Looking Backward, Looking Forward


Looking Backward, Looking Forward
A New Year's meditation to help you gain the most in 2012.

1. To begin, find a location: the beach, home alone or with friends, near a favorite tree in the park, in an empty church. Find a place that suits you, where you're not likely to be interrupted or distracted, and that is a comfortable place for you to do the next step. Or, close your eyes and go to a favorite place in your imagination.

2. Then, do a purification ritual: Take an herbal bath, wash your hands, run or do your exercise routine, drink pure water, sing, dance, meditate, surround yourself with white light, do yoga or pray -- whatever feels cleansing to you, and will help you get into an open frame of mind for working with your spiritual and emotional energy. Designing your own purification is the beginning of taking charge, and learning to use energy in the most effective way for your individual, unique needs.


3. Once you have purified, review your past year. Do this in a detached, objective frame of mind -- it is not an exercise in complaining, blaming yourself, or regret. Instead, gather information you will use in shaping the new year. Consider what you like about what you've done, what you want to continue, and what you want to change. Write it down if you like, tell someone else, send it in an email, or simply think privately about it.

4. Now, choose a focus for the coming year. You can pick a specific project, like starting a new routine or activity or giving up a bad habit, or you can pick something more abstract, like improving your health, or communicating better with your partner, or being more accepting of yourself or others. Don't worry about whether your choice is enough for the entire year. You can refocus later, when you've accomplished this first goal. In fact, smaller goals are usually better -- they aren't so overwhelming, and they seem possible to accomplish, so you have more energy. You may want to write it down or record it in some way, discuss it, or just keep it in your heart.

5. Once your project is settled, open yourself up to the help that is available to you. At this point, you don't know what form that help will take: it may be friends, surprises, help, miracles, or information or money may appear from an unexpected source. Resolve now to be alert for that help, and to accept it graciously and gratefully when it comes. Give thanks for it in
advance, and also for the opportunity that this year can be.

6. Find a way to close the ritual: have a cup of herb tea, a shower or steam bath, make a respectful bow, burn or archive what you've written, pray, dance, or sing. What you are doing is focusing your spiritual and emotional energy and making a commitment to yourself to carry out this new focus. 

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