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Bring in the New Year

December 31, 2015

By Jacinta Hin

I love the fresh energy of the first days of January. Behind me are doors to close. Before me lies a virgin year filled with promises of new ways to be, new directions to go: a gift I get to unwrap carefully in 365 steps.

The beginning of the year is also a good time for deeper-than-usual reflection on what has been and what is to come.

The Old Year

On a personal level, 2015 ended pretty much the same as it started. Despite the best of intentions, I did not complete a major project I started ages ago and continued the same lifestyle I vowed to change earlier in the year. But I also gained wisdom, expanded awareness, became more grounded in the present, motivated people, got inspired, did good deeds, and often experienced a profound sense of aliveness. In general I became more accepting of myself and others and got a better handle on what matters most.

Furthermore, notwithstanding the rather dark turn the world took, I did not lose my optimism and faith in a beautiful future for our planet. On the contrary, I felt more connected than ever with humanity. I have found my place among millions of people around the globe, speaking up and standing for a shift toward a more humane world, where the sacredness of each life takes priority over corporate, governmental, and individual agendas.

The New year

I like to prepare for the year ahead with probing questions. This set of three works especially well: what to leave behind, what to bring with me, and what to newly create or renew?

If I want this year to be even slightly different from the last, I will need to create space for something new to arise, which means letting go of stuff that no longer inspires or stands in the way of progress: bad habits, distractions, activity overload, certain people (or my feelings about them), beliefs and recurring thoughts of the not-getting-me-anywhere-and-walking-in-circles kind. In short, anything that is energy-draining or undermines a healthy sense of self.

At the same time, there is plenty to carry forward. Friendships, old, new, and budding; projects I failed to complete but still feel worthy of continuation; activities that are self-grounding and bring out the best in me; whatever I am not ready to say goodbye to yet, and the fundamentals of my life that provide stability and continuity, which include vision and outlook, purpose and sense of self, alone time, self-care, home, family, friends, pets, and sources of financial income.

And what is the (re)new that I am after?

Short meditations often help me connect with my intuition, especially when I start from a far-away point in time. You see, by nature, I am a dreamer who loves fantasy and thrives on imagination. I can bleep myself into the future in the wink of a nano-second.

Here I go.

I close my eyes and look for myself ten years or so from now. Immediately she shows up, my +/- 63-year old me, a big smile adorning her pretty (!) face. She is healthy, vibrant, spunky. For some reason, she has dressed for gardening: straw hat, apron and a shovel in her right hand. She starts talking excessively and abundantly. Apparently she has a lot to share, but I cannot hear her. The sound in this particular meditation has been turned off. So instead, I connect with her energy and striking looks. This spirited older woman is commanding me to be like her. If I can be that person in 2016, she says, the rest will fall into place. The gardening, she goes on, is a metaphor: plant new seeds, harvest the results of past efforts, be in nature, fill the house with flowers, be in touch with the earth, make sure you are grounded, finish that major project.

She is a little bossy, to say the least.

Slowly, as I return to the here and now, and questions start to bubble up. How can I arrange for optimum health? What seeds to plant and what to harvest? Which habits will help ground me? How do I spend more time in nature? Should I dress more colorfully?

My big project, the one I failed to complete last year, has a lot to do with images of flowers and nature. The message is clear: it is time to pick this up again.

My New Year message for you

We can switch perspectives—including how we see ourselves—at any time. We all possess this skill, yet our ego, pride, fears, and habits get in the way. Either we focus on what we did not achieve or see the small victories and progress we made. In a similar fashion, we can look at a year as linear and standing on its own or as a constant, ever-evolving movement in the bigger picture of the whole of our lives. We don't wake up a different person on January 1 from who we were on December 31. One year flows into another, the same way a river flows into the wider ocean, releasing its temporary river nature to merge with all the other rivers in the world.

In getting ready for the new year, think of yourself holistically and in the biggest possible context. Let the unique energy of this time imbue your process.

Go deep. Be bold. Have Fun.

About the author: Jacinta Hin was born in the Netherlands and has been living in Tokyo, Japan, since 1989. Her professional background is in human resources, career management and coaching. She is passionate about helping people, herself included, discover new perspectives of possibility, move to embracing and working with their transitions, and designing and realizing changes aligned with who they truly are and what they truly want from their lives.
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