Since some of you have contacted me requesting my “Year Closing Exercise” I thought I’d post it on my blog again, as a holiday gift from my heart to yours! I have tweaked it a bit as I do every year, and have just added a brand new powerful emotional/forgiveness clearing exercise. It came through me as I was contemplating how I might come to peace with respect to a personal friendship that ended this year. As I completed it myself, I was in awe of the powerful emotional healing I experienced.
This is a two part exercise. First we acknowledge and celebrate ALL that you’ve accomplished in 2008. Take the time to acknowledging yourself, your efforts, your contribution, your successes and wins and even the perceived failures as there were gems to be gleaned from them too which makes them a success! Hopefully you’ve been expressing self gratitude all year round – and if not, this is the time to really let yourself have it!! Celebrate!!
In part two, you get to clean up any unfinished business – whether that is on a physical or emotional level. I love what Caroline Myss advices on wounded stories – tell it three times and then move on! I see the end of the year as a good time to consciously move on; to release any disempowering stories and the emotions connected to them that affect your energy so as not to drag them into the New Year. Sometimes letting go of the story and feelings IS as simple as deciding to do so, while other times it isn’t as simple as that. When it isn’t that easy, there is often more to learn from the experience, for our own personal growth and for that reason I have included some exercises that help facilitate the release of as much as possible now.
Ideally, you complete the exercises prior to the year’s end, consciously entering the New Year full of gratitude and ready to focus on what you want to consciously create in 2009.
In summary, part one is about reviewing and celebrating the year. This is an opportunity to recall and possibly gain further awareness or insights from the events of 2008. Part two is about releasing, forgiving and expressing gratitude for all of the events that made up 2008.
The exercise may take you from one hour to as much time as you need to complete.
So go get your 2008 journal, diary, day timer, agenda and anything else that will help jog your memory of the past year as well as a pen and paper. Get nice and comfy, creating a sacred environment for yourself - light some candles, burn some incense and have some tea, wine or favorite beverage.
The Year’s Review
Review the events of the year and take some time now to gain whatever more you can from the experiences. We all know the value of hind sight – time and distance provide a new perspective from which we can glean more insights from the more challenging and memorable events of our life.
Starting with January of 2008 ask yourself the following questions and work your way forward to now:
What were the key events of 2008
What did you learn as a result of these experiences? What else?
Who was involved in your life this year and in what capacities? What part of you did they reflect? What part of you, reflected in them, did you accept or reject?
What and who assisted in your growth this year?
What obstacles have you overcome?
What goals did you accomplish?
How did you contribute your ‘self’ and talents this year? To whom?
How were other people impacted by your contribution to their lives over the past year? (Be generous here!!)
What goals did you set and did not yet accomplish? Are you complete with this goal? Is it time to let it go or recommit with same alterations perhaps?
Did you stretch beyond your perceived abilities - meaning do things you didn't think you could or would have done in prior years.
How are “you” different from who “you” were in January of 2008
Cleaning up 2008
If you find yourself having any unpleasant emotional responses in respect to any of the events of the past year, here are some methods to use that will serve to guide you towards the core of these emotions helping you release them. No need to do them all and doing a combination may be valuable. The variety is offered to honor that one method does not necessarily fit all!
1. Ask yourself: What is still triggering me? What more can I learn from this event that I simply haven’t recognized yet? Take a step back and look at the experience objectively, as if it happened to someone else. See yourself in the situation, as if you are looking at a movie. From this position, what do you notice that is new, different? What else can you now learn from this perspective that wasn’t as clear before? It may help to discuss the situation with someone who wasn’t involved.
2. Close your eyes, center yourself, take a few deep breaths… that’s right… right from the diaphragm. Picture the person that you still have an emotion towards in your minds eye, or think of them and feel their vibration. Ask them “What other message(s) do you have to offer me?” Listen. Then go within and ask if there is a message you have for them. Listen. If it feels appropriate to communicate a message directly to the other person, do your best to do so prior to the years end; by voice, in-person or by writing. If it does not feel appropriate to do so, write it down and then tear it up or burn it.If you did get a message for them, ask yourself how this message could possibly assist you as well. (often the advice we get for others applies to us as well ;) )
3. Close your eyes, center yourself, take a few deep breaths… that’s right…right from the diaphragm. Go over the experience in your mind. Notice the emotions that are arising within you. Are you being reminded of any other past event? If yes, what are the similarities? Can you recall any events just prior to the one you are exploring? What you are doing here is making a connection to how you attracted the experience to yourself in the first place and you may possibly recognize a pattern that you may be attracting. What you learn from the experience now, may assist you in not repeating the pattern again.
4. Write it out. Write out the experience and your emotions. While writing ask yourself questions to lead you to more understanding, such as; What does this emotion tell me about how I really felt? If I knew of another experience that had the same feeling connected with it, what might it be? How would I have interpreted this event without this feeling? What were the facts? What am I making the facts mean? What else could they mean? Is the feeling connected to the facts or what I made the facts mean? What happens emotionally when I change the meaning of the facts? Continue with any questions to come to you until you feel complete.
This final exercise is powerfully effective in connecting with any remaining emotions such as hurt, regret, disappointment, betrayal or even anger that you may still be feeling towards a person. Over the past year many of us had some more challenging experiences that contributed to our growth, however may have included painful circumstances in order to facilitate our evolutionary journey. These included experiences that may have felt like you’d been betrayed, abandoned, lied to, deceived or just left you confused. If when you think of the person(s) involved and are still feeling like authentic forgiveness is a big leap, then this final exercise may provide the deeper insights and lesson to free your self, allowing forgiveness to heal and release. I do feel a responsibility to add a word of caution before completing this one:
Do not complete this exercise if you are healing emotions from sexual abuse, physical abuse or rape. This exercise is not ideal for extremely strong emotions that a person may have from more traumatic experiences, where they may have been harmed physically or deeply psychologically. If you have had such an experience and are looking to release the emotions associated with such traumatic events, please speak to your psychologist or a licensed therapist.
For this exercise you’ll need a mirror and a candle. You can either stand or sit in front of one, ensuring you’ll be in a comfortable position to complete the exercise.
Light the candle, positioning it within easy view, while consciously connecting to your higher self, god self, greater self – that part of you that is loving and wise beyond reason.
Once you feel this connection, look into the mirror and think about the person whom you still are not feeling at peace with, that you want and are ready to let go of.
Thinking of this person, while looking into your own eyes, imagine that you are looking into their eyes. Notice how you feel as you think of this person and see them in your reflection.
Whatever emotion you are feeling towards them, you are also feeling towards a part of you.
Ask: “ What part of me is this feeling about?” Listen for the answer. If the answer feels incomplete, simply take a deep breath in and out, remaining focused on seeing their face and eyes as you are looking at yours, connected to your greater self and either repeat the question or request “Tell me more.”
When you feel you’ve connected to the deeper insight or lesson, ask: “How do I let this feeling go? What is required of me?”
Wait for the answer.
Remember all choices are yours. Follow the guidance of your greater self. If for any reason you do not feel able to fulfill it’s (your) request, continue the conversation by stating so and ask how else…. Continue conversing with your greater self, while maintaining eye contact in the mirror and imagining it is the other person whose eyes you are gazing into.
Ask; “Is there anything else I need, in order to be at peace with …. (name of person) and the part of me they represent?”
Continue asking your greater self questions until you experience looking at into your eyes, imagining them looking back at you, and feeling either at peace, love, forgiveness, or neutral.
Once this feeling is present, thank them for the gift of serving you this way – providing you can do so authentically – or simply say thank you.
Look away from the mirror.
Blow out the candle with a feeling of gratitude for you connection to your greater self.
Exercise is complete.
If you need to do this exercise for more that one relationship, then I recommend when you are complete each one fully as mentioned above. Get up and have a drink of water and then return to the spot and start again with the lighting of the candle. This is to ensure the connection to the prior person has been completed so that the next will have your complete energy and attention.
If none of these exercises work for some of the experiences, that is fine. It may not be the right time for you to be complete with the experience. Accept that you have done the best you can for now and trust that when the time is right, resolution will happen in the best way possible.
Once you have reviewed the year, acknowledge in writing all that you are grateful for, and all you are ready to release and/or forgive. Be sure to include your accomplishments, goals achieved, growth stretches, and obstacles overcome.
Release and Forgive
In respect to all the events and people involved, complete the following sentences:
I bless and release my experience of these events........ (list the various events)
I bless and forgive and release .......(name of person) Thank you for your active participation in my life.
Also take this time to release any outdated beliefs or attitudes that no longer serve you.I bless and release my past need to……. (name belief or attitude you are releasing) I am grateful that it has served me in the past and brought me to this point in my life.
Celebrate with Gratitude
I believe we are all aware of the power of gratitude! Focus on your heart center, allowing it to fill with love and appreciation as you complete the following sentences:
I am grateful for........ (brief summary of event)I am grateful for……. (name of person and briefly why).
I am grateful to have had ……. (name the impact of your contribution)…. impact on….. (person, people or system you impacted).
Once complete, if you are able to safely do so, burn these papers with the intention that doing so symbolizes the rejuvenating transformation that fire brings, promoting new growth! If you are unable to do so safely, you can shred them by hand feeling the release and gratitude as you do so.
YEAH!!!! You have just created a vibrant, clear space within yourself having released the energy of 2008, creating space which can now be filled with your dreams and aspirations for 2009! The energy of gratitude that you allow to trail behind you, will naturally draw more for you to be grateful for in 2009.
Take some time early in the New Year to articulate what you want in your life, for your life and how you want to show up in 2009. What do you want to accomplish, contribute and how do you want to grow? Celebrate bringing in the year by create a fun collage that reflects your aspirations for 2009.
From my heart to yours - thank you for having contributed to my life in 2008 and I wish you all the best as you consciously create 2009. Happy Holidays!