For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning
– T.S. Eliot
Following on from last week when we welcomed in the new year from a slightly different perspective, today we want to encourage you to take stock. Midwinter continues to be a time of stillness, withdrawal, rest and replenishment. It never feels to us to be the perfect time for pushing our physical bodies or beginning new projects. It can, however, be utilised as an opportunity to reflect on what has been and to decide what we want to take with is as we move forward into the New Year.
This is a time that is traditionally associated with endings and beginnings. We are gifted with the opportunity to commit the events of the past year to memory and to begin again. It is a new slate; a blank canvas with the added benefits of the wisdom that we have gained throughout travails of the year recently passed.
Within the many articles that we have published in recent times are issues around letting go of what no longer serves us or what is no longer for us. Often, we feel these things as a falling away of the old ways that is beyond our control; our many relationships morphing and evolving over time, our children growing up and leaving home, loss of loved ones or even the completion of projects about which we have felt passion. We can also be keenly aware of changes in the environment via the news that bombards us and the attitudes of upcoming generations and how they may differ from our own This can feel like a tearing away of the very fabric of what keeps us safe, but we must let go in order to receive what is coming – even when we have no idea of what shape it will take. Staying attached to the way that things are now can feel like the safest option, but it keeps us stagnant and immobile.
The Hindu Goddess Kali is traditionally seen as the mother of death and rebirth. Depictions of her are often terrifying as she exists to tear away that which we no longer need so that we can incubate that which we are set to birth. She is both womb and tomb and one divine feminine symbol of fertility and growth. She is fearsome. She does not only represent the dying away of that which is no longer for us, but our own conscious and willing part in it. She represents our innate desire to push towards the detachment through strong emotion rather than to simply allow it. Whenever we feel strong negative emotions, we are being called to examine what they are telling us in terms of being a portent for change. Anger often signals that we need to be stronger with our boundaries. Disappointment lets us know that we may have missed the mark with our expectations but also whispers to us that we are worthy of better. Irritation flags up that we have work to do around learning about why certain things provoke us and how we can preserve our energy. Everything that causes us discomfort has profound gifts for us and for that we can be immensely grateful.
We constantly encourage the practice of letting go but we recognize that it is a process that is best done by degrees. It does not serve us well to force ourselves into fear by tearing at our attachments before we are ready. Rather, we can listen to and be guided by the emotional and physical Self and gently release those things that can go and accept and explore the nature of the more challenging attachments.
Along with letting go of those things that we do not want to take with us into the year ahead, we can review what the year that we have left behind has gifted us. Some of us will be saying goodbye to a bountiful year and some, one of hardship. Some will have endured trauma and loss and others will have welcomed in new life and new opportunities. Everything that we have experienced brings with it unique gifts, and even in the harshest of circumstances, we can foster gratitude. It is one evidence-based way to positively influence the way that we move forward – and move forward we must.
Sit in a comfortable spot with a piece of paper and a favourite pen.
Write down a handful of things that came to you last year for which you are grateful.
Sit with your gratitude
Where does it express itself in your body?
Write down a handful of things that you learned last year
Write down some of the things that you want to release
Those things from which you have learned everything that you need and wish to let go of so that they will not be carried forward
Let them go
Imagine cutting the cords that bind them to you
Watch them float away back to source
Write down some simple intentions for this year
What have you learned that you want to take with you?
What do you want to foster and nurture?
What things are worthy of your time and energy
Take your awareness to your breathing and sit in stillness and quiet meditation as the wheel prepares to turn and the point between one year and the next opens into a vast space of boundless and infinite potential – it belongs to you!