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Contemplation, Candlelight and Connection

withered tree surrounded with snow during daytimeContemplation, Candlelight and Connection: Three Rituals for Celebrating New Year’s Eve Quietly

Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves at year’s end is to celebrate quietly. If that feels like your speed, here are three rituals to help.

CONTEMPLATION – Take a contemplative walk. Feel the weight of your body shift from side to side with each step, sensing feet lifting and making contact with earth below. Begin to notice sensations of receiving winter air with skin, nose, throat, chest, belly. Gaze down towards soft earth matter below, out to bare branches, up to the stars and moon, and everything in between. Listen as ambient soundscapes meet awareness and dissipate, on their own. Savor beauty and wisdom present in the natural world, sharing gratitude in return.

CANDLELIGHT – Enjoy a candlelight bath. As you settle in, allow eyes to soften, relaxing all of small muscles in and behind your eye sockets. Release any holding in body that isn’t needed. Attune to sensations of warmth and being held, allowing whole body to continue to soften. If using essential oils, spend a few breath cycles resting with their fragrance. Then begin to reflect on experiences of kindness, laughter and connection in the past year, as well as ways you’ve grown. Notice what lights up your heart, and what you’re welcoming in 2022.

CONNECTION – Write a series of love notes to dear friends and family. You might choose to focus on people you’ve been out of touch with and miss. With each note, hold that person in awareness and notice what sensations arise in your body. Listen for ways your heart is touched by this person. Rather than trying to share everything you love about them, through words or a drawing, focus on one specific and heartfelt sentiment. You may want to combine with a contemplative walk to the mailbox immediately after or on New Year’s Day.

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