Welcoming the New Year with Mindfulness

Mindful Editor Anne Alexander reflects on the end of the decade and the start of a new year.

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As an old year ends and a new one begins, I’d love to invite you to join me in doing a simple practice that helps us recognize this transition and honor all that has happened and all that awaits each of us.

You might want to have a few tissues or a journal handy. I find this practice brings so many emotions to the surface, making me teary and grateful and excited to be alive all at once. I hope you find it similarly powerful. 

A Practice for Honoring the Transition to a New Year

  • Sit comfortably, relax your body, and close your eyes.
  • Slowly, gently, breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. 
  • Now, imagine that you are breathing in all of 2019 and what transpired for you, bringing the whole year into your lungs with each breath.
  • Survey your memories as they come in on your breath and fill your lungs, catching glimpses of the year’s high and low moments.
  • Allow yourself to feel the good, bad, disappointing, marvelous, wondrous, thanking everything that life brought to you this year.
  • Feel the fullness of the year, savoring these moments of reflection. 
  • Let it all go. With a few deep, long exhales, let it all go.
  • Experience the tides of your breath a few times, in and out, and then rest, sensing the air coming in through your nostrils and flowing out.
  • Let your breath flow naturally, effortlessly.
  • Next, imagine a field of snow, freshly fallen all around you, pure, expectant, inviting.
  • Allow your heart to swell and your ears to attune: What is calling to you this year? Where does your heart long to go? Feel and sense deeply.
  • When you are ready, let your eyes flutter open: Welcome to a new beginning.

Take some time to take note — and ideally, write down — some of what came up for you during your meditation. What thoughts and memories burbled to the surface? What feelings came up for you? What made you smile? Feel calm or nourished? Are there things you feel relieved to let go of and leave in the past?

Personally, I find it funny that a whole year can seem to whoosh by in a blur, and what comes to the surface are not the big wow moments (birthdays, holidays, graduations), it’s the silly little seemingly insignificant moments that have made the deepest mark (a moment in the midst of our daily scramble, zooming off, predawn to get to the bus stop, my son shaving in the darkness, one of my daughters illuminated as she checks her text messages, another DJ tunes for us). Realizing that it’s these little moments that stick, helps us remember to slow down as they occur.

What direction called to you in the snow? I hope you’ll take a moment to write it down and allow the message of your heart to surface. In fact, the practice reminds me of a beautiful quote by Rumi:

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.

—Rumi

A New Year, A New Issue of Mindful

As we welcome the new year, we also welcome the love, hope, and laughter of a new issue of Mindful. This issue is packed with big-hearted people teaching others how to slow down and appreciate the good moments while also navigating the bad with grace and hope. Mindfulness icon Tara Brach teaches us how to find true self-compassion in the face of our restless anxieties. Ali, Atman, and Andrés of the Holistic Life Foundation show us how the power of mindfulness can transform lives and communities. And Barry, Mindful’s beloved and Falstaffian founding editor, brings us laughter by sharing that none of us, alas, is the center of the universe. 

Wishing you a new year filled with deep breaths, wonderful beginnings, love, hope, and laughter.

— Anne

Read More

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