The end of a calendar year is typically chaotic. The indulgence and celebrations make January 1st more appealing for cleansing and starting fresh. It’s for hope, redemption, and resolutions. There are other points in the year that are also optimal opportunities for kick-starting the “new you.” As mentioned in Global Winter Light Traditions, the solstice is a time for releasing and setting intentions. Each change of seasons, either marked by a solstice or an equinox, is a great time to reflect and celebrate the ever-changing you.
Lot’s of people like to have a specific marking point for something to begin or for closure, but we don’t need to wait for Januarys, springtime, birthdays, Mondays, or for tomorrow to come around for things to happen, to apply things we learn, or to improve as humans. Take it moment to moment and choice by choice.
Beginnings and ends happen all the time. I like to be attuned to the cycles in my life because they help me to understand my growth and personal development. I am better able to cope with bigger life changes when I flow with the more subtle ones. Even menstrual cycles serve as a literal and symbolic shedding. I use my birthday as a pivotal point for evaluation. I read my astrological solar return chart to prepare and increase my self-awareness for the year. Any time I take for self-reflection or to have a ceremony resets me.
Using self-reflection to develop self-awareness as I’ve mentioned can be in the form of journaling, meditation, creativity, or anything that allows you to check in and take inventory. Hold yourself accountable without harshly judging your failures. Think about what you value and each personal victory you’ve had. What worked? Think about how much time it has taken you to recover from a disappointment or obstacle. What worked? What blocked you?
As an example, for most set-backs, I know I can’t dwell in them for more than 3 days. If I surpass 3 days of heavy dwelling, I am more likely to encounter a depressive state. If I don’t allow myself up to 3 days, I didn’t properly honor an emotion so I end up carrying it until I do. I might find that eventually, and depending on the situation, I need to adjust this timeframe accordingly. I’m no perfect picture of mental health, but I put in a lot of work to understand my needs, recognize patterns, and know how to effectively address myself to move on. How do you speak to yourself?
No matter when you decide to honor your development or apply constructive self-discipline, make sure there is sufficient praise. Psychologically speaking, we learn best with reward not punishment. This finding isn’t breeding “softer” people, but more motivated people. Of course, we can’t get something every time we behave in a desirable way. Plus we don’t want to rely too heavily on positive reinforcement as that has its own issues. What I mean is that in your self-reflections, goal-setting, or even before you go to sleep, remind yourself of the moments you did “right.” Say thank you to yourself.
So many people these days are angry. Since the onset of the pandemic everyone has had to readjust their lives, been forced into changes they didn’t ask for or see coming, and to deal additionally with so many other difficult situations piled on top. Many feel that we have essentially “lost” two years. And it’s not over. It’s been hard, and you deserve recognition for the harshness you’ve been facing.
To direct your focus and not feel so overwhelmed with all of the changes you want to make or habits you want to break, choose 1 word. Use this word to guide your decisions. This article here explains more about the idea and gives a list of possible words to choose from. Prior to reading it I chose a word not on the list. Ease. This word will help me to move and live with greater ease and to release tension, strain, anxiety, rigidity, and force. An alternative could be Flow. For other years I’ve used another word not on the list, Open.
When you decide what you want to let go of and what you aim to do, be honest. Why have you chosen them as your focus? Are you really ready?
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