2017 has been a roller-coaster of a year for so many of us.
Fortunately, the new moon on December 18th is giving us the opportunity to release, cleanse, refresh, and renew just in time for 2018’s new year.
The end of a year is always the perfect time to glance back and see how far we have journeyed and to briefly look at the valuable lessons learned. Collectively, it hasn’t been the easiest of years. Many of us left 2016 behind without a second thought and were happy to see the back end of it, thinking to ourselves, “After such a turbulent year, surely 2017 can’t be any worse.” How wrong we were!
However, like with almost everything, there are silver linings and blessings hidden within even some of our most traumatic encounters—and while we may be ready to slam the door on 2017, it is vital that we close the year with gratitude for the good that it has offered, even if most of it is still not clear to see.
We’ve likely spent 2017 chaotically dancing in a “one step forward, two steps back” rhythm, and this accounts for friendships, relationships, careers, domestic situations, and generally anything we’ve attempted to achieve. Backward steps are not always negative ones, as usually it’s the universe’s way of holding us back, as we just aren’t quite ready to enter into new dynamics or commitments—and often, the challenges we face are what we have magnetised toward us, as within them holds everything we need to heal and change.
It can be difficult to see that our higher good is being taken care of when we don’t receive exactly what we thought we wanted at the time, but it’s essential to remember that what we want isn’t always what we need or what will bring us long-lasting happiness and peace.
When things don’t quite work out the way we want them to, it can be tempting to believe that we are going through a run of bad luck, or maybe that we didn’t deserve what we had our hearts set on—although, in most cases, this could not be further from the truth. To see this clearly, all that is required is a change of perception—when roadblocks and obstacles get in our way, it is simply because the path we are on isn’t the right one for us at that time, which is why the term “walk the path with least resistance” has become so profound in spirituality.
If we are struggling to find a way through, it simply means we are swimming against the current, rather than letting go of our desire to be in control and aligning our energy with the direction the current is flowing so that we are effortlessly carried with the momentum.
“When you stop struggling, you float. It is law.” ~ author unknown
When things seemingly and continuously go wrong, it can be difficult to trust that it is all part of a bigger plan occurring for good reason; but if we are willing to surrender to life’s ups and downs, knowing that one way or another we will victoriously pull through, we will save ourselves a tremendous amount of turmoil and heartache. Despite our lives appearing fragmented when we look at them in the midst of troubles, someday we will look back and see that all the dots connect perfectly together, even if they are sporadically and confusingly positioned.
2017 has been an overwhelming year for many of us and a big part of this centers around who and what we have given our energy away to. The encounters we have with people who are unhealthy for us to be around can drain us more than we realise, and they take up so much time and energy as we ruminate on various possibilities, reasons for other people’s hurtful behaviour, or why we feel anxious, low, and fatigued while around certain people.
Unfortunately, we aren’t always as assertive as we need to be when it comes to some of our prominent relationships, and we may allow patterns of behaviour to relentlessly repeat, rather than taking the necessary action to place ourselves out of harms way. This can be particularly difficult to do when dealing with family members or colleagues who we cannot quite so easily walk away from.
For a mixture of reasons, many of us have been led to believe that it isn’t “nice” or “kind” to forcibly let go of people who don’t have our best intentions at heart, and this can mean we continue to engage with people who either consciously or subconsciously drag us down. One major thing we sometimes forget is that while we are so busy worrying about whether we appear as nice or kind to others, we meanwhile sacrifice being nice and kind to ourselves. Cutting contact with people who are harmful to us is a tremendous act of self-love—and although it can be deeply uncomfortable and even painful at the time, it is one of the most compassionate, loving, and caring things we can do for ourselves.
One way to discern whether or not we are on the receiving end of damaging toxic energy is by thinking about our circumstances honestly and rationally, rather than emotionally—and we can do this by questioning: “Would I want my son/daughter/best friend/mother/father to experience this or be treated this way?”
If the answer is no, we have some serious boundary setting, consideration, and decision making to do. To gain more clarity over what is acceptable or unacceptable behaviour or circumstances, it can be hugely beneficial to write down the traits and tendencies that we feel are harmful and that cause us distress. If the people surrounding us express anything we don’t feel we should be tolerating, we will then be prepared in advance to remove ourselves from their company either temporarily or permanently depending on the dynamic of the relationship and situation.
Often, we don’t fully realise how trivial or serious something is until we write it down and ponder it for a little while. We may even come to the realisation that it is just our own ego causing us to be triggered and nothing to do with the other person at all, which is equally as beneficial and healing, as we can then work on eliminating the reasons we are reacting irrationally around certain people.
Identifying our core needs within our relationships greatly enhances our connections with other people, as we can then communicate clearly with others about what we hope for and also what we are prepared and able to offer in return. Too many relationships are dysfunctional due to people being together who are incompatible and not willing or lacking the capacity to love or care for the other person in the way they need.
Although it is wonderful to think that “love can conquer all,” in reality, we are all unique and have entirely different needs and wants and ways of showing and expressing affection and our innermost feelings. Therefore, it is essential within relationships that we first know what it is that we are hoping for or expecting, so that the other person is also aware of what makes us feel loved and appreciated. We subtly teach people how we need to be treated and loved by treating and loving ourselves (and others) in that same way.
“The relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship of your life.” ~ Diane Von Furstenberg
Usually, we know instantly who is empowering or who is draining by the way we feel when we initially make contact with them. For example, if their name lifts or lowers us when we hear it or receive a message or a call from them, it is an instant sign as to whether this person is energising or depleting our energy. If we don’t want to let go of people who are causing discomfort and potential harm, we can work on transforming and revolutionising these relationships during 2018 by focusing on loving ourselves more and allowing that high-frequency energy to radiate outwards so that others also know and understand our language of love.
Meditation is one particularly useful tool I often use when I have major decisions and transformational shifts to make. Meditating helps me delve into the depths of my soul where memories, feelings, emotions, insight, knowledge, and intuition are stored. Taking time to meditate on a daily basis, even for just 10 minutes, is as beneficial for the mind as eating healthily and exercising is for the body.
December’s new moon is the optimum time to carry out a cleansing and receiving meditation to clear the old energy from 2017, so that we have plenty of space to welcome in the new. We can do this by sitting crossed-legged with a straight spine and head slightly lowered. (If this isn’t comfortable, choose any seated or lying down position.) Hands can be placed in front of the chest, palms lightly together, and thumbs and little fingers touching one another.
When we are comfortable and ready, we can inhale deeply through the nose, feeling the tummy area expand, and hold for approximately five seconds. As we inhale, we may notice the chest expanding slightly as this allows the heart chakra to open so that loving energy can circulate. Then exhale slowly through the mouth. Pause for a few seconds before inhaling deeply again, and then exhale while letting thoughts come and go.
As we continue to breathe deeply, allow each thought to enter the mind, pay attention to it for a few moments, and then release it. Try not to attach emotions to the thoughts, just acknowledge them briefly, and let them go. Keeping attention focused on breathing prevents the mind from wandering too much.
We may notice that a significant thought continuously repeats; if so, focus on it and let the feelings attached to it flow through you without holding on to them and then on the exhale breath, gently blow the thoughts and feelings away.
Once we feel calmer, we can inhale deeply while keeping awareness on what we would like to manifest in our life in 2018 and use the exhale breath to focus on whatever or whoever we would like to gently let go of as 2017 comes to an end.
If it helps, we can think of either a mantra or phrase to repeat in our mind that relates to our new beginning and sends a clear message to the universe stating what we want and no longer want. It may help to use visualisations during this process, which means picturing in our mind the people, places, or situations we are working with in the practice.
One example for a new beginning could be saying, “I am open to giving and receiving unlimited, unconditional love,” on the inhale breath—and a mantra to release on the exhale breath might be, “With love, gratitude, and tenderness, I now let go of…”
As we remain in this calm setting, we may feel a warm sensation filled with good feelings rippling through our body and mind. The more positivity and faith we have in our ability to manifest, the greater chance we have of absorbing the thoughts and feelings so they come to fruition.
Each inhaled breath we take signifies the manifestation of new beginnings, and each exhaled breath signifies endings or releasing. As we continue inhaling and exhaling, our beginnings and endings will flow as one, allowing the new desired intentions to firmly embed harmonioiusly in our hearts and minds.
When we quiet the mind, the heart receives the opportunity to communicate. From there, we can then honor what floats to the surface and know that it is heart-centered and that we are not led by our ego.
Even though the above exercise may seem simple, it will have a powerful impact on our future, as when we set clear intentions for what we want to receive and what we want to eradicate, we plant seeds within our conscious awareness that will grow and manifest purely through keeping our focused attention on them, while at the same time allowing them the freedom to blossom throughout 2018.
Just as 2017 has been memorable with its own unique energetic vibration, 2018 will offer us entirely different experiences, but ultimately ones that are deeply beneficial and necessary for our own (and the collective’s) soul growth and higher good.
Author: Alex Myles
Image: Flickr/John Flannery
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Copy editor: Travis May
Social editor: Lindsey Block