Yesterday, I completed a task I customarily set myself for the festive break – to transfer all important and dates and information from my old diary to the new one for the coming year. I’m talking about a paper diary rather than any kind of electronic one. I prefer to keep it that way as I enjoy the physical sensation of writing on ‘real’ paper.
The question then arose: ‘What do I do with the old, spent diary?’ – recycle? Shred and compost? Burn?
I decided this time to plump for a ceremonial burning and created a little ritual offering appreciation for the year that’s past, everything I’ve learned, the experiences I’ve had and all the sentient beings who’ve helped me along the way. That felt satisfying!
‘We bless this year for all we learned,
For all we loved and lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination.’
Here are some questions for reflection, inspired by John O’ Donohue and the experience of committing my old diary to the transformative energy of fire:
What dreams did I begin 2013 with?
Where did my eyes focus? Where was I blind?
When did I react and learn the lessons?
What else did I learn?
What new ideas alighted in my mind?
What differences did I notice in those closest to me?
In what ways did I neglect myself or others?
What did I begin that might endure?
How were my conversations?
What did I do for the poor and excluded?
In what ways did I honour my ancestors?
When could I have taken more risks? When could I have been more careful?
Where did I allow myself to receive: love, assistance, compliments, respect?
With whom did I feel most myself?
What touched me? How deep did it imprint?
What visitations did I notice from the past and from the future?
What did I avoid?
From the evidence, why was I given this year – 2013?
Living more simply is a lot about quitting, letting go, heartfelt endings. For many of us, stress is all too often present due to the complexity, over-stimulation and speed of modern life. Simplifying, de-stressing, becomes a path of weeding out what no longer serves us, thinning the superficial and meaningless, composting redundant habits, addictions, forms of communication and ways of relating.
In order to engage fully with the new, we first need to create the space, spare capacity and energy in our lives. This doesn’t mean forcing ourselves, through willpower, to take on ever more projects and tasks, but allowing ourselves to stand for what best serves us (…and therefore others too) and to say a firm ‘No’ to whatever it is that stands in the way of our calling.
Endings do not need to be wrenching, splitting, abandoning or any other kind of tearing apart. They can be inspired, joyful and resolute just like beginnings – graceful endings…
Thankyou to all of you for supporting my writing by subscribing to and commenting on this blog.
Wishing you a very happy and prosperous new year in every way.