I hope the beginning of your holiday season has been enjoyable and full of ease, and that you move through this last month of 2021 with presence, intention, and integration; the year is not over yet!
Ending strong, turning the page, tying up loose ends, completion and closure… No matter which description holds the most personal resonance, how you end something plays an integral part in beginning something new, including a new year.
…because if we’re still holding onto the past—whether it’s a relationship that ended, an attachment to how we thought something should have gone but didn’t, even protection of the ego through habits and thought patterns that no longer serve us—is there actually space for anything else?
(The answer is no, there isn’t.)
Our past continues informing our present—and therefore also our future—through a lack of presence to, and acceptance of, what actually is, right here, right now
I was on a call a few weeks ago where someone shared:
There’s a difference between intention and embodiment.
That felt profound yet validating to me.
We can have intention, but if we haven’t worked on integration, it will be hard to have the embodiment required for follow through. The type of follow through that ensures we don’t throw time—one of our most precious resources—away.
Sometimes that does require us to go back before we move forward.
Astrologically speaking, 2020 was a year of collective upheaval, and 2021 was a year of personal upheaval. Both intending to prepare us all for a global up-level.
This month, before rushing through the holidays and thinking about what your New Years Resolutions should be, I invite you to spend some time in review. This way you’re able to start the year off with grounded clarity.
Below are a few sets of questions you can use to get yourself started.
1. Investigate what lessons came up for you this year.
- What personal pain points were highlighted?
- What felt really difficult? Why did it feel difficult?
- Were there ways it could have been easier if approached or handled differently?
- Where did the challenges you faced manifest? At work? In relationships? Between family members? Within your self?
- What were the lesson or lessons trying to teach you? Trust? Balance? Self care? Autonomy? Personal security? Sovereignty? Self worth?
- Is there any crossover in theme between where the challenges showed up and the lessons they were trying to teach you? For instance, you could have faced challenges at work and with family members, but the underlying lessons for them both could be around self worth and a need for boundaries.
With the awareness of what your core lessons for this year were, you can take time to see how you can best integrate them into your life.
Sticking with the theme of boundaries, one intention you could have for 2022 is acknowledging where you leak energy, over-give, feel drained or taken-advantage of, and then set clear(er) boundaries for yourself and express them to the other people involved.
Boundaries are the structure you give yourself to thrive in. Others may not like them, as they were likely benefitting from your lack of such, but they’ll adjust. And remember:
Integration comes through practice.
In this scenario, integration comes with practicing the implementation and maintenance of boundaries. Integration comes from recognizing where you softened the borders, and where you compassionately course corrected.
2. Ask yourself what worked this year.
- What went well this year? Why do you think it did? Mind you, what went well this year could have been that you were more gentle on yourself. That you took more breaks or time to process, rest, and recharge. Success can look like self care as much as it can look like starting a new business or getting a promotion at work.
- Were there any mindsets, practices, or habits you had in place to ensure success?
- When did you feel your best this year?
- Can you pinpoint exactly what those feelings were?
- What was going on in your head, heart, and life in those moments?
Often times, the things that go well are related to reaching a desired feeling state. Perhaps the process was non-linear or chaotic, but the desired feeling of accomplishment, happiness, or inner peace was met, and therefore you acknowledge it—whatever “it” is for you—as having gone well. A success!
Said a different way, what we want is often not the thing itself, but the feeling(s) we get relating to having or accomplishing it. The feeling then creates the overall essence of it having worked and gone well …or not.
Once we can recognize the feeling(s) we want to feel, and what we do when we feel the desired feeling, we can choose to do more of that. We can choose to have the thoughts and take the actions that in doing so, elicit the desired feeling.
Maybe you think you want a promotion, when what you’re looking for is not necessarily more responsibility, but feeling seen, heard, valued, and respected for the work you’re already doing.
That might require you to see, hear, value, and respect the work you’re doing, first. Or that might require you to set up a meeting with your boss to be honest about how you’re feeling versus how you’d like to feel. Or that might require you to get curious and creative with other ways to achieve these desired feelings, or even other places you already feel them.
3. Ask yourself what you will leave with 2021 in order to be fully present to the gifts of new in 2022.
- What choices did I make from scarcity mindset?
- What choices did I make that drained my energy and finances this year?
- What do I need to do, be, have, and learn in order to accomplish integration of lessons learned? …in order to accomplish feeling the way I want to feel? …in order to accomplish making my dreams a reality? …in order to be the most clean and open vessel to receive the gifts of new in 2022?
When you’re able to see patterns or habits that don’t serve your higher purpose—even if they’re comfortable—when you’re able to see the limiting belief(s) they might come from and the parts of you they’re trying to protect, you can choose a different choice.
Speaking to your partner from a place of fear could mean you say hurtful things to them that you don’t actually mean, damaging the integrity of the relationship while you’re at it.
Words are powerful tools, prayers, spells that can destroy as much as they can heal.
Taking time to learn non-violent communication skills in order to have more meaningful and connective conversations could be your next step.
Seeing what the fear you often speak from is, as well as seeing which self-soothing practices bring you back to heart-center will allow you to speak with more loving-kindness and say only what you mean. This has the power to create a stronger bond between you rather than tear the relationship apart.
A present and mindful approach to communication has the power to improve every relationship you have—including the one with yourself. It creates more openness and receptivity for connection and possibility… gifts of new in 2022?
To close, I’ll share this… I recently learned that male deer shed their antlers every winter in order to grow a newer, larger, stronger pair the following year. It is another example of the natural cycle of things: birth, life, death, rebirth and reminder that
Releasing the old can create space for something even more nurturing and joyful. Equally, releasing the old can be as nurturing and joyful as introducing something new.
And maybe December isn’t the month for you to do that. For those of you experiencing a cold winter at present, allow yourself to flow in reflection of seasonal cycles. With that, you have a few months into 2022 to continue the physical slow down and introspective inventory before the blooming colors of spring rebirth grace our presence both outside and within.
Take what resonates, leave what doesn’t.
Be gentle. Be still. Be curious. Be love.
With Love and Gratitude,
Photo Credit: Philipp Pilz