Pausing to Reflect

New Years Eve is a rather arbitrary choice on the calendar, and of course different cultures have different dates to celebrate this annual celebration that the earth has made it around the sun yet again.

But this is the arbitrary date that my culture has chosen for this celebration, and for the annual practice of reflecting on the year we are closing out and setting intentions and resolutions for the year ahead.

What do you find when you reflect back on 2023? How was your year?

Today I hosted a New Year’s Fire service at my congregation, and many of the participants were reflecting back on how they had begun this year, what they had meant to release from 2022 and what intentions they had set as they began 2023. Many said things like “I got about halfway there”.

My personal reflection on 2023 is similar. I started off with some big goals and intentions (this was going to be the year of FUN and getting a bunch of hikes in and all that), and then life happened and most of those goals were set aside. On the other hand, I DID have fun this year, in the midst of challenge, growth, faithful work, and more.

One of the challenges I set aside was the 52 hike challenge, and now in the FB group I am seeing all the posts made by folks celebrating their success with the challenge. My inner critic voice may say “if they could do it why couldn’t you?” and my inner cranky jealous child may even feel resentful of seeing others succeed. But I notice those voices and send them some love and then I smile and celebrate that some folks did find success, and many others (like me) found motivation and inspiration even if we didn’t get to the finish line.

What intentions do you set for 2024?

What I don’t think is helpful is to use New Year’s as an annual chance to be unhappy with who you are. Resolutions to change, to exercise more, to lose weight, to help with the dishes more, or whatever …. the turning of the calendar won’t make us into a new person and we are all already worthy of love just as we are. Don’t beat yourself up into being a better or different person. Rather, love yourself and support yourself into growth.

Today I saw some lovely intentions set at my congregation. Growth, compassion, love.

My intentions for this year are to love myself and prioritize my health and needed boundaries. In other words, I’m going to put my own oxygen mask on.

My second intention for this year is to be open to the unexpected, to magic, to miracles, to the new. I’m not setting plans like I can see into the future and say for sure what will happen or what I will do. Rather, I am ready to co-create with others, to dance with possibility and conspire with the divine.

As we pause and then cross this threshold in time together, may you know that you are loved, connected, and inherently worthy. And may 2024 bring you many blessings and opportunities to live your life to the fullest.

Love to you all,


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