new year. I just finished going through my closets, desk and computer to get rid of everything that is no longer relevant to my life now. It feels fantastic! I feel lighter, more aligned and excited to really set intention and start manifesting my dreams come January.
In terms of physical clutter clearing, I recommend doing a quick "once over" on your closets, kitchen cupboards, bathroom drawers, desk, file cabinets, garage, etc. As you do this, ask yourself:
* What am I ready to let go of?
* What represents an old version of me that I do not want to embody moving forward?
* Would the future version of myself that I want to become utilize this item?
* Do I use/wear this item more than once every 6 months?
* Do I really need this?
In addition to physical clutter, releasing mental/emotional clutter can really free us up and make us ready for the new year. I recommend conducting a simple ritual to release what you no longer need. You can write the answers to the questions below on a piece of paper and safely burn it or throw it away. Or you can vocalize your feelings/answers to the ocean, a tree, an expansive valley or vista point. Nature has the strength to hold it all for you so you can let it go. Some questions to ask:
* What belief systems or "stories" about myself/my life no longer serve me that I can release?
* What spoken or unspoken "agreements" have I made with myself or others that are holding me back?
* What anger am I holding onto?
* What do I need to express?
* Who do I need to forgive?
NEW YEARS BLESSINGS
2012 is becoming more widely regarded as the year we will collectively shift the consciousness of our planet and evolve the world. Many of us feel that we are being called to step fully into our most actualized selves. As we stand at the doorway of this powerful time in history, I invite you to reflect on where you've been so that you may identify where you need to go from an empowered, celebratory place.
Wishing you and your loved ones a most incredible 2012! May the coming year be filled with abundant health, activities and people that bring you joy, empowerment, success, clarity, creativity, inner peace, balance, laughter, ease and love. May you be fully expressed, feel alive in your body and feel that your life is on course with your purpose and dreams!
As I close out 2011, I am extremely grateful. Thank You to all of you who read and forward my newsletters and blogs. THANK YOU to my amazing clients and workshop participants. I am blown away by your willingness to show up, risk, learn and remain committed to your process of evolution. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your journey. New Years blessings to you! Thank you also to my unbelievable family, friends, teachers and partner. You inspire me daily and remind me what living an authentic, healthy life is truly about.
See you on the other side!
BALANCING HOLIDAY CHEER & PERSONAL YEAR-END RESTORATION.
This is an especially interesting time of year. On the one hand, the holiday season is incredibly festive and illuminated. Everywhere we turn we see the bright, joyous lights of the holidays marking this special time. We gather, attending and hosting numerous holiday parties, engage the extroverted parts of ourselves and raise a glass to life.
On the other hand however, these are the shortest days of the winter season. The winter solstice falls on December 21st, reminding us that the darkness of winter is here for a reason. As night falls early, nature's cycles beckon us to slow down, to rest, reflect and hibernate during this time of year. Many of us regard January as our time to re-engage our ambitious, get-up-and-go approach to life, naturally making the end of December our time to go inward and recoup before we pick up the pace again.
Earlier this week in my monthly women's group, we discussed this paradox of being pulled towards external exuberance and internal restoration simultaneously. Many of us expressed feeling overwhelmed by holiday party obligations, shopping, hosting duties and year-end deadlines. While we love to see our friends, families and co-workers, we were quick to admit that we were craving a few quiet nights at home before 2012.
Our conversation gave me pause and had me realize just how overwhelming this time of year can be for many.
How do we get the full festive holiday experience while honoring our physical, emotional need to slow down?
In sitting with this inquiry, I feel we have the opportunity to celebrate the light while cherishing the hidden gifts of darkness. If we choose to be mindful about it, we can create balance this holiday season.
CELEBRATING THE LIGHT
Christmas and Hanukkah fall at the same time this year. Each of these holidays is marked by lights. As Christmas nears, we are surrounded by the quintessential holiday lights that remind us that something special is going on. It is a time for celebration, faith and cheer. As a child I remember walking down "Christmas Tree Lane" in my neighborhood and counting all the houses that were covered in lights. Although I am Jewish and do not celebrate Christmas, I remember feeling a sense of excitement and wonderment as we passed others who were sharing the delight of the lights and holiday season. It is a deeply joyous, spiritual time for many.
Hanukkah is a holiday that celebrates the miracle of light. Pause for a moment and take in this obvious blessing that we sometimes take for granted: the miracle of light. It is my favorite Jewish holiday of the year. In addition to the festive, social aspect of this holiday, this holiday is my favorite because for 8 nights we take time out to light candles and celebrate light. Lighting candles is ceremonial, sacred, meaningful. We do it during rituals, when we meditate and in honor of our birthdays. It is an opportunity to pause, become grateful and remember to be in awe of life. I also see it as a chance to celebrate how illuminated my life is and how brightly the inner light of my friends and family shine.
Here are some questions to stimulate your appreciation of the light all around you at this time:
* How can you truly celebrate the light of life this holiday season?
* What are you grateful for?
* Who and what are you in awe of?
* Before going to a holiday party, pause and ask yourself: What am I REALLY celebrating tonight?
* What miracles exist in your life? How are you blessed?
* How can you spread the holiday light to someone in need?
* In what ways do you have faith? What restores your faith?
* What are you praying for?
CHERISHING THE DARKNESS
Darkness is something we often want to run away from. To many it represents fear, hardship and confusion. I invite you to consider a different perspective: the beauty and blessing of darkness. Darkness can also represent stillness, rest and peace. It is by contrast to the dark that we actually can see the light. Imagine the beauty and stillness of a starry night out in nature, away from the city lights. It is stunning how many stars are actually visible across the backdrop of the dark night sky!
Darkness also represents going inward. While this is scary for some, in truth, it is one of the most beautiful, powerful practices we can engage in. It is through going inward that we get clarity, return to a place of trust vs. fear and restore our mental, emotional, spiritual and physical tanks. It is by going inward, reflecting and resting that our creative ideas suddenly re-emerge and our capacity for others multiplies ten fold. Ironically, it is through the inner peace and stillness of darkness that we access and strengthen our inner light.
On a physical level, darkness makes us sleepy. Melatonin, a hormone that makes us tired, is secreted upon exposure to darkness. As night falls, this hormone is released, allowing us to easily fall asleep. As the days shorten, we are called to go inward. Nature demands it of us. It is our time to rest, replenish, reflect and restore. To learn more about melatonin and other variables that impact your sleep/wake cycles, download my free article on
The Six Secrets To Splendid Sleep.
I invite you to turn your phone off and schedule time on your calendar for napping, meditation, alone time, baths, massages and personal pampering amidst the holiday buzz! Here are some questions to get you started:
* How can you create in-between moments of stillness amidst the holiday rush?
* Will you commit to sitting in silence for 5-10 minutes first thing every morning until 2012?
* Before entering a holiday party, sit in your car for 3 minutes and practice deep breathing. Go inward and ask yourself: What am I really feeling? How can I experience this party in the most balanced way?
* What can you say NO to? I give you permission to set boundaries!
* What does your ideal quiet night at home entail? Promise yourself one night like this before 2012.
* When you take a few moments and quiet yourself, what do you hear?
* What does your intuition tell you that you need?
May your light shine bright and your tanks be full.
Wishing you balance, joy, celebration and personal time for rest and restoration this holiday season!
I welcome your comments!