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,

Marilyn

Could you use a bit of loving support so that you can bring more light into the world in 2016?

Let’s explore how – please click here to arrange a free 20-minute consultation.

 

You matter far more than you may think!

As published in Sybil Magazine, December 2015

As published in Sybil Magazine, December 2015

(#12 of a series of 12 articles on ‘Unlocking Your Sacred Power’)

How do you respond when someone disappoints you?  Maybe you don’t hear from friends when you’re sick or in crisis.  Maybe your best friend doesn’t remember your birthday. Maybe someone doesn’t return your phone call or show up on time.  In our disappointment and hurt, it’s easy to conclude that we don’t matter.

Sometimes there’s truth in the belief.  When someone isn’t there for us we may NOT matter to them as much as we’d like.  And we should keep in mind that their life may be far more complex and challenging than we know.  But when a friend or loved one consistently drops the ball on our relationship, time and time again, it’s time to look closer.  We can make excuses by saying they’re busy, preoccupied or whatever justification we can make to keep them in our lives.  But if they just keep on hurting us through their unresponsiveness it’s a sign we may be hooked into wanting them to be different than they are.

If we surround ourselves with such people we can forever be at the effect of ‘not mattering’.  When we get hooked into trying to placate others or trying to prove our worth it can send our mood, energy, vision and effectiveness into a downward spiral.  But when we acknowledge that not everyone is able to give us what we long for, without making it about us, we get to choose what to do about it.  We can choose to confront the situation or to set boundaries on our giving back.  Most importantly, we get to decide who we surround ourselves with and the messages we take in from others.

It’s important to surround ourselves with loving supportive people who encourage us, believe in our dreams, show up when they say they will and apologize when appropriate.  It’s the wind beneath our wings, the thing we need to remind us of our best selves.  Cultivating those relationships is far more important than constantly struggling with someone we wish would be different.

In the end, though, our relationship with others mirrors our relationship with ourselves.  When others don’t treat us well, it’s worth stopping to ask: “How am I not in right relationship with myself?”  How am I neglecting my needs, values, or dreams?  How am I not there for myself?  When we focus on these things the debris of bad relationships falls away.  When we stand for ourselves in our own heart and mind, no one can shake us.

We all matter, every minute of our lives.  Our words, actions and mood affect others automatically – either positively or negatively.  So next time you question your value to others, reach outward and touch someone else’s life with kindness.  Mattering is not always about changing the world or being important in the lives of others.  It’s about doing small things with great kindness.

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you.  What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” 

~ Jane Goodall

What your dream will ask of you…

As appeared in Sybil Magazine, August 2015

As appeared in Sybil Magazine, August 2015

Why do our biggest dreams tend to bring up so much fear and resistance? Anyone who has dared to dream big knows the story. You start out daring to dream about something you really want. You fall in love with your dream, excited by the promise of the future, certain that the road ahead is paved with sparkling sunlight. For a while you eat, drink and sleep your vision. You tell everyone you know. You work doggedly for it. And then it happens – your first serious road-bump or obstacle.

Maybe you don’t get accepted into the program you need to launch your dream profession. Maybe your CEO turns down your pitch to lead your cherished project. Or maybe, after putting your heart and soul on the line through your marketing, no one signs up for your amazing transformational course. Whatever the obstacle, it can knock the wind out of your sails. It can make you doubt yourself, scale back your dream and settle for something less – something safer, more certain and predictable.

The hard truth is that when we hold a dream or vision, especially a big one, we DO NOT have the ability to achieve it. Why? Because dreams, by definition, are not reality. They exist as sacred but fragile seeds in our hearts, minds and souls. Those seeds ask us to stretch, grow and evolve beyond who we are now to become someone else – the person who can actualize it. But the pathway to that result is not guaranteed, not easy and not linear. Not ever. It consists of twists and turns, obstacles, adventures. It will challenge us beyond what we can do not once but multiple times. It will ground away our edges until we learn and develop the capacity to BE the person who can live our dreams into reality.

So the real reason that our dreams can terrify us is not because we’re afraid of failing or because there’s so much is on the line. It’s because our dreams will ask us to die to who we are, time and time again, to become the person who CAN bring the dream to fruition. The process can challenge some of our most cherished ideas of who we are and what we are able to do. It can have us wrestle with our demons, blind-spots and inadequacies, to acknowledge our areas of incompetence. The process will humble and bring us to our knees if we are to live into our true greatness.

Real visions ask us to die to who we think we are to become the hero or heroine of our own story, accomplishing the million trials along the way that hone our ability to shine. The trick is to love our challenges and who we are along the way as much as we love our vision and promise.

Healing ambivalence about power

CTH-logo-BTRMany healers, change agents and transformative leaders have a deep ambivalence about power and stepping into it.  In this radio interview I talk about some of the sources of this ambivalence and how it can hold us back in our missions to create a better world.

The core message is that redefining power in our own terms is crucial in claiming the ability EACH of us has to make a difference.

Thanks to Susan Jacobi from ‘Conversations that Heal’ for this interview entitled “How do  you use your power?”  You can listen to the replay here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/conversationsthatheal/2015/02/11/how-do-you-use-your-power

What’s under procrastination?

Ever wonder why we get stuck and just can’t seem to move forward on something?

One view is that buried under that stuck feeling and procrastination is ‘fear of feeling’ our feelings fully.  The solution?  Risking, making friends with failure and the feelings (and automatic thoughts) it brings up.  For more on this perspective, see this article from Harvard Business Review (via Andrea J. Lee) – http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/05/the-unexpected-antidote-to-pro/

And according ‘Truthbomb’ from Danielle LaPorte, ‘procrastination can be a form of intuition.’

More on other theories to follow, but I’m curious – how do you understand procrastination?