As 2009 winds down and the requisite ritual of New Year’s resolutions lies ahead I am reminded of the practice I value most at this time of year. It is the gesture that requires us to think of what we want to let go of and what we want to bring into the new year.
Rather than a long list of promises and goals I prefer the serenity and wisdom that is generated from gentle reflection about the past year. What did I learn? What did I discover? I like to re-enforce all the actions, decisions and behaviors that brought about good and growth. I want to do more of those in the New Year.
I also want to surface the things that held me back, made me afraid, caused me to falter in anyway. It is essential that I have a lively awareness of those things as I want to leave them behind. Often I will gather with friends, light a small bonfire on New Year’s eve and write down on paper those things to leave behind. There is something incredibly liberating about tossing those items in the fire.
These small gestures allow me to walk in the New Year a little lighter, a little brighter. I love what Benjamin Franklin said, “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors and let each new year find you a better person.”
What are your year-end rituals? Would love to hear how you ring out the old and ring in the new. Happy New Year to all.