Each of you is perfect the way you are ... and you can use a little improvement. ― Shunryu Suzuki
Your problem is you're afraid to acknowledge your own beauty. You're too busy holding on to your own unworthiness. You'd rather be a schnook sitting before some great man. That fits in more with who you think you are. Well, enough already. I sit before you and I look and I see your beauty, even if you don't. ― Ram Dass
Go you! You did it. You made it to another New Year!
Winter is a time of taking stock. At least in the northern hemisphere, the natural world isn’t worried about productivity. It’s focusing in, conserving, digging deep into the nutrients stored up from previous seasons. We just have turned the corner of winter's heart, and though we are now in the gradual swing back towards the light, it is still a dark and quiet time, with a view both back at the year we leave behind, and forward to the coming days.
The New Year tradition of my friend circle is something we call the Year In Review. We sketch back the previous year, sometimes through story-telling over New Year’s Eve dinner, sometimes through day-long creative vision boarding and crafting, weaving a tapestry that answers this question: What are you proud of from this past year?
It can be surprising the kind of victories, large but more often then not quite small, that make up a list like this. Big things I am really proud this year include fulfilling my dream of creating a Summer Solstice retreat (2018 dates coming soon!) and taking really good care of my body as I returned to graduate school. Little things (or more subtle things) include being able to express and process my anger directly in such a way that was truthful but didn’t shame or shut the recipient down and kept our connection; and simplifying my holiday gift-giving to be meaningful and easy. Even your failures or things you left incomplete can be reviewed with honesty and kindness. I had plenty of those to include in my review! This kind of review helps to have the loving eyes and memories of good friends. Just think: you got enough right that you made it here!
While the culture at large is telling you in oh-so-many ways to get your booty moving to lose those holiday pounds, to get organized, sell more whatever, move up, move out, move on—consider beginning this year with a pat on the back for all that you’ve already done to get here and and a deep bow inward to that which is is already always present, to the great and inextinguishable inner fire of your heart, and the sweet home of your body in which it resides.
Try this: sit a moment, listen to your breath, and notice what it's truly like to be alive in your body. What words come to describe that experience? Imagine what it would feel like in your body if, contrary to the messages of almost everything else out there, there was actually nothing wrong with you; nothing that needed to be fixed; nothing out of place or the wrong shape, color, size or circumstance. And if that were actually true, what kind of New Year dedication of action would you make? What would your thoughts, words and actions be like? To what service could you offer your actions? What, from that foundation of already-whole, is waiting to just naturally flow from you?
Flow is a water quality, governed by the moon and the Goddess. That's why what feels ripe for me as I enter 2018 is a deeper alignment with moon magic in my work and self-care. As I tuned in to New Year's Day super moon, she brought me my phrase for 2018: I am Here. This felt like an up-level from last year's I am ready. Phew! I'm super glad for that because 2017 was challenging! I have taken this new message as one of truly embracing who I already am, what I already have, and where my life is already full, ripe, and rich.
If Moon wisdom intrigues you, you can learn more about living in lunar alignment here. You can also put the dates for the Winter/Spring 2018 New Moon Dream Circles on your calendar, and if you are female-identified and want to dive deep into feminine-divine spiritual community, Moon Circle 2018 begins January 25th.
Finally, consider using this template to write your own Year In Review, and to call forth what is waiting to naturally flow from you in 2018. I added a couple other categories that felt helpful for me, but feel free to adapt to your needs. Then consider releasing it ceremonially in a fire (this is what I did!) or keep it to stay inspired and check back in over the next year. And please share in the comments! I’d love to hear what you are proud of, what you are building on and towards as you step into the new year.
May winter’s quiet and the new year renew your body and heart, bless your thoughts and work, and enliven you with serenity and courage!