The Heavy Baggage of 2016 and How to Release It
2016 has been a rough year. A rough year personally (for many of us), nationally, and globally. For me, it feels like each day a new weight is placed in my “2016 bag” that I keep dragging around. I am weary of 2016 and very ready to move on. But will 2017 be any better? It is natural to look to 2017 with hope. Each new year offers renewal and hope for so many people. This is the time of year to step out of and away from the past year and to look forward. But what happens when we move forward without processing the past year? What happens if we just move on and forget without acknowledging what happened to us? Or what happens to us when we move into the next year still carrying last year’s baggage?
Instead of the standard New Year’s resolutions list, the new gym membership, starting the newest guaranteed weight loss diet, or bad habit kicking program, let’s try something different. Let’s shed a different kind of weight in our lives. What would our new year look like if we shed the previous year’s weight and baggage before stepping into the new year? To step into the new year refreshed and free of the excess baggage? How would our lives in the new year be different?
Everyone processes differently. The idea here is to acknowledge 2016. The good and the bad. The beautiful and the downright ugly. Turn around and look the past year in the face and process the year in the best way for you. I listed below some thoughts and ideas to help start the new year with a renewed sense of purpose, compassion, and hope. Let’s talk about ways we can breathe life and shine light into those dark corners in our personal lives. What are some ideas we can come up with on how to look back and lean into our emotions about this past year? Together, let’s come up with some ideas to help us get started in our end of the year processing.
Let’s join together and shed the baggage of 2016!
- Create a ceremony to help wrap up 2016.
- Light some candles, burn incense, or diffuse your favorite essential oils.
- Play some calming (to you) music.
- Make a cup of tea or favorite warm beverage.
- Find a quiet and comfortable space that you can be undisturbed in and settle in.
- Meditate on 2016, choose one or more of the ideas on processing 2016 that I have listed below and take action on the ones you choose.
- Pray. Whatever that means to you at this time. Pray, set an intention, clear the energy around you, sing, sit in silence, etc.
- Release 2016. Mark this moment in silence, a prayer, by saying “I release the year 2016”, a bow, or just by blowing out your candles.
- Ask yourself some important questions. What impacted me the most this past year? What emotions do I feel when I think about 2016? Did I learn something new? What can I be proud of that I did this year? Where did 2016 take me? What kind of changes would I like to make in my life in 2017 that 2016 revealed to me? Where in my life do I need renewal and hope?
- Write down your personal word of the year and why. What word comes to your mind when you think of 2016? What would sum up your year in one word? It could be any word, Courage, Compassion, Stress, Adventure, Wild, Rough, etc.
- Think of some possible word or intention for 2017. What intention would you like to set for 2017? What would you like to see happen in your life in 2017? Love? Peace? Fruitfulness? Health? Thrive? Write your intention down in a special place or somewhere where you can look at it every day.
- Meditate on and write down the 2016 highlights in your life. What were the highs? What were the lows? What was something new you learned this year? Was there something you did for the first time (went camping, drove a sports car, painted a picture?) What were the little things that made up your day, week, month, year? What happened this year that made you smile or laugh?
- Acknowledge the not so good things that happened this past year. Even if you say out loud, “Yeah, _____ happened.” Speak out loud the pain or fear that you have from that event. Get it out of you, do not carry that weight into the next year.
- Fear. Did this year bring up any fears in your life? Did you discover you had a fear that you were not aware of before? What are some ways that you can choose to address the fear that came to your mind? What would be best for you? Take some time to think and reflect on these questions.
- Here is a helpful practice to approach your fear and release it. Welcome that fear to tea (or anywhere in your mind), embrace your fear, sit with it, talk with it, notice how you feel with your fear so close to you, see what you can learn from it. What purpose is your fear serving? Then stand up and walk your fear to the door. Don’t follow your fear out, thank your fear for coming and wave goodbye. Close the door and release your fear. It has served its purpose.
- Self-care. Ask yourself some questions. Did I take care of myself this year? What did I take time for that I loved? What activities did I do where I felt rested and renewed? Then, make a list of self-care ideas that you know will give you peace and renewal in the new year. What would you like to try? Write out a plan to practice daily self-care (sit with a cup of tea and watch the birds at the bird feeder, journal, take a bath, practice yoga, etc), weekly self-care (coffee date with your best friend, a hike, a massage or acupuncture, meet with your health coach, etc), and seasonal self-care (a retreat to a cabin or beach house, a girls/guys weekend away, take a class to learn something new, etc). Start slowly if practicing self-care is overwhelming to you. Start small. But, most of all, start and do something for you.
- Acknowledge your own personal achievements. What accomplishments are you proud of? What goals did you reach this year? Celebrate what you accomplished!
- Practice Gratitude for 2016.
- What happened this year that you are grateful for?
- Write a down or journal about what you are grateful for. What events, people in your life, personal achievements, memories, or life lessons are you grateful for?
- Reflect on why you are grateful for the things you wrote down.
- Think about more ways you could express your gratitude.
- Ask yourself what brought you joy in 2016 or brings you JOY today. If you don’t want to write another list, express it in your own beautiful way. You are free to dance it, sing it, paint it, sew it, speak it, or do it! Do what brings you joy!
- More Ideas. Here are more ways to help process 2016. Do what speaks to you!
- Put together a slideshow of pictures from 2016. You can also add your favorite music from the year!
- Scrapbook your 2016 memories.
- Blog about your end of the year reflections.
- Create a piece of art that represents 2016.
- Pray over 2017 and give thanks for 2016.
- Mantras. Do you like mantras? Here are some mantras to meditate on for the new year. What speaks to you?
- “I embrace”
- “I am enough”
- “I embrace love”
- “I am compassionate”
- “Love surrounds me”
- “I am grounded and safe”
- “I am loved”
I hope this was helpful to you, helped you process 2016, release it, and move forward into 2017 refreshed and excited for the new year! Remember, you are not alone in this. Please join our community here on my blog or on Facebook and let’s have a conversation about how we can process our year. Please feel free to share your ideas and what works for you below in the comments or on my Facebook page. I am excited to step into this new year with you and see where it takes us.
Happy New Year Dear Ones!