Each Year Has a Focus
Every year at midnight on December 31st we experience the energetic shift to the New Year. The edges of this shift can be felt starting in early December and continuing into January and beyond.
Each year has its own flavor, purpose, and focus--both universally for the world, and personally for each one of us. Our personal path for the year is determined by our own past choices as well as what's in our highest interest. This doesn’t mean that the future is fated or pre-programmed, rather there is a blueprint of opportunities for growth and expansion for each individual each year. When we connect our awareness to the energetic focus of the year, it opens doors for understanding, harmony, and resilience in the face of challenge.
An Alternative to Resolutions
At the beginning of a New Year, a common approach is to make New Year’s resolutions—commitments to change certain behaviors or situations. The thing about resolutions is they're usually produced in the mind using judgment about how we should look, act, feel, and be. Resolutions made with this energy are not in flow with the natural process of change (internal shifts that cause lasting, external changes). Things that are not in flow require force and raw willpower to sustain them. As a result, although well intended, these resolutions often fall along the wayside by about mid-February when willpower runs out.
Here’s an alternative approach for fulfillment in the coming year that involves enlisting your self-connection and your natural inner guidance system. This four-step process doesn’t require willpower or force. Instead, it’s based on deep listening and letting go to your truth. (Disclaimer: Focus, courage, and some discipline may be required!)
1. Find Gratitude for Yourself in the Closing Year
The best way to increase happiness, fulfillment, and success in your life is to validate and appreciate all that you've already done and received. So before looking forward to the New Year, with pen and paper in hand, take a few minutes to review the closing year.
Sit down, perhaps with your calendar, datebook, or journal close by as a reference, and write down the things you accomplished, created, or experienced this past year starting with January and going through to December. You don’t need to write every small action, but do capture the significant events. If you do not end up with at least one to three items per month, take a breath and look more closely!
For example “started doing yoga,” “finally went to the dentist,” “bought a car,” “helped my mom move,” “took a vacation,” “made a financial plan, ””changed my diet,” “met the project deadline at work,” “navigated through a difficult separation,” “built new friendships,” or “learned how to salsa.”
Then, sit down and reread your list. As you do, take a deep breath and focus on the center of your chest. Do your best to connect to a feeling of gratitude. Acknowledge that you possess the strength, commitment, perseverance, intelligence, creativity, and thoughtfulness that allowed you to complete these things. Find self-appreciation for all that you created. You may realize that the year that may have felt like it kicked your butt was also a year that you kicked butt!
2. Find Compassion for Yourself in the Closing Year
Next, take a few minutes to consider the goals or personal standards that you did not meet. Perhaps there were situations you wished you had handled differently, or challenges that you would have liked to embrace more fully. Take note of these. Write them down.
You may be tempted to begin self-attack or negative self-talk as you do this. Notice this temptation, but do not engage it. This is a defensive behavior that your ego uses to keep you cycling in the same “safe” pattern over and over.
Instead, focus on your heart center and connect to your best maturity and courage. (Yes, it’s in there!) This will allow you to face your own shortcomings (we all have them) and see yourself more clearly, which empowers you to take responsibility and make changes as you are able. This also allows you to find compassion for yourself.
Before moving on to the next step, do your best to experience the feeling of compassion toward yourself. Learning to be gentle and compassionate with yourself may take a little practice. Here are some tips.
As you work through this step, you may experience ah-hah moments or the feeling of stuck patterns unwinding. Write down your impressions.
3. Receive Guidance for the New Year
Here is where your intuition comes in. If you put all the burden on your mind to determine what to focus on next year, you will likely get an ego-influenced interpretation of what should (read: judgement) be done. Connecting to your inner guidance system provides a more neutral, supportive, and realistic approach.
To connect to inner guidance, take several deep breaths, drop you awareness into your body, and focus on your heart center. From here, ask an open ended question, such as
“What is the focus or theme for me in the New Year?”
“What would be in my highest interest to focus on in the New Year?” or
“What would you like to tell me about the next year?”
Then listen and feel. Write down your impressions.
If you already have a prepared list of things you’d like to try or accomplish next year, you can run each one by your intuition, asking “Would it be in my highest interest to __?” or “What would you like to tell me about my intention to __?” As you do this, focus on your heart center. Feel how your body reacts as you state each item from you list. Annotate your list with your intuitive impressions.
You then have the opportunity to “follow your heart” by moving toward the things that resonate with your heart and letting go of (at least for now) those that don’t.
4) Check with Intuition Each Month
The year progresses through a natural creation cycle with a beginning, middle crescendo, and a closing. Each month the energy shifts along this progression. As time passes from month to month, nothing is set in stone. You have free will in your life: your actions today determine what happens tomorrow.
Sometimes it may seem that you don’t have choices, but this is a temporary illusion. Although none of them may seem easy or attractive, choices are always available to you. If you consistently follow your heart and intuition to make the healthiest choice available to you in the moment, over time you will strengthen your foundation and your life will expand and change.
Of course, having “free will” does not mean having a free and easy life, and it doesn’t mean that life won’t throw a stinging curve ball your way. Making choices that lead you closer to your higher truth is not for the faint of heart. It requires courage and inner strength, which grows and grows with each empowered choice.
Knowing this, take a few minutes each month to check in with your heart and your intuitive guidance to see what’s new! Then make the choices that will create your 2016.
If you would like support in wrapping up the year with appreciationg, I am available for one-on-one sessions.