On Consciously Completing 2015: A Ritual of Completion

buddha mit mandalaDuring the holiday season, in the midst of invitations or expectations from friends, family, (and perhaps our own desire to rest and ‘veg-out’ with holiday television specials), it can be challenging to take the time to complete the old year.  

We might even wonder if it really matters, if spending the time reviewing the old year actually makes a difference to the year to come. After all, New Year’s is just a date on the calendar, a day like any other. Isn’t it?

What I’ve found is that, even though the turn of the year may seem somewhat contrived, it is important to mark endings with conscious completions. Doing so creates the inner space and conditions to access deep yearnings on the edge of consciousness and to open to new visions of possibility.

When we don’t complete or create conscious endings, we risk cluttering our inner and outer worlds with unexamined assumptions, too-long to-do lists and in repeating patterns that or may not serve us.

Here are some suggestions for how to complete the old year in a way that opens up space and possibility for the new.  Please feel free to read through them first and adjust, making the process your own!

1) Dedicate and commit some devoted time to the process. How much time you spend is up to you – you can protect some time each day for the next week, or devote a half or full retreat day to dive deeply into the process. Even taking a few moments to read through the process will engage your unconscious mind in the questions.

2) Create your space intentionally to support your process. Create ‘sacred space’ by closing the door, unplugging the phone, lighting a candle, or putting on meditative music. Prepare your favorite cup of tea. Perhaps you’ll want to begin with a prayer or meditation, or to invite a trusted loved one to join you.

3) Gather together the things you use to record your year. This might include:

a) Anything you used last year to record your intentions, goals or visions

b) A journal (personal and/or business), planning calendar (paper or electronic) or notebooks

4) Review any intentions, goals, plans you made last year and take inventory of what actually unfolded during the year. It may help to consider the various areas of your life, for example;

a) Health & well-being – medical, dental, exercise & diet, other dimensions of health

b) Heart & spirit – heart / mind / spiritual practices, growth & support

c) Re-creation – travel, time in nature, rest / rejuvenation, inspiration / art / creativity, fun & pleasure

d) Family & friends – significant other(s), relatives, community (local & extended)

e) Home – physical environment, home improvements & maintenance

f) Finances – income, debt repayment, savings, special needs (eg projects, travel, training etc.)

g) Work or career – includes business & training

h) World – contribution / leadership, gifting, volunteer work, transition-readiness etc.

In reviewing these areas, it’s important to acknowledge BOTH the highs and lows of the year in each category. What was fulfilling and where were your successes, breakthroughs and accomplishments? Where did you and your life shine? What was hard and where were your disappointments, failures or challenges? Where did you not meet your intentions and goals? Reviewing the fullness of your life in this way can help you gain perspective on where your time went and what truly mattered. It can also ease the self-judgment that many of us feel when we ‘wonder where our time has gone.

5) Allow yourself room for emotion, for joy and gratitude at your successes, for grief and frustration for the areas that were hard or in which you didn’t make the progress you had hoped. Invite all your feelings, and allow yourself to feel them fully.

where is my life going6) Reflections & Learnings When you have acknowledged your feelings, and can look back over the year from a calm, centred place, reflect or journal on what you learned in the past year – about yourself, your life, your needs, and about goal-setting. Some of the following questions may help…

a) Your happiness and fulfillment: What made you happiest? What nurtured you? What do you most want to take forward with you? What might you want to do even more of in the coming year?

b) Your inner growth: Where did you shift the most or show up in the midst of difficulty? What surprised you? What challenges grew you or were blessings in disguise?

c) Practicing self-compassion: How might you have not yet acknowledged yourself for who you were or for what you accomplished? Or have been too hard on yourself?

d) Your completions: Where has your idea of what you wanted changed? What no longer serves you or has changed in priority? What are you ready to let go of or leave behind?

Aromatherapie mit Weihrauch7) Design a ritual of completion to celebrate and release the energy of the past year. This could be include one or several of the following:

a) Re-read or review your notes on this process

b) Write a letter to yourself from your highest, wisest self or to anyone with whom you may need to complete (you can decide whether to send it after it’s written)

c) Ripping up your inventory and burning or throwing them away

d) Saying a prayer

e) Creating your own completion ritual through art, music, movement or a combination of these.

The important thing is to not become overwhelmed with this exercise, to allow yourself to create your own way and rhythm of consciously completing the year. Simply declaring that you’re ready to let go of the old and make way for the new can suffice if your heart and mind are fully behind the intention!

May 2016 be a miraculous year for you, one in which you are deeply nourished and fulfilled.  May it be a year when your gifts and vision bless the world in new and powerful ways.  And may you know, deep in your soul, how much your presence on this earth matters.

With my very best wishes for 2016 – for you and the world,


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  1. A great outline to follow. I am going to follow through and create my new year. All your points are very meaningful, particularly (for me) the ritual of completion. It makes everything very meaningful.

    Thank You Marilyn and Happiest of New Year,

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