Happy New Year, everyone!
I love the last week of December. These are the days when we look ahead to the new year and see a clean slate just waiting for us to fill. Truth is, we get to design anything we want. In order to be most effective with this process, it is vital that we get very clear about what our desires are. Yet, if we don’t take time to clear out the old stories, hurts and paradigms that have kept us stuck, our dreams will simply fall by the wayside. Both parts of the process are important.
Each year about this time, I lead a ceremony where I have participants examine the past 365 days and write down what they want to release. I encourage people to list old hurts, judgements, resentments, worn out beliefs and ideas that keep each person small. I have them look at fears and excuses that have prevented them from moving forward in the direction of their dreams. They write it all down, and then we burn it.
The process does not stop there. Folks have created an energetic vacuum in their imagination and consciousness that they then intentionally fill with their vision for the new year. Nature abhors a vacuum, and unless we purposefully create an image of something that we want, we end up repeating what came before and doing things from our default settings.
Having a vision for our lives puts new meaning into every action and keeps us focused on what we want instead of what we don’t want. The smallest acts become sacred as we see them part of a greater whole. There is a great story I once heard about three stonemasons working side by side. When asked what they were doing, the first says that he was laying stone. The second states that he was building a wall, and the third exclaims that he was creating a cathedral to the glory of God. Three men doing the exact same task, yet a greater vision brought joy and purpose to the third man’s routine tasks.
This becomes even more powerful when we realize that our visions are not simply selfish pipe dreams; rather they are an invitation from Life itself to expand and express more through us. We learn to see our dreams as the means by which we will grow and evolve into our next stage of becoming. In my book, Do Greater Things: Following In Jesus’ Footsteps published by Unity House, I say, “Our dreams are God’s way of nudging us to expand our capacity to participate in and contribute to life. Our desire for a better life is the catalyst for our growth and evolution. It is the channel through which God shares itself in our world . . .”
That is why is it vital to to ask, “What do I want?” And when you ask this question, I am not talking about the superficial desires, I am talking about the longings that will not leave you alone. I am talking about your dream that has been there for a long time, begging you to pay attention and take action.
Begin this stage of the process by asking yourself, “What conversation do I want to have a year from now? Who do I want to be?” And most importantly, “What do I want to accomplish and contribute?” Allow the mental pictures to come to mind. As you capture these images, you begin to harness and direct your energy accordingly. You build belief in you and in the possibility that your dream just might come to pass. Consequently, you begin to act in ways that align with the new image of yourself.
While it is important to keep your vision in the forefront of your mind, it is also important to maintain balance by staying present for the gifts available to you right where you are. Day by day as you direct your attention and actions toward your vision while expressing deep appreciation for your current life, you will find that you are no longer just laying stone, rather you are building a life to glorify the the Giver of Life itself!
Here’s to 2012 being your best year yet!