What’s past and what’s to come

It’s that time of year when we transition from the Old to the New Year, a tradition that transcends time itself.  Many take this opportunity to access where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

An ancient reminder of this two-directional point-of-view is Janus, the Roman god of the door.  The image engraved on copper coins of his day depicts two faces, each looking in opposite directions, as if watching over both what’s coming and what’s going.  As protector of transitions, his name is embedded in our language as January, the first month of every year.

If you’re already working on your New Year’s Resolutions, don’t forget to take note of all that’s happened in the year that is just about to end.

In his book, The Right Mountain, Jim Hayhurst, Sr. describes his experience with a team climbing Mt. Everest.  One of the team members kept looking back whenever they stopped.  When Hayhurst asked about his habit, the climber told him he felt encouraged by looking at what they had accomplished together and by reviewing what went right – what difficult cliffs and sheer faces they scaled – he felt more confident that he could go on to the next difficult challenge ahead.

Why not look back over 2016 in this way and ask yourself:

·      What have I done right this year?

·      What tricky situations did I navigate well?

·      What were my accomplishments of any size this year?

·      What worked well for me this year?

Write a JOURNAL ENTRY that helps you see your strengths and gives you the courage, motivation and commitment to reach higher and dig deeper next year.

If you find yourself at a CROSSROAD as you are entering 2017, and have to make choices, ask yourself:

·      Where am I now?

·      Is this place a result of good or bad choices made at earlier crossroads?

·      Am I about to take a new route that is potentially scary or exhilarating?

To help visualize your crossroads, try this easy and fun art project.  Create a drawing or map using crayons, colored pencils or pens, or watercolors on a big sheet of blank paper.  Map out your personal path over 2016, depicting your turning points and crossroads that you encountered.  How many times did you swerve in unexpected directions or even take a U-turn?  When did you avoid going off course by following your hunches?

Here are a few more prompts to bring to light what this year has been for you. Why not grab your journal and write your responses to some of these questions:

·      Which three people made the greatest impact on my life during 2016?  Have I acknowledged their contributions?

·      What was the biggest risk I took in 2016?  What did I learn from taking that risk?

·      What was the most loving service I performed in 2016?

·      What ten things am I most grateful for that happened in 2016?

·      What is my biggest piece of unfinished business from 2016?  Do I have a plan to complete this unfinished business?

·      What am I most happy about completing in 2016?

Now that you’ve reviewed this year, it’s time to begin your New Year’s Resolutions.

Start by giving 2017 a THEME.  What would you like to concentrate on over the coming year and how will you keep this important objective in the forefront of your mind?  You may even find your theme will gain such importance to you that you’ll continue it beyond this time next year and on into the future.

Finally, put aside your thinking and writing and just relax!  Live in the moment!  Notice miracles everywhere without feeling that you have to do anything other than open your heart and allow the spirit of the past and the future to be meaningful for you and all that you love.

Susan Hendricks leads guided journal-writing groups.  New Winter & Spring 6-week groups begin January 19th in Columbia.  Susan is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Journal Therapist endorsed by the International Federation for Biblio-Poetry Therapy. To Register or learn more go to  www.susanhendricks.com or www.wholistictherapyandcoaching.com

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