As this unprecedented year comes to a close, I want to share with you a powerful exercise that I have done for many years that allows me to reflect with hope as well as provide insight for the coming year. If you read this after the start of the year, no problem, since this can be done any time of year. It just happens to be a new year’s ritual for me.
You can choose a deck of spiritual cards or another meditative tool.
(1) First, I find a quiet place to do this exercise alone.
(2) Second, I light a candle and listen to soft music, spending about 10 minutes quietly reflecting on the previous year. I ask that my actions from that year be blessed and purified to seed new actions in the coming year.
(3) Next, I focus on the coming year. Using a chart or written sheet with questions and spaces for answers (people have created neat ways to record), I ask the following questions and draw at least one card per question to see what the “energy” of that question might bring. I then record my answers. I am able throughout the new year to reflect on the questions and cards drawn that I drew in this exercise. Here are the questions I ask and maybe some of these may inspire you:
What overall energy best describes the teachings for me in 2020?
What overall energy will best help me in the New Year 2021?
If (when) faced with challenges for growth in 2021, what is the best energy for me to remember?
To balance my daily living for 2021, what do I need to remember (regarding doing/being)?
In order to manifest my heart’s desires for 2021, what energy would be helpful?
For each month (I list them out), what will give me insight into the energy of that month?
What energy best reflects the “mental” picture for 2021?
What energy best reflects the “emotional” picture for 2021?
What energy best reflects the “physical” picture for 2021?
What energy best reflects the “spiritual” picture for 2021?
(4) I post this sheet with the completed questions and comments on a bulletin board or back of a door simply to glance at it periodically throughout the year for reflection. (By the way, if you are in a relationship, you can also choose individual as well as joint cards for certain questions.)
I wish you the VERY BEST in 2021 and look forward to a powerful year together!
Many blessings to you in 2021! –With gratitude, Cynthia
Your spiritual journey begins with this first step: Opening your heart to a sincere desire to renew the spiritual vitality of your life. Since it is truly a responsive universe, if you are sincere and open to your heart’s intuition, you will begin to see signs that point you toward your next step. You will begin to notice where you are investing your spirit—where you are being drained and where you are receiving a return on your investment.
The spiritual journey is also one of knowing that you have inside you what you are looking for. It is not about earning or acquiring something you don’t already have or about finding another person to complete you. It is about awakening to the spirit within you.
Three simple keys will help you to weave your spiritual journey into your daily life:
Live your life wholeheartedly with as much conscious, loving presence as you can. Hold the intent that you can contribute to your own balance and bring a greater harmony to your own and others’ lives. Pay attention to where you are investing your energy and stop the “leaks” that cost you your spirit.
Understand that spiritual practice is a path of deep relationships within your life. Begin your day by recognizing how you are connected to your spiritual principles, your friends, your family, and so on. Our relationships provide a mirror to us of ourselves.
Have gratitude for the moments of “grace” that you experience daily. Don’t live your life waiting for something to happen so that you can start really living. Live your life fully right now in this moment and every moment. It will take conscious thought to do this. It will require that you respond rather than react to the events in your life and in your relationships. But, yes, it can be done.
Taken to heart, these simple steps can transform your life and allow you to “awaken your spirit within.”
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
How often do you focus on the present moment? How often on the past or the future? Did you know that all real power exists in the current moment because our lives are always unfolding in the present?
So being present is about bringing your body, mind, and spirit into full alignment with what is actually happening at this exact moment in time. While you may make visits to your past to remember events or ideas, your mind doesn’t live there. Equally, while you may consider and dream about the future, you don’t do so to avoid the present.
What role does your ego play in all this? Well, your ego is generally concerned with keeping the past alive since it holds your personal identity. It is also concerned with being sure the future will happen because the ego holds that you still have to “become” or somehow experience life fulfillment.
Each of us has a “story line” which is derived from our life events. Your story will tell you that you are not enough and usually perpetuates the need for striving while it most often lacks a view of yourself as divine consciousness. The story often separates you from the idea that you are a “whole” and worthy being. Your ego will not want you to give up your drama.
The key is not to let your story limit your life–not to let your perceptions about who and what you are based on your history to stifle your real living and personal growth.
One way to keep your “story” in check is to learn to hold a witness viewpoint and to be able to rise above your life circumstances and look at the bigger picture of it all. With this added view, you are then able to look at your reactionary behavioral patterns and make new choices about how you are being in your world. And most important, how you are being in this present moment.
The act of forgiving both yourself and others will also free you from the past while honoring your current life as “enough” will help you accept each moment as the gift that it truly is.
At varying times in our lives, we encounter life passages. I’m not convinced there is a specific age associated with this time in our lives as much as a state of consciousness as related to our circumstances.
When we arrive at a place in our psychological/spiritual development in which we begin to feel that our outer world may not be supporting our inner world, this causes us to pay attention and make changes.
During these passages, certain feelings may arise:
we may feel unfulfilled or bored;
we may find that we have unrealistic expectations;
we may have an overly negative attitude;
we may feel uninterested in our life situation;
we may have work or family difficulties that were not expected.
It is at these times that we are often ready for change or what has been termed a “rebirth.” Our old compasses may no longer work and the new compass needs to be held differently. It may be a time to revisit our intentions and goals in order to course correct.
Also, throughout our lifetime, we must recognize that things cannot stay the same. Part of life involves change and growth. How else are we to learn?
So we can ask ourselves some questions:
“How might I see or participate in my current circumstances differently?”
“What am I avoiding feeling or doing and how might I embrace this?”
“Am I willing to change, and if so, how?”
“What have I not yet ‘become’ and am I willing to embrace this now?”
What plan might I create for myself and how can I take my first step?”
As we then embrace this time, instead of resisting the feelings and circumstances, we can see it as a twist or turn on life’s path that takes us into new realms that can further our life lessons.