Finish Strong in ’23…For a Great ‘24

In the dance of the Earth and Sun, as well as the human calendar, the next three weeks offer a powerful opportunity to re-set your life.

For many people, the End of the Year is a busy, stressful time.  If often involves frantic last-minute shopping, extensive preparations for Christmas, travel and/or entertaining, and spending time with folks you wouldn’t normally have much to do with if they weren’t family.

My recommendation is to do your best to avoid getting caught-up in the busy-ness of the Season and use this precious window of time to slow down and spend as much quiet time as you can with yourself.

Three keys to having a victorious End of Year (EOY) cycle are:

Be Still

The word “solstice” means a stopping or standing still of the sun.”  The sun appears to come to a stop before reversing its direction across the sky.

The Winter Solstice, is of course, the shortest day of the year when there are the most hours of darkness.

The time before, during, and after the winter solstice is an ideal time for each of us, to follow the sun’s example and be still.

In Psalm 46, we are advised to “Be still and know that I AM God.”

I was raised as an atheist and never heard this famous verse until I was in my early 20s.  I recognized its importance as soon as I heard it. However, stilling my hyperactive mind seemed like an impossible task.

Many years later, I learned from the sage American teacher, Adyashanti, that I didn’t need to still my mind.  I could just shift my focus to the stillness that is always already present.

The simplest place I know to find that stillness is in the gap between the end of each exhalation and the beginning of the next inhalation.  Once I find it there, I notice that the field of stillness/silence/awareness remains present when the breath moves; in fact, it is always present, even in the midst of vigorous activity or loud noise.

I’ve also noticed that when I’m on Mount Shasta, particularly at the sacred sites, the stillness seems to be amplified and much easier to notice.

If at all possible, plan to take a retreat or at least a Sabbath day on or around the Solstice.  Slowing down and immersing yourself in the stillness will help you to deeply come home to yourself.

Let Go and Forgive

As the EOY approaches, take some time to review the past year.  Be grateful for all the gifts Life has offered you.  Also, see if there’s anything that happened that you’re still upset about, perhaps judging yourself or others.

Judgment acts like poison in our psyche.  It robs us of peace and can cause illness in our bodies.

So, if you find residual judgment while doing your EOY review, take some time to release it so you won’t carry that poison into the new year.

Here’s a simple, effective method for doing this important work:

  • When you feel residual judgment/anger/regret/etc., be grateful that it’s coming into the light of your awareness so you have a chance to meet and release it. Relax into the feeling of gratitude in your heart.
  • Find where it’s most strongly present in your body.
  • Breathe into that spot with grateful/compassionate awareness. Don’t try to get rid of the contraction; just feel into it.  You may be surprised to notice that the negative emotions quickly begin to dissipate.
  • If the pain is still present after a couple minutes of relaxing into it, imagine the exhalation going out through the place where there’s the strongest remaining contraction and carrying the old energies out of your body and consciousness.

Receive Fresh Vision for the New Year

My final recommendation is to take time to receive inspiration and fresh vision for the New Year.  December 31 and January 1 are particularly powerful days to do this.

Here’s a simple visioning process I often share with clients:

First, do a meditation to go into a relaxed space.  Then, imagine a movie screen appears in your inner vision.  A highlight film of the year 2024 is about to be shown.  The movie will include picture, sound, as well as the feelings you have as you’ve completed the things shown in the movie.  Kick back and enjoy the movie.  When it’s over, write down what you saw.  Then, write down some simple, doable steps you can take in the first two weeks of ’24 to begin to live your highest vision more fully.

So, don’t miss out on the precious opportunity Life offers during this potent time.  Use the EOY cycle to re-set your life so you can truly get a fresh start in the New Year.

For information on sacred site tours and spiritual retreats on Mount Shasta, please click here.


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