For many years our family has celebrated the winter solstice as a way to mark the longest night and the shortest day, while reflecting on our own light and dark moments of 2016 and setting an intention for the year ahead.
Even with two to three months more of cold New England winter weather, this celebration is vital to fueling our internal hope that we have the resilience to navigate whatever lies ahead. Each passing day from this point onward signals that more daylight will be entering into our lives which means life is only going to get even better.
The December rituals that make this celebration and others so important are the memories that they create. Handed down from generation to generation, some old and some new, rituals give us all a sense of community and connectedness in such a fast-paced world.
- What rituals do you have?
- Why are they important? Where do they come from?
- Have you created any new rituals? If so, why?
Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful. – Margaret J. Wheatley
During our winter solstice celebration, we take time for reflection. During this high-intensity month of December which is marked by a commercial shopping frenzy, we reflect and ask:
- What went well for you this past year?
- What are you proud of?
- What didn’t go so well and why?
- What are you willing to let go of this year so that something new can enter next year?
Once we have reviewed the past, we pause and then set an intention for the year ahead.
An intention is narrowed down to ONE WORD ( not a phrase ) that sets the tone for how you want to live your life on a daily basis. This is not a goal which focuses on a fixed outcome.
Questions to ask to uncover your intention:
- How to want to be in the world this upcoming year?
- What do you most want to focus on for the ahead year?
- Regardless of the outcome, what values and aspirations do you want to exhibit this upcoming year?
- What is a one-word mantra that can keep you on track for the year ahead?
- What is a word that will help you learn more about you?
Christine Kane has a great worksheet to help you identify your intention and select the best word for you.
Do you like to set intentions or goals? What works for you? How do you figure out where you are headed next? When do you take time to pause?
2. Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
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