End Of Year Exploration
What kind of annual practice do you participate in when it comes to closing off the end of one year and beginning the next?
Brene Brown makes an annual habit of asking herself four pertinent questions reflecting on her years experiences. Take a look at the lives of many movers and shakers and you’ll find this pattern of purposeful reflection and planning.
Sadly, most of us don’t do anything more focused than ensuring a big night out on New Year’s Eve.
A smaller proportion of us takes on the enthusiasm of New Year resolutions such as losing weight, getting fitter, more actively managing our finances or finding a better job.
Fewer again is the percentage who follow through and push past the inevitable waning motivation of whimsical notions of change.
Living in a culture that has moved away from contemplation and ritual, one year blurs into the next with no real continuity or clarity.
The psychologist Carl Jung argued that our overly rational, survival-oriented culture and one that is devoid of mythic imagination, takes a heavy toll on our psychic health:
“In order to sustain his creed, contemporary man pays the price in a remarkable lack of introspection. He is blind to the fact that, with all his rationality and efficiency, he is possessed by ‘powers’ that are beyond his control. His Gods and Demons have not disappeared at all; they have merely got new names. They keep him on the run with restlessness, vague apprehensions, psychological complications, and an insatiable need for pills, alcohol, tobacco, food – and above all, a large array of neuroses.”
It needn’t be this way.
The benefit of getting older is that we are gifted with greater opportunity for perspective.
Introspection can allow us to look back on our year and find more of the connecting threads that reveal our life’s narrative.
It also allows us to recognise any unhealthy patterns in order to unknot them and live a more flourishing life.
We can also self-reflect to gain greater clarity into the future we wish to design.
To harness this potential, however, involves more than a simple incantation of adding an extra candle to our birthday cake. We must actively participate in our individuation. For while youth affords optimism it typically lacks wisdom. Conversely, entropy is the ever-present danger that accompanies maturity.
Storywriting To Invoke A Mythic Imagination
Fictional stories have a focus on make believe.
They can offer pleasant escape, entertainment and push us beyond the intellect to connect with our imaginations.
Real life stories are different. They help us to make sense.
An End of Year Exploration involves a guided writing program designed to tease out the big themes currently at play in your life, cultivate gratitude and provide planning for the year to come.
There is something rewarding about reflecting on the major achievements and big projects that you’ve seen through over the year. In what ways did you show up this year? Demonstrate courage? Fall short but dust yourself off to try again?
It’s equally insightful to sit with the difficult lessons, disappointments and loss of loved ones or various connections in your life. Ever wonder which direction these peaks and valleys are pointing you towards?
Together we will discuss what has emerged in these areas and talk about whether there is a story you could write to capture a major development in your life’s journey from the year.
Should you be open to esoteric ideas we will investigate what your astrology and numerology blueprints have to say about the year that was and the year to come.
For those familiar with the benefits of accountability and mentoring, this as an annual program available to you.
I’ll leave you with Ted Kooser's Birthday Poem, a piece which helps one mull over events from the year that was and contemplate how eagerly life invites us to partake of it:
Just past dawn, the sun stands
with its heavy red head
In a black stanchion of trees,
waiting for someone to come
with his bucket
for the foamy white light,
and then a long day in the pasture.
I too spend my days grazing,
feasting on every green moment
till darkness calls,
and with the others
I walk away into the night,
swinging the little tin bell
of my name.