The darkest times are over, really: December 21st brought us the longest night of the year, also known as the winter solstice, and with it, the year’s longest visible full moon. To see the culmination of our darkest nights meet the bright glow of our fully illuminated moon was a powerful reminder that just as the sky can move from shadows into light, so can our consciousness. It is no new school of thought to view the end of the year as a time to shed what is no longer serving us, and direct our focus where it is truly needed. But this isn’t just a time to make a new year’s resolution and call it a day (or night); it is a time to reflect inward on what truly matters to you, and how you can move forward with intent to better align your life with your soul’s purpose. This journal meditation will assist you in processing what you have been through, so you can learn from it and decide where to go from here.
I have been reading a lot recently about journal meditations and the power of writing our own stories into existence. We all know that writing can be a powerful tool to help us process our experiences and truly learn from them. Once you start writing, ideas can start to surface that you would not otherwise have become aware of, as if stirred from their former dwellings deep in your subconscious mind. By putting pen to paper you are allowing the soup of disembodied thoughts floating around in your head to travel somewhere that you can see and make sense of it. Having everything laid out in front of you gives you a chance to form new connections between the information you have, so new realizations and ideas can form that might be of benefit to you. Getting more acquainted with your thoughts means you can develop a deeper understanding of what is truly important to you. Our values motivate our actions and the directions we take in life, so the more we are sure of our values, the more we can make decisions that are in alignment with them. So not only does journaling assist us in understanding our current state, it helps us decide the course of our future as well. And what better a time to do this than when the end of an old cycle gives way to the new?
So let’s get ready to shed what is no longer serving us, and embrace our truest versions of ourselves. It’s not always an easy thing to look so deeply within, so make yourself comfortable. Put on some soothing music (or soothing sounds if music seems too distracting), maybe light some candles, and make a cup of your favorite tea. Sit somewhere soft and cushiony, preferably in your pajamas. I find it comforting to hold a small crystal during the process. A few of my favorites are selenite (for clarity), labradorite (for manifesting your truth), and lithium quartz (said to aid in realizations that assist your personal growth). Are you feeling safe, cozy, and at home with yourself? Now we are ready to begin.
Ask yourself these questions:
What challenges have I overcome this year? A brief scroll through any form of social media right now will tell you that 2018 has been a rough one for all of us. But if you’re reading this right now, you made it. Whether you’re feeling a sense of triumph or not, you survived everything you encountered this year. You’re still here! What did you get through that challenged you? What obstacles did you face? For me, it was allowing myself to be alone. I’ll write about this more later, but at the beginning of this year I decided to take the entire year to be completely single and with myself – I still spent time with friends, but refrained from any kind of dating, hookups, or romantic encounters. This allowed me to do a ton of reflecting and work on myself when I previously would have entertained myself with distractions. I thought this might result in a horrible vortex of loneliness, but instead I came out the other side knowing more about myself and loving myself more than I ever have before.
What have I learned? Sure, not everything might have gone your way this year. I started off my year in the wake of a catastrophic breakup that shook me to my core, a financial situation that felt hopeless, and family drama from which I seemingly had no true escape. I struggled with anxiety and depression that made me want to quit everything and live in a cave and drown in my own misery forever. But being forced into a corner where I felt so alone and my only choice was to work through the shitty feelings and the trauma and my own toxic thought patterns that kept me cycling through it all over and over again made me realize that the only way out was me. I say “work through” because that’s what it took to get through it: work. It took being forced to be alone at night and sit with all my thoughts – good and bad – to make me realize who I really am, and what I really care about. And it made me realize that I will carefully choose my company and how I spend my time moving forward. It made me see that I have a choice to give my energy to the people and causes that deserve it. Without those long awful nights alone I might never have paused to see the destructive thought patterns I was indulging in, and that I had the choice to change them.
What do I value? What is important to me? Is it being kind to people? Is it having fun? Is it helping others learn to love themselves? During this exercise I realized that I value spreading love and light wherever I go, and helping others find happiness within themselves. There are many things in life that happen that distract us from what is truly important to us, but acting from our values is a key component of being true to ourselves.
What is no longer serving me? Okay, so you might not be able to prevent destructive thoughts from popping into your head, but you can choose whether or not to indulge them. And you can choose to counter them with productive thoughts that come from a more positive place. Maybe you have some crappy health habits that are preventing you from being the best you can be. Maybe you spend a lot of time watching Netflix when you could be using that time to create. Maybe you’re participating in a toxic friendship or relationship that is doing you more harm than good. If something in your life is not aligning with your values, it might be time to take a look at how you can change that.
What am I grateful for? Acknowledging what you have gratitude for in your life is like saying to the universe, “More of this, please!” So what are you happy to have, and happy to attract more of in the future? I am thankful for my loving and supportive friendships. I am thankful for my mentors at work that inspire me every day. I am thankful for the beauty I see in the world around me, thankful for my growth in my spirituality and in my career, thankful for my health, thankful for all the fun I have been having and thankful for everything I have.
So there you have it! We have now taken an inventory of everything we have beheld and experienced this year. We have taken stock of what truly matters to us, and can now use this information to aid in our life decisions moving forward. Remember, you are not what has happened to you, you are what you choose to become. Now that you understand your true values, you can act in accordance with them, and as the days begin to get brighter, so will your future, because you are living your life being true to your true self.