New Year/New Decade: Rituals to Get You On Track

New Year/New Decade: Rituals to Get You On Track
20th Anniversary Issue

 

2020 holds the possibility of creating a new way of being. It is time to make clear choices that bring stability and peace. 2020 is not a time to patch the boat, it is the time to become the architect of your life.

In order to do this, you must have:

Connection – finding your tribe is crucial at this time. You become who you hang out with, so pick your friends and community wisely.

Research shows that people with friends are happier, live longer and are more creative and effective. Reach out and know that the days of dysfunctional independence are over.

Reflection – going in. Nothing new can emerge while you are frantically running around. You need silence and solitude to hear your inner guidance.

I often think of it as pushing a talk button to communicate with God, our higher self and the world.  We are constantly asking for information and feedback. Yet, without pushing the listen button, we miss the answers.

Taking responsibility for our actions. Almost everything in our lives is a reflection of our thoughts, beliefs, and actions.  Yes, there are exceptions: you cannot always control what happens to you, however you can learn to react in a positive (or at least neutral way). Life doesn’t always give us challenges that are easy, however, we can use them to develop strong spiritual muscles.

While in a wheelchair, my mother was asked how she could stand to be so dependent when for most of her life she was a real athlete and independent woman. Smiling, she said, “You make your own happiness.”

Releasing what doesn’t serve

I once heard someone describe holding on to past stories as carrying around old suitcases on your shoulders.

At different stages of our lives, some beliefs are necessary for our development. You wouldn’t give a 2-year-old matches or let them walk across a crowded city street alone. However, there comes a time, when you can safely light a match and cross the street by yourself.

Holding on to the old patterns that sabotage your success makes no sense.  Playing it small has no place in this new decade. Everyone’s light counts.

Holding on to old resentment and anger keeps you stuck. I have said this many times before. Forgiveness is not condoning someone’s bad behavior. It is simply taking back the energy you are giving them by holding on to your negative feelings. You need to reclaim this energy in order to create the life that you desire.

Physically clear out the old, delete old “junk” from your phone and computer, do the work it takes to emotionally clear out the stuck energy.

I personally love writing down everything that I have created or taken on that does not support me. Then I offer it to god/goddess and burn it. When the ashes are cool, I give them to the earth.

Integration of the learning of the past

Spend time integrating the learnings you have experienced. It is like starting out in the gym to get fit. You start with 2-4 sit-ups or pushups and work your way up to 10-20. Start small. Begin to create new habits that will build new neural pathways in the brain.

Ask yourself, “What is one small thing I can do differently today?” Then start. Small conscious consistent action steps build a new foundation for success.

New Birth – New Vision

If you could be or do anything, what would it look like? Dream big. Don’t get stuck in what is possible. The Universe loves to send you surprises. Remember it is not just what you create, it is who you are becoming.

Personally, I have had 5 different careers in my life, wrote my first book at the age of 50 and am still learning and exploring new possibilities.

If you knew that you were a spiritual master in training, what would you be doing now? What would your life look like?

This is why I love making Vision Collages at my Vision workshops only after we have spent a day or so engaged in the releases and reflections with our new tribe. Then you are open to new ideas and Divine downloads. Feel free to check out my website for details on Vision2020:Level Up.

Focus

In our fast-paced life, we can’t seem to stop and do one thing at a time.  Who has the patience to pause and honor an activity before and after we do it?

But think of the power of a Tea Ceremony – the people involved move deliberately, singularly focused on their tea. The person contemplated it. Then poured it. Then sipped it, tasted it, and, finally, swallowed it. The source of a person’s power comes from the rituals which teach patience, precision, attention, reverence… the honoring of everyday moments and the people we interact with.

Religions understand and leverage the power of ritual. In Judaism, blessings are as plentiful as iPhone apps. Wake up? There’s a blessing for that. Wash your hands? There’s a blessing for that. Experience something new? Eat a meal? Go to the bathroom? There’s a blessing for each one. Every religion I know has similar practices to make our experience of the world sacred.

Imagine if we started each meeting at work with a recognition of the power of bringing a group of people together to collaborate and an intention to dedicate ourselves, without distraction, to achieving the goals of the meeting. Perhaps even an acknowledgment that each person’s views, goals, and priorities are important and need to be heard.

Each time we pause, notice, and offer respect for an activity, it reminds us to appreciate and focus on what we’re about to do. And by elevating each activity, we’ll take it more seriously. We’ll get more pleasure from it.

The people with whom we interact with will feel more respected. And we’ll feel more self-respect.

Which means we’ll work better with each other. And produce better results.

The history of New Year’s resolutions begins with the Babylonians. Nearly four thousand years ago, this culture had a habit of making resolutions on the New Year. One common resolution focused on returning things that were borrowed from friends and neighbors: it was an act of goodwill that led to self-improvement through acts of kindness, honesty, and ethical behaviors.

The ancient Romans also made regular New Year’s resolutions, although their New Year occurred in March, not January, as we understand it today. The calendars differed at the time, and the season of Spring, beginning in March, was an ideal time to make New Year’s resolutions focusing on new beginnings and improvements.

In the year 153 BCE, a mythical king by the name of Janus was positioned at the beginning of the Roman yearly calendar; the Roman Senate named the first month of the year after the “two-faced” god Janus: a god associated with transitions and new beginnings.

The depiction of the god Janus literally represented the god’s ability to see all things present and past, and it also represented the different directions that new beginnings can and do take.

When Romans celebrated the New Year, they did so by asking for forgiveness from any of their enemies and offering gifts to each other.

The practice of making resolutions on the first day of the year is a time-honored, ancient practice. In ancient times, it was believed that hosting elaborate rites would help in chasing the spirits of the past away.

Stay tuned for the Chinese New Year on Jan 25th: the Year of the Rat. Chinese people have used fireworks and cymbals as well as purification rites and exorcisms to start off their New Year’s celebrations.

It is a time to connect to the ancestors and family.

This is also the time to get a new haircut, buy new clothes and prepare for the coming year. And it is important to pay off all debts so you can start the year off fresh. Small gifts of money in red envelopes are exchanged to stir up abundance for the coming year.

Other cultures used parades, bonfires, and processions where masked participants symbolized the deceased. The entire process involved the notion that past evil spirits, entities or demons were banished when frailties, temptations, bad habits, and past transgressions were denounced. The elaborate rituals would then free the person from oppressive energies and bad luck.

In Bali, huge fireworks occur the night before and all the statues are taken to the water to be cleansed. Then my favorite part of this celebration: There is silence and prayer on New Year’s Day. Everything is shut down except the hospitals and airport, and people are encouraged to stay in and reflect.

In Romania, the children of the village gather large amounts of seeds, wheat, and rice in brightly colored festive baskets.  They then walk from door to door throwing handfuls of seeds into everyone’s home to symbolize good luck with crops and farming and to bring abundance to a household.

In Russia, it is customary for extended family to gather together for a New Year’s Eve hearty meal of meat and potatoes.  Following the meal, nighttime celebrations begin in Red Square with fireworks and the Russian version of Santa Claus known as Grandfather Frost.  He is dressed in blue and gives small presents to the children at midnight to bring the New Year in with the spirit of giving and happiness.

In Germany, it is an old tradition that the women of the villages would pour molten lead into cold water to predict events surrounding the New Year.  In some parts of Germany, this tradition still lives on.  Based on the images the lead would form, predictions could be made:  a key meant new beginnings/adventures, and a ring meant an addition to the family through a wedding or a birth.  New Year’s meals always include carp, as it was thought to bring wealth.

In England and Scotland, they celebrate a long-standing tradition of the “first footing,” where the first male to walk in the house after midnight is supposed to bring either money, whiskey, or cake to symbolize good luck for the household.  Also, many people gather outdoors for dancing and festivities around large fire pits.  The fires are symbolic of cleansing.

In Japan, New Year’s Day itself is a day of joy and no work is to be done. Children receive Toshigami’s, small gifts with money inside. And it is important to write down your dreams since the first dream of the year tells the fortune for the year… usually on Jan 1st eve.

In Egypt, children are given candy wrapped in bright wrappers.  The head of the household goes around wishing each neighbor happiness until all the neighbors are collected and, then, they go to the mayor’s house for a feast and celebration.

A Teaching Story for the New Year

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire.

He told his employer of his plans to leave the house-building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife, enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire.

They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor.

The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.

When the carpenter finished his work, the employer came to inspect the house. He handed the front-door key to the carpenter.

“This is your house,” he said, “my gift to you.”

The carpenter was shocked! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.

So, it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then with a shock, we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we’d do it much differently.

But we cannot go back. You are the carpenter. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall.

“Life is a do-it-yourself project,” someone has said. Your attitudes and the choices you make today, build the “house” you live in tomorrow.

Build wisely!

Work like you don’t need the money.

Love like you’ve never been hurt.

Dance like nobody is watching.

For Prosperity

Take a bowl of money and set your intention for the year. Throw the money into your home/office. Keep the money there for 24 hours, then give it away to anyone you choose (a friend or stranger). This affirms to the Universe that you are wealthy and have plenty to share.


Copyright 2020 Barbara Biziou. All Rights Reserved.

The Joy of Ritual by Barbara Biziou The Joy of Family Rituals by Barbara Biziou

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