Parties, sweets and alcohol are abundant during the final months of the year.
Goals left unattended are often shelved until New Year. Is this how nature intended it or is it a man-made cycle not not found in nature? Perhaps it is a bit of both.
End of the Year celebrations are honored world wide to complete the year’s cycle. Tending to our life’s natural rhythm can be arduous work. On this occasion people celebrate by sharing food, song and dance. This speaks to our need for connection and community, especially before the long dark nights of the sparse winter lying ahead.
Without sounding like a naysayer, I would like to offer a few suggestions on how to bring the ritual back into our holiday celebrations.
I want to apologize upfront if my cooking tips insult the vegans out there. Although I am a carnivore, I always show the utmost respect for life as I prepare my meals. In 2015, my commitment is to eat more locally grown vegetables.
1. Preparing Your Feast
Start by having an intimate relationship with your food and table. Set a place at the table to honor the spirits that assisted you throughout the year. Give them a place to dine before sending them on their way. Invite in new energies to work with you for 2015.
According to Epicurious there are many foods that are considered lucky starts for the New Year. In Spain it is considered wise to eat 12 grapes while other folk lore suggests cooked greens, legumes pork, fish and cakes. Make your own holiday celebration and rituals.
2. Cook from Scratch
Invite friends for a home cooked meal. Preparation can begin the days ahead, and is more fun with the help of others. Generally I start by attending a local market, baking ahead of time or making stock that will become the “best sauce you’ve ever had.“ If this seems overwhelming, start by choosing a few simple things on this year’s menu to limber up your cooking limbs. The act of cooking is often a potent meditation, allowing you to feel connected to your life.
3. Celebrate with Friends
Ask yourself, “When is the last time I invited people into my home?” Make it fun. Ideas: A healthy potluck, New Year’s Brunch, Afternoon Tea or a Vision Board Party. Add a A Night of Song: A woman I know hosts a hootenanny on Whidbey Island at her home every summer. She prints up songbooks and everyone sits by the fire and sings.
Are you adventurous? How about caroling around the neighborhood with a group of friends? Spice up your New Year Celebration with games. Make a Vision Board. People all around are looking to connect with others. Reach out to others. Schedule time with family and friends; do something creative and enjoy yourself.
4. Attend a Festive Spiritual Gathering
If you are more spiritual than religious, consider a Solstice Gathering or fire ceremony. I love to go to church; most any church or synagogue will do. When working with my coaching clients, I insist that they have a spiritual practice. Many have returned to their faith of origin, but others have found meaning elsewhere.
Bring ritual back into the New Year. Create a Despacho Ceremony. Despacho’s is a traditional Gratitude Ceremony in Peru used for every occasion. Pictured here is a recent offering to the mother earth for her wedding blessing. Directions for an Anyi Despacho by Kerri Colgrove can be found here.
4. Be of Service
Give of yourself to someone less fortunate. Giving in Service means that you expect nothing in return. Often the people on our gift-giving list are those who shop for us. It is a gift exchange. Make a few sacrifices. Call a homeless shelter, nursing home, or meals on wheels to learn where you are needed. Consider caroling around the neighborhood with friends and family. There are many valuable lessons to be learned from those less fortunate than us.
5. Go Out in Nature
Goals are enhanced when supported by the natural world. As you set your intentions for the New Years, consider taking a walk and allowing the Winds of Spirit to inform your direction. When we call upon the elements they become our allies for manifesting our dreams. Frosty cold or tingling warm, winds are present to support life, as you inhale, breathe in the power.
If you are lacking in motivation, don’t worry.
What you feel is nature’s natural cycle of introspection. As we move northward on our Medicine Wheel, it’s time for hibernation. In my upcoming book, “When the Wind Blows,” I speak about Zephyrus, the West Wind and Boreas, the North Wind, as a time to turn from one’s self to one’s community.
Traditionally, during the harvest, farmers would move from place to place. Be flexible; it’s today for me and tomorrow for you. This year, as you move from your harvest into winter consider how you would like to share your bounty. Finish the year strong by living an inspired life.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Renee Baribeau
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s Own, Brian/Flickr