Happy New Year!

Who will you become in 2016? What parts of yourself are you ready to grow into?

For me these are not easy questions. I need to live within them, and let them live within me, for weeks or even months.

A few years back, I instituted “the long winter’s rest,” my name for my downtime between Solstice and New Year’s Day. It’s a time to wipe the slate clean and live in blankness for a bit, like a seed resting deep underground. What do I want this year to be?

I know that for many people, this is a question they answer on New Year’s Day. Resolutions or a word of the year is chosen, posted, celebrated… and then the year begins.

But I’m a process girl. This time of year is about re-finding my self. Brushing the accumulations of the year past off my soul so I can remember me in a big-picture way, unencumbered by the detritus of daily life. I start at the Solstice, as the old year dies… and I’m not done yet!

On the Solstice, I look back on the year that’s been. There’s an old tradition of leaving a basket by the front door of your home. When people came to visit, they’d put their metaphoric baggage into the basket. When they left, they could pick it back up or leave it behind (if you do this, be sure to smudge your basket so their crap isn’t left sitting on your doorstep!)

On the Solstice, I put my entire past year in that metaphoric basket, so I can consciously choose what I want to carry into the New Year. Everything getting left behind—thoughts, emotions, whatever—gets written on pieces of paper and burned. Picture me standing over the sink, burning paper in a cast iron skillet. Not very Martha Stewart, but it gets it done.

In a recent phone call Linda Sivertsen said: you actually only get a few things done every year. I think it was a toss-off comment for her, but it hit me in the gut and vibrated through my soul. I thought wow, what if I planned for that? What if I started the year knowing there were only a few things going to get done? What would those be?

This thought has been getting mashed around in my brain with the story of the professor who taught his students about priorities using big rocks, small rocks, and sand. If you don’t know the story, here’s how it goes:

You have a pile of big rocks, a pile of small rocks, and a pile of sand. You need to put them all in a bucket.

The puzzle is what’s the best way to make it all fit?

If you put the sand in first it creates a dense layer on the bottom, taking up a lot of space. The other rocks sit on top of the sand creating an unstable rock tower. But if you put the big rocks in first, then the small ones, then the sand, the small rocks and the sand take up the gaps created by the larger rocks. They create a matrix of support.

The large rocks are your priorities. They’re what you really give a damn about.

I’ve been focused on choosing my rocks for this year. I’m limiting myself to 5 precious things that will be priority. Everything else is small rocks and sand. I’m feeling kinda literal, so there may be actual rocks and paint involved!

How about you? Where is your attention and focus going to land this year?

Wishing you all a joyful beginning to 2016. And remember: this is just the beginning. You are a seed buried deep in the earth, dreaming your becoming. Go slow, build a solid foundation, and stretch gently into your own future.

Big hugs—