Positive Path Recommended Reading

Reflections - A Top Ten List of Year-End Questions
By Michael Angier

In order to embrace the new we must release the old. A trapeze artist cannot swing from one bar to another without letting go. An important part of preparing for a New Year is to review the past year--to release it--and to learn from it.

To go where we wish to go and be whom we wish to be, we need to know where we are and who we are. An honest self-analysis is always helpful to gain clarity. As we end a year, it seems particularly fitting to devote some time to reflecting on the year past and where we find ourselves as the New Year dawns.

The following questions should stimulate your thinking for this process. Enter into discussions with people you care about. Write out your thoughts and feelings. Do some journal writing. Consider writing a letter--an end-of the-year-epistle to yourself. It could be profound to write it and valuable to read it in the years ahead.

Reflect upon what you did, how you felt, what you liked, what you didn't like and what you learned. Try to look at yourself and your experience with as much objectivity as you can …much like a biographer would.

Here are some suggestions to get you started in thinking over the past year or perhaps the last decade. Feel free to add your own questions too.

1. What did I learn? (Skills, knowledge, awareness', etc.)

2. What did I accomplish? (List of my wins and achievements.)

3. What would I have done differently? Why?

4. What did I complete or release? What still feels incomplete to me?

5. What were the most significant events of the year past? List the top three.

6. What did I do right? What do I feel especially good about? What was my greatest contribution?

7. What were the fun things I did? What were the things that were not fun?

8. What were my biggest challenges, roadblocks or difficulties?

9. How am I different this year than last?

10. For what am I particularly grateful?

Another suggestion: Consider listing all the things in your life of which you'd like to let go … anything you no longer want. Give thanks for what they've brought you in terms of learning and usefulness and then burn the list. It's a symbolic gesture to help you release the old and be open to the new. The next step is to list what you DO want … experiences, knowledge, material things, relationships, healings, whatever.

In doing this, you'll be using the principle of vacuum …releasing what you don't want and embracing what you do. Each New Year's Eve, my wife and I, along with several friends and close family members will light a bonfire and burn our lists as well as a few other articles that represent something we no longer desire in our lives. For example, I plan to burn an old (and too big) article of clothing to symbolize a less-than impeccable wardrobe and garments that belong to a heavier person than I am and will be.

Use your year-end as a time to reflect, learn and grow. This will prepare you for a positive New Year ahead.

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