Wednesday, December 28, 2011

end of year review how to

Last December I did something really delicious for myself. I wanted to take scheduled time to reflect on my year and ponder the upcoming year. With just a couple of books, pen and paper, food, a few change of clothes, and my yoga mat I set off on my very first silent retreat.

The location couldn’t have been any more perfect. I settled into a tiny cabin called Simplicity located at Cedars of Peace, an area designated for silence and solitude in central Kentucky. I built a fire daily. I walked on a blanket of snow. I ate simply. I talked to no one. I enjoyed utter silence with the exception of a crackling fire, a whistling teapot and the sounds of nature. I did yoga and wrote throughout the day.

It was pure bliss.

In her book “The Not So Big Life”, Sarah Susanka provides details on an exercise she calls the year end ritual. It is a most lovely ritual. Each year between Dec. 27 and Dec. 31 she schedules two hours daily for herself. She doesn’t answer the phone, or check email during that time. She instructs her family members not to interrupt her.

You can do as I did and go away for a retreat. You can take time off and enjoy a “staycation” at home. You can even do this ritual if you are working daily by doing it in the evening time.

She recommends you stick to the ten hours and try to avoid interruptions, fully gifting yourself with your undivided attention. She also suggests that you focus on three areas:

1. Questions about the past year.
2. Questions about the present.
3. Questions about the future.

Questions about the past year can include:• How have I spent my time?
•What were my challenges and how have I been changed by them?
•What were my accomplishments and how have I been changed by them?
•What were my sorrows and disappointments, and how have I been changed by them?
•What journeys have I taken?
•What habitual patterns have I experimented with or changed?

Questions about the present can include:•How am I different now from the way I was last year at this time?
•How can I integrate the key lessons of the past year in my life?
•Are there any things I’m being asked to do right now that I am rejecting? If so, what would happen if I simply did them?
•What recent synchronicities do I recall? What do they appear to point toward?
•To what part of myself am I giving birth to?
•What am I becoming?

Questions about the future can include:
•Specifically, what is it that I wish to focus on or experience in the coming year?
•Looking back into the future, what wishes, longings, or creations will I be bringing into being or engaging in some way?
•If I could sum up all my desires and longings in one simple statement spoken from the highest aspect of myself, what would it be?

These are recommended questions by Sarah Susanka and you can find these and more in her book, “The Not So Big Life.” For more details about the end of year review go to

My life coach, Grace Caitlin also recommends taking time during the month of December to focus on the completion of the year. When we take time and properly bring closure to the current year we invite new energy, space, and potential for joy and goodness as we greet the New Year.

Grace suggests that you “get complete” on two things:
1.Things than involve other people.
2.Your physical surroundings.

She uses the term “get complete” as a verb. An incompletion means you are using your attention and energy of something or someone repeatedly. Over time this takes a lot of energy and can be a drain on your overall health and wellbeing. If something (or someone) crosses your mind three times you need to address it in some way, getting complete on this issue.

This morning I was talking on the phone with a friend. She is having one of those “blah” days that we can all relate to. Finally she said, “I just need to get these monkeys off my back.”

The monkeys she was referring to are the tasks she has been blowing off. She even said they “are sucking the life out of me.” She’s constantly thinking about them, they are weighing her down. How many of us can relate? These monkeys, these things in which we are incomplete in some way take away our peace and joy.

In order to get complete with things that involve other people ponder if there were times in which you didn’t express yourself in some way. Were there any agreements broken by you or by someone else? Were there times you didn’t have clear boundaries in place and harbored resentment? Were there times you didn’t express thanks to someone else? Have you been mentally appreciating someone but haven’t told them so? Did someone teach you a great lesson and you have yet to acknowledge it?

These are some examples of closures that involve other people. What else can you add to this list?

Now let’s shift gears and give time and attention to your physical surroundings. Take a pen and some paper out. Walk into your kitchen and write “kitchen” at the top of a piece of paper. Look around your space with fresh eyes. Are the things in your space aligned with who you are and your values? Does the space represent who you (and your family) are? What are the projects you want to do with the space? What are the items you need to clear out? Do you need to bring in any items to beautify your kitchen? What are the little things you are tolerating that drain you in little ways (a light bulb that needs changed, cleaning out the fridge, a lingering spider web, unorganized cabinets, etc).

There are three criteria to decide to keep an item:
1. Do I love it?
2. Do I use it?
3. Does it serve me?

Continue this same process for each room in your house. When you finish you’ll have a master list. You’ll be able to complete some things this year. Some things like big projects you want to complete may need to hold off. That’s ok. Put everything you want to see happen in your spaces on your list.

Hoping you can carve out some time to review your year and dream for 2012.

I promise, it's soooo worth the time and effort.

Only three more days......

1 comment:

Where fibers meet mud said...

Thank you for your guidance...