New Year’s Reflections + Rituals for Spiritual Growth
At the end of the year my husband and I have a tradition of cultivating space for reflection. It’s a ritual that aids in our spiritual growth that I modified from one of my teachers. I can’t imagine beginning the New Year without this practice! Journaling is a nourishing and grounding exercise, it is extremely healing for those who have root chakra imbalances. In sanskrit, the name for the base chakra is muladhara which means “root support”. A plant cannot survive without roots and for us this allows us to be in our physical body as well as mother earth. It reminds us of where we came from and develops between womb and 12-months of age. Imbalances lead to fear, mistrust, questioning your right to be here, feeling ungrounded or unsafe, restlessness, lack of mental and physical stability, lack of nourishment, excess weight, feeling sluggish or heavy.
Healing practices for the root chakra include getting in touch with the physical body and the earth. Spending time in nature with your feet rooted into the ground, practicing self abyhanga or receiving a massage as this increases circulation, provides nourishment and pleasure. And, of course, what I’m here to talk about – journaling! With ipads, phones and computers, we neglect putting pen to paper; a practice that will help you feel alive, experience your truth, improve your relationship with your self and give you sense of safety and ground. This is one of the most dynamic, simple and freeing practices I’ve experienced.
So…grab a cup of tea or warm spiced milk, settle into your favorite chair, with your journal and pen and let’s journey into 2018!
Imagine for a moment that the past year of your life was written like a book. Reflect on your book’s main chapters by journaling and noting all the elements that unfolded throughout your year. Don’t overthink this process, just start writing!
CHAPTER ONE | What happened?
List your milestones both major and minor for 2017. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- major events: weddings, travel, job changes, promotions, completed projects, holidays, local or world events
- health: exercise regimens started or not started, diet changes, illnesses, injuries, healing
- people: new friends that entered your life, those who departed from your life, people who continued to be important in your life
- decisions, mistakes, surprises: that had a significant impact on your life
- additions: hobbies, jobs, projects, things you’ve tried for the first time, new places you’ve visited, new habits you’ve formed (better or for worse), mental/emotional tendencies that you’ve noticed
- subtractions: hobbies you dropped, old habits that are gone (for better or for worse), mental/emotional tendencies gone.
CHAPTER TWO | Impacts
What had the biggest impact on your personal successes and setbacks, highs and lows, joys and disappointments, gifts and trials? What are some things you hoped or feared would happen but didn’t. I like to create a line for each of the above!
CHAPTER THREE | Insights + Lessons + Patterns + Trends
Which ones from chapter 2 were most significant for your growth? Which ones taught you a lesson, gave you insight, showed you a pattern or trend in your life , changed your perspective on yourself or life, or changed your relationship with others?
Using the lessons, growth, insights from chapter three, think of a title for your book that describes 2017 for you? Feel free to add a subtitle too!
Given all that you’ve observed and learned about 2017, how is your life likely to unfold in 2018 if you make no changes? Where would it take you? Write a brief “afterword” for your book describing this.
Its natural to set goals, yet most times our goals are focused on outward expressions of what we want or what we want to do. To bring out the best in ourselves, to improve who we are rather than what we have or do, we can set both outward and inward goals that will aid in our spiritual growth.
- Aspirations – list 3-5 things that you would like to do, accomplish, become AND/OR stop doing or being in 2018.
- Priorities – suppose you only had one year to accomplish something. List 1-3 things that you would most want to do, accomplish or become, or stop doing or being in 2018.
- Reflection – for your answers in #1 and #2, write down how this make you happy. Are these what you really want? If needed, revise your answers.
- Goals – from answers #1 and #2, choose a total of three that are most meaningful and valuable to you. These will be your general goals for 2018.
- Support – what or who supports you in attaining your goals? e.g. friends, family, job, environment, time, money desire, skills or talents, clarity of mind, strong will, compassion, good habits, attitude, health, relationships, be specific.
- Obstacles – what stands between you and your goals? again: job, friends, bad habits, health challenges, lack of time or money, conflicting desires, insufficient motivation, fears, be specific.
- Possibilities – my favorite part! Brainstorm and write down what you could do to move toward your goals in the following areas. Think how to draw upon your personal supports from above to help.
- relationship with others
- leisure time activities
- habit patters
- attitudes/perspectives on life
- spiritual life/practices
- Commitments – which possibilities will you really commit to? Circle the ones above as your commitments for 2018. Worthwhile goals are those that:
- you really feel deeply in your heart and are ready to pursue. “I should do it” is not enough
- be clear and specific – vague goals and commitments won’t take you far
- challenge yourself – nothing worthwhile is attained without effort
- are these realistic for you? Do you have to many goals or are they to difficult?
- Practice – post your commitments where you’ll see them often and share your goals with a close friends, colleagues or family members. The more you visualize these and talk about them, the stronger the ray of desire from your heart and the more you will magnetize them!
I would love to hear how this journaling ritual supports you into moving into your best year!