Nearly every culture and religious tradition celebrates the turning of the year with new year’s celebrations. December 31, New Year’s Eve marks the last day on the Gregorian Calendar. Also called St. Sylvester’s Day and Old Year’s Day, this day is marked by celebrations worldwide. Customs vary from culture to culture and from one religious tradition to another, but all seem to celebrate the crossing of the threshold from the past to the future, from the old to the new. Feng Shui customs and rituals for the Chinese new year may be applied to the celebration of New Year’s Eve as well.
The five steps for preparing to welcome 2015 involve letting go of the past, preparing ourselves and our homes for a new stage of life, making room for the future, attracting what is desirable, and honoring and showing gratitude for our blessings.
Releasing the Old.
One important way to prepare to welcome the new year is to release the energy of 2014. How we do this varies depending on what is working its way out of our lives. Clearing out closets and drawers, and making space in our homes symbolically releases energy that enables us to let go of whatever needs to go in our lives. Clear out one small space at a time. Recycle whatever needs to be recycled. Let go of anything that has built up, and by doing so, you also help release whatever emotional, psychological, or mental debris needs to be released.
It’s surprising sometimes how much we hold onto. We do it by amassing paperwork that ties us to the past (old jobs, old relationships, old commitments). We hang onto clothing including old clothes, shoes, socks, underwear, and worn out or unused accessories (jewelry, purses, bags). As we hang onto old things, we also hang onto old, outdated ideas and beliefs. Whatever is meant to remain, will remain with us even if we get rid of some object that we tie meaning to. Get some garbage bags and fill them up with items that can be given away and items that need to be recycled. Make a point of physically moving unwanted and unnecessary ‘stuff’ out of your house before the new year. Make space for something new, relevant, active, and nurturing to come into your life.
Making Space for the New.
Assess your life, your home, and relationships. Determine what you really want in your life. Decide what you need to and are willing to change, and then be honest with yourself and the Divine about what that means. For example, if I find myself engaging in some activity that is draining the life out of me, I know it’s time to make a change. Here’s where faith and trust come in. Energy flows where energy goes. If we are miserable and unhappy, that is where our energy goes. If we are stuck in a routine or cycle that is unhealthy and negative, that is where our energy goes. Where is your energy going now? How can you change it? What needs to go in order for your energy to begin flowing into healthier, more productive and growth-producing- ways?
For some, that might mean making changes in your lifestyle. For others it may mean relationships that have ended or become unhealthy, need to change. In our homes and work spaces, we may begin moving things out that are simply taking up space. We often leave things as they are, because it’s easier than changing them. Move things around. Get rid of a table that is simply taking up space, or move the bed so you have a better view. Clean the windows, or rearrange furniture so that the flow of energy is better in your home. Notice where energy is blocked, and change things to allow for greater movement and better use of space. Clean out files (electronic and paper), and let go of whatever electronic media you no longer need. I spend at least a half an hour unsubscribing from emails and blogs I never read.
Eliminate whatever is filling up your time and sapping your energy. I finally changed wallets, and now have a functional purse and wallet. No more standing at the checkout stand with the contents of my wallet spilling out in the bottom of my cavernous bag. The cardboard boxes I have been saving (for what?) are now broken down and ready for recycling. The pile of clothes someone gave me, are now sorted and ready for thrift shop. The packaged foods that have cluttered my pantry shelves for three years, are in the garbage. The refrigerator and oven are on the agenda for their final 2014 cleanings.
Sometimes it is easier to change the outside of our lives than it is the inside. Cleaning up, making space, and establishing our priorities in organizing our homes, helps us do the same with our more important inner life and lifestyle choices. Make room in your life to do what you long to do (start a new business, change jobs, be open to a new relationship, take a break from the demands of others’ expectations, or get your home office more organized). Whatever is a priority in your life, determine now some simple steps you can take and some things you can eliminate in your life to make room for what you want to receive in the new year. Write it down, paint or draw it, or share your desires with a loved one over coffee. Do something concrete to create more space in your life to receive your New Year’s bounty.
Preparing for Change.
It is time to prepare for the New Year. During this week, I clean up and clear out my home and I get myself ready for change. Clean out the refrigerator, and shop for healthy, nutritious meals. Get your house ready as you would for guests arriving. Make your home reflect what you want to attract into it. Get some fresh flowers. For those still celebrating Christmas, light some candles, prepare some appetizing snacks, and bake some cookies or breads to share with family and friends. Do a thorough cleaning, dust from top to bottom, change lights, and create a way to display what you hope to attract into your life in the new year.
Create a collage or treasure map reflecting what you hope for. Set up an altar to honor those who have passed away. Write out your prayers and dreams for the future. Dedicate some time to meditation, exercise, and prayer. Set down some goals for the future, and write some thank you notes to the people who have loved and supported you this year. Write down what you wish to leave behind, and burn it in a small ceremony.
Getting ready includes taking care of yourself as well as taking care of your home/office space. Take a long, relaxing bath or shower. Dress up in clean, new clothes. Get your laundry done and dishes washed so that you greet the new year with everything clean and completed. Pay your bills, and make amends in any way you need to. Forgive those who’ve hurt you, and seek forgiveness from those you may have offended. If you can’t do it in person, do it as part of your prayers or meditations. Set aside time to celebrate the blessings from this year, and to welcome the new year in some symbolic way. One thing I like to do is to host an open house some time during the first week of the new year to welcome friends and thank them for being in my life.
Attracting what you Desire.
Our outer appearances reflect what it is we desire. Our homes reflect it as well as our own physical appearance. Stand at your front entrance, and look at what a guest would see upon arriving for the first time at your home. Stand in front of the mirror and look at how you appear to others right now. What are you sending out with your outer appearance? When you go out, and when you greet people, what does your demeanor reflect about you?
Treat your home, your office, your studio, and yourself as if the most important person you will ever meet is going to arrive in the next few hours. Be aware of your smile, your hygiene, your posture, and your overall appearance. When I am out and about, I often notice people bent over, almost hanging off themselves. Most of these people are not very old; it’s just that they are walking as if they were carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. And perhaps that is what their lives feel like.
Some of us carry ourselves as if we were not even in our bodies. Heads projected forward as if the list of what to do next was more important than being present, centered in our body where we are, and actually slowing down to enjoy each moment. We all have problems, challenges, and obstacles in our paths. However, we also have the capacity to take a deep breath, stand up straight, and move with grace and ease for we are, after all, still alive, and still quite capable of being alert, aware, and interested in what is going on around us. In addition to preparing your home, office, or studio for guests, do the same for yourself. Our bodies are our Temples…the beautiful physical essence that enthrones our spirit, mind, and emotions. Our body deserves to be treated beautifully and with respect. Be proud of who you are, and walk with a sense of presence, welcoming and expressing your best to whomever you meet. Walk along the ocean front or the riverside, and breathe in fresh air. Let the beauty of the world around you, fill you with life, awakening the energetic essence of who you are. This will do more for your good and health than just about anything. Be ready to greet your good in the New Year.
Honoring Others and Expressing Gratitude.
As the old year ends, honor those who have been there for you throughout this year. Remember those who have walked on. Honor the passage of time, and the gift of having made it through the tough times as well as the good times. Show your gratitude in some way. Express your thanksgiving, and let people know they have made a difference in your life. Honor those who have made it possible for you to be where you are, for none of us have achieved a thing without the support and help of those who believe in us, love us, and are there for us when we need them.
Spread the cheer of the season, through showing how grateful you are to friends and family, neighbors and members of your community, and to anyone who holds a special place in your heart. This energy we share is some of the most important energy we have to share. Without acknowledging the exchange of energy between people, we would live an empty and meaningless existence. To a new year full of energy, Presence, thanksgiving, and joy.