A writing friend of mine, Laurel Siena, shared an end-of-the-year tradition that her family celebrates as Christmas approaches. Each member spends the day looking back upon his or her individual heartaches and failures, committing them to symbols, objects and writing. Some are shared, some not. "But all of them are baggage--the things of the past that serve no purpose in our future," she says. And so they sit around a solemn fire in the evening and burn them. The next day, "with clean hearts, we will begin to decorate our new living tree...." What a marevelous tradition.
I have another friend, Dick Richards, who used to turn off his phone and spend the last day of the year in reflection. In his words, he did an annual inventory of his life. Where had his personal values carried him through, and where had his character flaws brought him up short? Where did he need to improve, and what or who did he need to let go? After he completed hs inventory, he brought out the written inventories he'd done over 40+ years and read through them. (You can see why he took the entire day and into the night.) He said the ritual allowed him to see how he was growing into the man that God created him to be. It was a lifelong process and he focused on the journey rather than any destination of having "arrived." He died April 29, 2009, at the age of 82, but his tradition is carried on.
On a personal note, I need to let go of atttidues and behaviors that no longer serve me. I need to adopt this idea of reflecting and letting go, so I plan to put pen to paper and inventory my assets and shortcomings. Once I've cleared my head, heart and soul, I plan to start 2016 with a new tradition. I'm going to buy an empty mason jar, and throughout the year, I'm going to write down on little pieces of paper the good things that happen to me--my daily blessings. I got the idea from Danette May, but I'm making it my own. Then on my next birthday (New Year's Eve), I'm going to open my "blessings in a jar" and read all about my amazing year.