The New Year Is Upon Us; Now What?!?
Well, the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season 2022 has come to an end, except for those of us who have said things like: "Let's get together just after Christmas since it's so hectic right now." For us, there's still a little bustle going on! Still, it's relatively quiet on the home front now, except for the clean-up required in the post-Christmas wrapping and decorating frenzy. Those of us who are fanatical about holiday decorating are even now packing up boxes of things we want to get rid of for the thrift stores. Some of us (even more fanatical) are filing into big box stores to stock up on holiday clearance items that we'll store until next year. (Unless we lose them in the meantime! Yes, yes, yes, we know who we are!)
Most of us are breathing a small sigh of relief to "get that over with!" Whew! (I actually had a friend say to me that she's glad she can now say, "Only 365 shopping days until Christmas.) So what now? Other than buying some snacks for New Year's Eve and the orange juice and champagne for the mimosas at New Year's Day brunch, where do we go from here?
For me, as corny and as antiquated as it sounds, making a list of New Year's resolutions is a good place to start. At this point in my life, this means significantly more to me than quickly jotting down the things that I want to be miraculously changed in the future: "I'm starting a diet." "I'm going to begin exercising." "I plan on meditating every day." As wonderful as these intentions are, this is not exactly what is going to help me change my life for the better in the new year, especially if there's no real desire to create upheaval in my life or to make time for my best fantasies.
As with many plans and intentions, the best place to start is almost always with quiet time and meditation. This is especially important when making changes that we want to significantly impact our lives in the present and the future. It's important to set aside as much or more time than we think we'll need for releasing, thinking, listening, and writing. Settle in with private time, your favorite meditative melodies or sounds, and your most comforting relaxation aids. Breathe deeply, of course, exhale completely, and let go of all the thoughts crowding into your mind. Let you mind go blank for a while, loosening up and releasing all the brain chatter about the other things you could be doing. This is important. When you've relaxed and have slipped into a receptive, meditative state you'll want to start visualizing the new and improved life that you want.
Then get ready to release. Before we can begin new plans of action, we have to release the old. This includes old habits, outdated ways of thinking, ideas that no longer serve us and "stuff." Yes, the "stuff" has to go too. Maybe between now and the new year we don't have all the time we need to get rid of all the "stuff" we need to let go of, but it's a very important part of a complete new year's release. Make the commitment to yourself to pack those bags and boxes for the thrift stores or community organizations as soon as possible.
Some of us also need to listen closely to our Spirit for serious guidance about people that we should be letting go of too, people who have been or are becoming harmful to our sense of self, our spiritual natures, our self-esteems. We may have to release someone for these or other reasons, but Divine Mind will guide us to the when, why and how if we pay attention.
After releasing what we can mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, we can begin working on writing down goals. Thinking is usually the easiest part of making the changes we want to incorporate into our lives. Stream of consciousness writing is often quite effective for this. Write it down, no matter how improbable, how silly or how far-fetched it seems, get it all down on paper. There will be time enough for editing, sorting and finessing later on.
Then listen, really listen, to the messages, intuitions and simple directives that you receive from your gut, your subconscious, your higher power and guides. Keep your mind open and continue to write as you tune in to suggestions, urgings and nudges from Spirit. All of this information is significant as it comes from cosmic influences beyond what we're normally in tune with in our busy daily lives. Trust that you are being guided and influenced by Divine Wisdom, that this power is part of you and that its guidance is always for your highest good and the highest good of all.
Listen to all the promptings of Spirit that will encourage changes and suggest new developments for your life and lifestyle. It's important for us to note that during this initial development of goal setting, less is more. We want to be careful not to get too caught up in making extensive lists of everything we want to change in the new year. Making just a few main renovations of our less-than-optimal behavior patterns is enough at this stage of the process. We will have more meditations, more insights, and more "A-ha" moments as the year progresses to make additions to our goals.
After setting a few of our most important goals, we get to the really hard part of the changes we're looking to make in our lives. This is where we make specific plans for how to reach our goals. It's just not enough to say, "I'm going to go to the gym more often." To be an effective goal, we need to plan out how that's going to happen for us as best we can. For example, we can pick which days we're going to get up early, how early that needs to be, and exactly what time we'll be leaving for the gym. We'll want to visualize what we need to take with us so we can go from the gym to work or other commitments. We may want to mentally "see" what to put into our gym bags that will get us there and out to work with what we need for the rest of the day.
The point, of course, is to know not only what we want to do, but how we want to do it. Writing all of this down during this new year's meditation will make it easier to transfer into a day planner or calendar later on. This is the part where most new year's resolutions set us up for failure. We haven't visualized or written down our specific plans of how a new behavior will work for us. There will be different plans for each of our newly imagined resolutions, but I believe we'll be absolutely guided to the most effective goals and plans during our relaxed, meditative and receptive state of mind.
Once we've addressed just a few of the new "resolutions," we'll want to spend a little time visualizing ourselves making the new plans into a reality. What will I look like after I've been working out for a few months? What will it be like to be serenely calm with my daily meditation practices? What Zen-like qualities can I incorporate into my home now that it is somewhat unburdened from so much clutter. It's important for us to remember here that our visualizations can be as perfect as we want, but the reality needs to accommodate some breathing room for human error, loftier than necessary expectations, and unrealistic planning.
We frequently bite off more than we can chew and making resolutions for the new year is a tricky place to set ourselves up for disappointment. We need to be gentle with ourselves, allowing for mistakes or falling short of perfection, while staying consistent with the sincere effort to make the changes we're wanting to see in our lives.
So let's make the time to release old behaviors, visualize new ones, and make goals and plans for a healthier, happier, and more spiritual new year. The time we spend preparing now will pay off handsomely later, and we'll be very glad of it. Then we can sit back and enjoy our New Year's Eve gatherings and parties, a celebratory night on the town, or a quiet evening in with the TV, watching the ball drop.
Affirmation: I make plans for my future in the new year with Spirit and Divine Wisdom as my guides.
I now allow, acknowledge, accept and affirm that this is so.
I wish all of you the very best of everything your hearts desire in 2023.
Most of all, I visualize for you the Greatest Degree of Love.
As a regular contributor to "The Rose", Rev. Rita's column "Sacred Thoughts" will feature her blog posts. She is a psychic psychometrist available for readings in person or by phone.
Feel free to contact her for details by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone or text at 352-284-8609