As fall gives way to colder weather and winter stillness, I find myself in a contemplative state of reflection and intention. It’s been a year of trial and error, ups and downs, and experimental joy.
This month has gifted moments of grounded presence, family, and friendship. I’ve been more present this December than I have in the past 15 Decembers.
To keep the positive energy going, I’m sticking to peaceful resolutions as we close out 2022 and move into the New Year. Here are a few of my personal favorite rituals.
Gratitude simply means taking the time to be thankful for the good in your life. With so much negativity reflected in the media, goodness can seem few and far between. It takes intention and practice to recognize the good things, especially when the world around us feels heavy.
Self-expression is personal, as is how you choose to express gratitude.
- Keep a gratitude journal
- Write a handwritten letter of thanks
- Acknowledge momentous occasions
- Open your mind and eyes to opportunities
- Offer practical help
- Be an active listener
- Practice random acts of kindness
- Be someone’s cheerleader
- Begin and end your day with thinking about what you appreciate
- Post positive notes around your home and office
- Create a vision board of what you’re thankful for
It’s normal to fall into a routine (and sometimes even a rut) when life gets busy or you end up experiencing more lows than highs. When we express gratitude, however, it helps even out the imbalance.
Focusing on the important things and the things for which I am thankful helps me to stay positive and optimistic about tomorrow.
Let go of obligation and welcome moments that bring joy. So often, the holidays and subsequent New Year are punctuated with obligatory visits and traditions.
I don’t particularly enjoy living life out of obligation. One of my most revered rituals, especially toward the end of the year, is to intentionally create the life that I want.
Creating and participating in purposeful moments means that you eliminate the things that do not serve you or your goals.
- Identify what fulfills you
- Set a morning intention
- Begin reducing/delegating/eliminating what drains you
- Before making a commitment, ask yourself if you actually want to do it
- Compromise necessary obligations; everything is negotiable
- Schedule time for yourself (just as you would for any other commitment)
- Look ahead: Envision how you want to feel and the things you want to accomplish
Purposeful moments are key to leading an intentional life. They are especially necessary and valuable for a peaceful and fulfilling end of the year.
Reflection is part of development. As we learn and grow from our experiences, it’s essential to look back at where we started. What was gained and lost? What could have been done differently?
I find that reflection grants me the opportunity to understand my flaws, process, and purpose. From big wins to big challenges, reviewing my efforts over the last year helps me feel grounded and confident.
Some of the ways Brian and I practice self-reflection include:
- Visiting a comfortable and familiar place
- Analyzing a past event
- Sitting in a quiet setting
Reflection helps us create a stronger sense of self, better relationships, and better boundaries. It gives us confidence and peace of mind as we go about our daily lives.
Decluttering is a monthly staple of mine! This much-loved ritual is a great way to wind down the year. Streamline and downsize your way into January. Beginning the New Year with a fresh start offers clarity and balance to focus on the days ahead.
As a fan of minimalism, I enjoy decluttering all kinds of areas of my life. I prefer to keep things simple. It allows me to quiet the noise and concentrate on the things that matter.
I often find myself drawn to minimizing physical clutter the most. Luckily, I don’t like surrounding myself with much “stuff”. However, things can still pile up from time to time. From junk mail and paperwork to old trinkets and irreparable items, clutter can easily and quickly accumulate.
Clearing clutter ultimately helps me clear my mind. There are many ways I choose to declutter my life:
- Toss junk mail and paperwork as it comes in
- Organize and delete incoming e-mails
- Repair what I can rather than unnecessarily replace
- Donate or sell items no longer in use
- Eliminate unfulfilling purchases
- Release relationships that do not serve me
Creating with our hands connects us back to ourselves. To create is to use our brain and process our thoughts in unique ways through visual problem-solving. The creative process is a journey. It allows us to be centered and present, away from the distractions of a constantly connected world.
Some of the ways Brian and I create are through writing, coding, cooking, and building. Most recently, we’ve enjoyed updating our balcony. We’ve also challenged ourselves to create authentic dishes from our heritages. Taking time to explore a craft fills us with curiosity and appreciation.
We hope whatever rituals you follow carry you through to next year in good health and happiness. Thank you for being a loyal reader. For those of you just joining us, we welcome you. Brian and I sincerely appreciate your interest!
Here’s to a peaceful and joyful end of the season. Stay tuned for 2023 adventures!