Engaging in a year-end ritual is new to me. Having recently been introduced to the idea, I was curious enough to give it a try. So, with paper and pencil in hand, I spent the last five days responding to intriguing questions about the past year.
The objective was not to perform a laborious and exhaustive review. It wasn’t about measuring my performance against a self-imposed to-do list, either. Nor was it about determining to try harder or do better.
The year-end ritual I was engaging in was much kinder than that. The purpose was simply to consider the significance of the last 365 days and to allow myself to be awed by any transformations that occurred. In addition, there was also a place for both interacting with the present and sowing seeds for the future.
Recognizing the power inherent in a ritual such as this, I wanted to give it the ceremony it deserved. I began by setting aside two hours a day for five days in a row when I would be uninterrupted. The first 30 minutes were spent in meditation. Next, I wrote down whatever flowed out of me in response to 32 specific questions, while classical music serenaded my soul.
What I discovered is that each session enlivened and inspired me. When the exercise was completed, I was further amazed by just how much my life had changed from a year ago. What was most interesting, though, is that the changes did not come about by striving. They came about by listening.
Yet, it wasn’t about learning to listen to others. It was about learning to listen to the still small voice inside myself. Once I started to do that, amazing things began to unfold!
It was as if the universe (or rather, the maker and sustainer of the universe) noticed that I was paying closer attention, and delighted in nudging me this way, then that way, opening doors along the way that I never knew existed. At the time, the nudges seemed small and unimportant. Ridiculous, even. Yet, looking back, each of them led me down a path that became incredibly significant.
Now, twelve months later, I am ending this year with a very different life than the one I was living when it began. Although many things have changed, one stands paramount. I am no longer working to build someone else’s dream. Now, I am working to build my own dream.
Even so, I can’t take credit for any of it. Everything I needed for the journey of this past year I was given without ever asking for it. People, books, opportunities and inspirations were provided for me in inexplicable ways that continue to blow my mind. All I did was respond to the invitation to create the space and the conversation for allowing my true self to begin to emerge.
As I sit in the wonder of all I have learned from engaging in this year-end ritual, the overwhelming feeling I am left with is… gratitude.
For creating your own year-end ritual, see Sarah Susanka’s book The Not So Big Life on the Resources page of this website. Or visit NotSoBigLife.com.
If you are interested in learning how to hear, trust and act on your own inner voice, see Erec Lindberg’s book Just Say YES on the Resources page of this website. Or visit ErecLindberg.com.