I hope everyone is having a lovely winter holiday season!
This year, I have been taking the time between Winter Solstice and New Year’s Day as a “time out of time,” something I learned from Joanna Powell Colbert, who learned it from Waverly Fitzgerald. It is a time to rest, reflect on 2017, and begin dreaming for 2018.
As much as possible I’ve been letting myself use this as a retreat time, and to take a break from work, chores, and any other things I feel like I “should” be doing. I’ve been taking rambling nature walks (I’d fallen out of the habit of this, and I’ve missed it!) and doing some nature journaling. I’ve been spending my evenings quietly reading, playing in my journal, writing, and reflecting. I’ve spent the past couple of days doing a review of 2017 using a method which I also learned from Joanna Powell Colbert many years ago, and the next few days will be about dreaming up my goals for 2018, making a few plans, and creating vision pages for my dreams and goals in my journal.
I’m a firm believer in easing into the New Year, though. January is still quiet and dark, and it isn’t easy to find the energy to suddenly jump into several new projects. We don’t need to force ourselves to move against the natural flow of energy this time of year. We can spend all of January resting, reflecting, and dreaming if we would like to, gradually working our way into our new plans and projects as the days lengthen and we feel our own energy returning.
I wanted to share a few of my favorite ideas and resources for reflecting on 2017, and planning for 2018, and I hope some of them will be helpful if you find yourself wanting to take some time to retreat and reflect this time of year, too.
- Reflect on 2017 following the suggestions in Reflecting on the Year Gone By, by Joanna Powell Colbert. This is the method I’ve been using for many years to review the past year.
- Do a ritual to let go of your disappointments and challenges from 2017. Write them down and burn the paper, or put it through the shredder and toss it in the trash (outside the house would be best). Or write them on leaves with a soft pencil, and toss the leaves into a river or stream to be carried away (I think this is what I’ll be doing with my disappointments!).
- Do a Tarot Spread for the New Year, by Joann Powell Colbert. I’ve been doing this spread every year for many years, and it is always full of wonderful insights. If you did a New Year tarot spread last year, review it and see how it related to the events of this year.
- Ask yourself, “What is my heart longing for in 2018?” and use my Intuitive Collage technique to look for answers.
- Reflect on your tarot year card, and how it related to the events of the past year. Look at your upcoming tarot year card and consider how it may influence the upcoming year.*
- Start writing down some of your dreams and goals for 2018, and sketching out some rough plans and action steps to make them happen. Create a vision board of your goals (or several boards, one for each goal), or create vision collages in your journal with images and affirmations that inspire you. Try not to overwhelm yourself! Just choose two or three things to focus on for now, and give yourself permission to ease into them. You could use January as an information gathering time (for instance researching healthy eating, or finding reviews of yoga studios in your area if health and fitness is one of your dreams), rather than an action-taking time.
- Most importantly, schedule as much down-time as you can into the next week or two. It’s hard to figure out what we really want if we don’t have the time and space to hear our own hearts whispering to us. Silence is important. Doing nothing is important. Give yourself an hour or two in the evening to sit in silence with soft lighting and just daydream. Keep your journal handy to make notes of any ideas that come to you while you let your mind wander. You don’t have to make decisions now, just dream and make notes.
May 2018 be all that you want it to be!
*To determine your personal tarot year card, add 2017 (or 2018 for the new year)+your birth month+your birth day. For example, if you were born on 2/15, you’d add 2017+2+15=2034. Then add those numbers together: 2+0+3+4=9. Your personal year card would be 9, The Hermit. If the numbers add up to 22, your card is 0, The Fool. If they add up to 23 or more, reduce them again by adding the two digits together, for example if you have 28, 2+8=10, and your year card is 10, The Wheel of Fortune. This system was devised my Mary K. Greer, and more information about tarot year cards can be found in her books Tarot for Yourself, and Who Are You in the Tarot?