Second only to Halloween, New Year’s Day is a favorite holiday of mine. The natural recounting of achievements and regrets with an eye to the future feels like a gift. With the anticipation of a child on Christmas Eve, I greet the coming year.
In an effort to up the ante last year, I read about spiritual ways to commemorate the passing of a year and began a practice of releasing the things that no longer serve me. As a family, we drew pictures and named those habits and activities that we were ready to let go. And then we burned them in a fire. Though some of them lingered, I can honestly say we let many of them go.
I also attended a local Unity white stone church service. The idea behind the service stems from the verse in Revelation 2:17 that says:
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth [it].
They offer everyone a small white stone. Upon quiet meditation and reflection, everyone receives a new name and writes it on the white stone. The name can be a title, a characteristic, etc. and is given directly by God or the Divine to the recipient. The minister said by the end of the year you should not need to tell anyone your name because it is so obvious in the way that you live.
Though there was a congregation, the ceremony proved quite intimate. I found this power to receive my own newness aspirational. I don’t have to feel the guilt of some unkept resolution or unmet goal as Heather describes. Instead is the chance to live up to something I really want to be.
This year I’ve spent New Year’s on the road in New Zealand without the chance to replicate either of these experiences, though my seven year old said he was really looking forward to burning “vegetables.”
With no means for a burning bonfire, I welcomed a new year after a glorious hike and a fish and chips meal on the beach by flushing my approval whore down the toilet. She’s the part of me that believes people only like me because I give them what they want, I become who they want me to be.
As I drew her, I noticed she was stunningly beautiful, but had no mouth or voice. I thanked her for keeping me company, for teaching me about regret, honesty and the divinity within. Then I “released” her by washing her away. I’m sure many people will wish that I kept her around another year or two, but my hope is that next year I don’t even recognize her because I’m the living, breathing picture of my new name.
What would you like to release with 2010?
Flickr Photo by NoFstop