We had some friends over for New Year’s, which was a lot of fun and just the right way to close out the year. Having a variety of people from across various social groups gather and enjoy one another’s company was a very real way for us to see how far we’ve come in Greensboro over the past 3.5 years. We really are starting to root ourselves, build community, and make this place home.
Finding New Ways to “Not Always Be Working”
In keeping with some of the things I’ve been reflecting on since reading
How about for you? If you have had a little time off over the holidays how did you spend your time? What did you do to rest and “not work?” Make a list of 3-5 things you did to
Activities for Reflecting on the Year
As we were planning the party, my wife, Emily, suggested that we set some things out for crafts. I jumped on the idea. I know that time really is just a construct, and our fast-paced, overworked lifestyles are products of consumer-capitalism, AND I like the turn of the year because it creates a helpful boundary-marker to stop, review, and reflect on all that I have learned and experienced over the year. Whether you do something like this around the turn of the New Year, or some other time of your own choosing, I believe that the practice of an annual review is really the important part here. For me, I treat it as an important part of my spiritual practice and helping me keep a healthy frame of mind.
But let’s face it, conducting an annual review with house guests for a New Year’s Eve party would even be overly nerdy for me. So, I came up with something else, seven different choices for reflection on the past year and intentions for the coming one. I wrote these seven activities down and then we laid out a bunch of magazines, scissors, tape, card box, paper, stationery, etc. for people to use in their crafting. The cool part is that folks actually did it and had fun with it! One of the things, I learned from this experience is that for some, having an activity or something to do with your hands actually makes parties far more fun/bearable and conversation easier. By the end of the night, connections were made and people actually shared what they’d made.
The seven New Year’s activities:
- Pick a word for the year
- Create a personal vision board for 2019
- Get rid of something – write something down from 2018 that you want to get rid of, tear it up, and throw it away. This was an idea from E.M., our 9-year-old, and I thought it was pretty fantastic.
- Questions to respond to:
- 5 Big/Important memories from 2018
- 3 Goals for 2019
- How will you take care of yourself and others in 2019?
- Create a Deck of Cards – with words, quotes, images of guiding and affirming thoughts (I borrowed this idea from
- Write a letter
- To someone who meant a lot to you last year
- A letter of encouragement to yourself at the close of this year
- To your future self to be opened on New Year’s Eve 2019
- Draw Three Images that represent 2018 or will represent 2019 for you
Of these seven choices, I saw most everyone doing one of three: The Vision Board was the biggest hit (photo above), then drawing images, and then writing a letter. If we do this again next year, I’ll probably only have three choices.
I did a vision board as well. Here it is and here is the poem I put on the back that you cannot see in the picture. I think it is a beautiful reminder of different times, phases, and the need for retreat:
It’s time to bring Saint Francis in,Robert Morgan ‘Retreat’
the statue in the yard that stands
through summer heat and autumn rain
to welcome birds and butterflies
to water cupped between his hands.
For Brother Ice and winter thaw
might crack his terra-cotta flesh
and break the saint to shards and bits,
so friar must become a monk
in the cellar or barn until
the spring releases him to preach
to insect, mockingbird, and field.
How about for you? Do you have any rituals or practices you like to use to help you close out the year or one time period and move into another? Did you do anything this year to help you transition, reflect, or rest?