It’s that time of year again, when everyone starts talking about all the changes they want to make come January 1. Talk of “resolutions” is everywhere—on social media, during TV commercials, and standing around the water cooler. Then it gets us thinking about all we want to accomplish in the coming year, too, so we start making promises to ourselves that will be really hard to keep. That’s where it gets tricky: though the numbers vary a bit, experts believe that only eight percent of people are able to keep their New Year’s resolutions. Ouch!
Life presents itself in a vast array of cycles: the cycle of the moon, the cycle of the seasons, and the cycles of the sun and tides. Celebrating these cycles with some type of ceremony is such a profound practice and one worth considering.
This past New Year’s Eve, rather than hit the town with friends, I was snuggled up by the fire holding a ceremony to close the cycle of 2013 and welcome the coming year.
For our ceremony, we found a little shop that sold a variety of stones. We picked out stones based on their traditional meanings. Each one represented something we wanted to cultivate or bring into the new year. We included stones like carnelian for passion and obsidian for letting go.
One by one we placed each stone in a little wooden box. We spoke about each stone’s meaning and specifically how we wanted it to infuse our lives in the coming cycle around the sun. We closed the box and put it outside for the night.
The next morning, we brought the box inside and imagined bringing all the things we had spoken about the night before into our lives. The box now sits open on our mantel to help us remember our intentions.
On the eve of every New Year, a familiar tune floats over bubbly toasts and festive kisses. As the clock strikes midnight and we add another notch to the belt of our years, the words of the late Scottish poet Robert Burns are sung in unison while we sway amongst friends and family.