The New Year is an opportunity to turn the wheel of time and begin anew. As the last year comes to a close, people around the world have an opportunity to let it go and move forward unencumbered. Here are 12 simple yet powerful rituals to help you release 2015, no matter what it brought you, and make room for an even better 2016.
1. Release clutter.
Before the year's over, throw out all that you've outgrown and make room for something new. Take a cue from the Italians, who literally do "out with the old" by throwing unwanted possessions from their windows on New Year’s Eve. Everything that lands on the pavement is up for grabs, making street shopping a fun part of the night's activities. Though I don’t advocate tossing belongings out your window, there's nothing wrong with recycling old items or placing them on the street for others to pick over.
2. Create a sacred space.
Keeping an altar in your home is a popular way to express your spirituality. However, a dusty or dirty altar creates sluggish energy, while a cluttered one keeps you stuck in the past. Take the time to replace your altar's candlesticks, swap its old photos with new ones, or brighten it up with a fresh bouquet of flowers. If you don't have an altar in your home, now is the perfect time to craft your own sacred space.
If you have consciously or subconsciously hurt others in the past year, it's time to make amends. When your relationships are filled with anger or resentment, they become huge drains. Apologizing allows you to take back your energy and move forward. Ask yourself, “Whom have I hurt and how can I rectify the situation?” A simple apology goes a long way toward opening up communication, so write that letter or make that call.
To mark Bali's New Year's Eve, the entire country goes silent and takes time for prayers and contemplation. People around the world could learn a lot from this ritual, considering all of us spend so much time talking that we hardly listen to our own inner guidance. Before the New Year, carve out some time for silence. Put your phone away, shut off your computer, and just be with the beautiful gift that is present only in the moment. Start with 10 to 20 minutes a day, and stick with the practice even if it makes you uncomfortable at first.
5. Purify your space.
Cleanse your space by placing sage, rosemary, or fresh lemon in a bottle of water and spraying their scents around your home. Boost the energy even more with a bowl of fresh-cut oranges, lemons, or grapefruits. For more than 6,000 years, certain plants were worn or sniffed to heal the body, attract love, and change one’s state of consciousness. Today, scientific studies have confirmed that aromatherapy may energize, calm, rejuvenate, balance, purify, and even repair the body and mind. Simply take a deep breath and let these wonderful essences change your vibration.
6. Bless yourself and others.
Take time to bless your life, your body, your friends, your family, and Mother Earth. Appreciation builds appreciation and makes you feel happy, reinforcing the good in the world. Send appreciation cards to those you care about including your mail person, dry cleaner, and favorite cashier at the supermarket. Make sure to smile at everyone you meet.
7. Bring in good luck.
Since ancient times, plants have been honored and used in religious and spiritual rituals. Decorate your home and office with stalks of bamboo or any other plant that you love. Bamboo is said to bring you health, wealth, and good luck. There are plenty of other “lucky” plants as well — jasmine has aphrodisiacal qualities, basil is said to bring in wealth and focus, lavender has a calming effect, and rosemary is thought to protect from danger.
8. Reward yourself.
Most of us spend the holiday season thinking of others and what we can do or buy for them. But when we honor ourselves, we naturally make better choices for personal enrichment. You can’t give to others if you don’t have any energy, so do something special for yourself — you deserve it. Get a massage, spend a day watching your favorite movies, take a dance lesson, or treat yourself to a special meal before the year ends.
9. Meet the neighbors.
In Egypt, the head of the household walks around wishing each neighbor happiness at the New Year. Expand your circle of acquaintances and try this with your neighbors, even the ones you may not have interacted with much in the past.
10. Give back.
Volunteer at a soup kitchen, recycle toys and clothes, do a random act of kindness. Add to the positive energy of the world — it needs your caring vibrations of light and love.
11. Eat your luck.
New Year's revelers in Spain believe that grapes bring sweetness and prosperity, and they eat 12 of them at midnight — one for each stroke of the clock. In China, one eats long noodles to symbolize longevity in the year ahead. And of course, lots of cultures welcome midnight with a bubbly champagne toast. Imbue whatever you eat or drink this New Year's Eve with love and hope for the future.
12. Welcome prosperity.
For good luck in the coming year, some people throw money into their home the first time they enter after the new year has begun. If you’ll be staying home on New Year’s Eve, go outside your front door a minute or so after midnight and throw coins through the entryway. Bless them with all the qualities you want them to bring in — joy, clarity, success, and good health. Leave them there for 48 hours and then give them away to charity.
Looking for some tips on how to make 2016 your happiest, healthiest year yet? Sign up for mbg's New Year, Do YOU reboot.
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