I love New Years Eve. It’s also true that I used to really dislike it. There were loads of expectations around having the more glamorous time ever, going to the best parties, and generally having the most fun. It always felt like a let-down.
But over the years, I’ve honed some New Years rituals that feel meaningful and set me up for joy, intentionality, and deep love at this time of year.
The result? My Complete Guide to How to Plan Your Sacred Year: rituals to create intentionality, self-care, and compassion in your year ahead. I hope you love it, and that if you’re looking for more you join me for the Plan Your Sacred Year workshop on January 18th or check out my signature course, Sacred Focus, where we dive super-deep into all of this.
Setting the stage
One of my most important New Years rituals is spending the holiday with people I love. I’ve spent most New Years with (roughly) the same crew of people for the last ten years. There have been some skipped years and the cast of characters rotates slightly.
For the turn of the year, I aim to be in a beautiful place with people I love. That’s it. It’s not about the best parties, but about the people and natural beauty.
Tools of the trade
Make sure that you have some sacred items around. They could be family heirlooms, some objects from nature, or however else you define “sacred”.
I usually bring with me a few crystals, gather some beautiful objects from wherever I find myself (e.g. seashells in Mexico, pinecones at Lake Tahoe, stones from Joshua Tree), my journal and a pen, plus a tarot (or oracle card) deck.
I usually use the The Wild Unknown deck to do a Year Ahead spread. Place one card in the middle for your year’s theme, then select a card for each month in the year ahead.
You might also do some meditation, journaling or walking in nature. I do all of these, since they’re part of my foundational self-care. You could also incorporate the natural elements into your practice. I like a good soak in hot water, myself.
Planning Your Sacred Year
Rather than setting pie-in-the-sky or numbers-based goals, I break my year planning down into something more intuitive (link) and self-compassionate. For me, goals and resolutions don’t tend to have the same resonance.
Instead, I focus on three main areas when it comes to my year-ahead planning:
A word of the year
Intentions for the year ahead
A word of the year
Using Susannah Conway’s Word of the Year course (which is free!), I spend time as early as November figuring out what my word for the coming year will be. In short, my word for the year is a combination of:
How I want to feel during the year ahead
What I need — this could be comfort or a kick in the pants
What I want to embody in my everyday
This helps envision what I want the year to be. From there, I can fill in the details. The what, the who, the where, and so on — until I build a year ahead that feels like my word. This word often leads me to more questions — and a phase of intention-setting. (Want to know how intentions are different from goals? Read my post about that over here.)
My word for 2018 is GOLDEN.
Here’s what that means to me:
You can read my past word of the year posts here:
Intentions for the year ahead
Again, this is not about what I intend to accomplish. It’s not about numbers in my business or any kind of quantifiable outcome. This is about how and where I want to show up. My intentions? They’re really about attention.
They answer the questions: What do I want more of? What am I ready to release? How do I want to respond to what has happened in my past and greet what will happen in the future?
Which means that I’m really asking: How will I take care of my heart?
My intentions are about my word in action. They provide the map for where my word could take me — and how I’m willing to let that word transform me. These provide a useful foundation where we can start to build the themes of our year.
I find that intentions are a more compassionate and flexible approach to envisioning the year ahead. No matter what curveballs life throws at us, we can return to our intentions.
My intentions for the year ahead:
Last, but certainly not least: Sacred Focus
Sacred Focus was my first word/phrase of the year that I ever chose. Or rather, it chose me. It landed in my lap like a puff of dandelion pollen and I’ve never been the same.
If you’re new to the concept, Sacred Focus is the 3-5 areas of life where you’re placing your most heartfelt attention in any given phase of life. This is where we choose to show up excellently.
Your Sacred Focus, once you choose it, is the heart of your life. This is where our intentions and our energy are funneled into impact.
Sacred Focus needs both of its pieces always. It’s not just about the sacred piece, where magic randomly comes into our life. It requires the practice, devotion, and discernment of Focus. Nor is it all focus. It asks for spirit to guide us.
My Sacred Focus for 2018*
*Although I take myself through the Sacred Focus process at least twice a year, this is what I’m currently focused on for the year ahead.
Want more resources to plan your sacred year ahead?
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