Self-reflection on New Year's Day: what's despicable and a challenge can also be a triumph

I spend several hours participating in a New Year's Day workshop (led by Becky Klett) thinking about and documenting how I want to live my days and get the most out of my experiences. I'll share some of it here, however it's more powerful to do this in community with others.

Becky asks, "How do you want to move through the year? What seeds do you want to plant? What do you want to clear out? What are you dreaming?" 

The process is reflective. I go inward without judgement (hard to do, try it).

I list my triumphs and challenges from the past year on a piece of paper. When I do, I notice that some of my challenges are also listed as my triumphs.

Then I tear up the paper and let go of these two lists, of the past! This is a practice of making space to allow for new.

After writing, I look and see where I might want to plant a new seed or transfer what I learned to another area of my life.  

I stretch and do asanas between my writing. 

Some poses remind me of times I feel open-hearted and capable, other poses I notice I tighten and close down. 

I try the asana flying half moon (very hard for me) and remember that life is by nature difficult. I lose my balance. 

Becky encourages us to fall out of a pose and getting right back up as a practice to take into my everyday life.

I take breaths and begin to envision and dream how the new year will look for me. 

I make up statements to support how I want to be as well as what I want to accomplish and experience. For example, "I will smile to myself when I walk, I will write every day, I will meditate, I will travel to..., I will spend time with..., I will study..., I will read...." 

There are some statements that appear on my list every year. Such as "I will practice unconditional caring about the happiness of another and let go of any thought of what I might get" and "I will not hide my mistakes, flaws, or fears--I will tell the truth." 

I write statements in these categories--intellectual, spiritual, emotional, physical. 

I'm specific.

I identify and write the way I'll aspire to live my new year dreams using one-word or simple phrases. 

For example, I write, "I will live with...


a tree's strength and flexibility

friendliness (with all aspects of myself and life)

From that list I'll circle one or a few words that will be my words for the year. 

My word last year was light as in Leonard Cohen's song, Anthem, where he says, "Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering, there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in."

This year my word is mindful.  

What is your guiding word this year?

You don't have to wait for the new year. These questions are for daily reflection also.