Every December, I do a clutter detox. I open the junk drawers I’ve been avoiding for months, pull items off of hangers that I haven’t worn, and generally get rid of anything that isn’t serving me. It’s easy to do this with tangible items, but what would happen if we also had a process for releasing the energy from the previous year that’s no longer serving us?
Chances are you’re already thinking about popping champagne on New Year’s Eve and all the goals you want to achieve in 2019. However, if you don’t take the time to reflect and release the energy of 2018, you won’t get that “clean slate” feeling that we all seek as a new year approaches.
I created this post to provide several options for how to create a reflect and release ceremony so that you can go into the new year with confidence.
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Note: Each ceremony can be practiced independently or mixed and matched. After reading my suggestions you may have ideas for creating your own version of a closing ceremony for the year. I encourage you to always trust your intuition and do what feels right for you. Let’s get into it!
Write from the heart, thanking the year for all the lessons, insights, and opportunities for growth that it showed you. Thank it for the people who hurt you, because that showed you how to show up and be more kind to the next person. Go as deep as you want to and write down whatever comes up.
Read the letter out loud to yourself before burning it. Toss the thank you letter into your fireplace or use a tall pot and a long lighter to burn it. Keep a glass of water nearby for safety. The act of burning the paper will release the energy back into the universe. As the letter burns, say out loud: “I release the energy of 2018 and make space for even more growth, love, happiness and abundance in 2019.”
Here’s a fun way to reflect and release 2018. Light a candle in safe area where it can burn for several hours. You can use any size candle that you like (it’s about the intention you put behind it not the candle itself). As you light the candle, reflect on the lessons you learned in 2018. Say out loud:
“As this candle burns, I allow it to represent the closing of 2018. When this candle finishes burning, it will take with it the energy from the past year, leaving space for more growth, love, happiness, and abundance in 2019.”
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Allow the candle to burn for hours (or days, depends on size) until it goes out on its own. I like to light a pillar candle and place it in my fireplace to burn safely for a few days. If you’re more comfortable with a candle burning for only a few hours, use a tea light candle.
I’m a Palo Santo junkie so it’s only natural that I offer this process as a way to reflect and release 2018. You can use sage if that’s more your jam. Have a few crystals in your space? Bring those too. Find a few moments where you can sit uninterrupted. Light your Palo Santo or sage as you bring forward feelings of gratitude for the year that has passed. Breath deeply as you wave the cleansing smoke around your body. If you’re using palo santo you may need to light it more than once to keep the smoke flowing.
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Breath deeply. As you inhale, let your thoughts rest on the lessons you learned and the ways you grew over the past year. As you exhale, release any unwanted energy that you don’t wish to bring into the new year. Allow the cleansing smoke to work it’s magic. Repeat as many times as needed. Trust your intuition. When you feel complete, either snuff out your sage in a bowl of brown rice, or place your Palo Santo on a fire safe dish where it can self extinguish.
Similar to writing the thank you letter and burning it, you can turn to your journal as a way to reflect and release the energy of 2018. Open your journal to two blank pages adjacent to one another. On the left page write the title “2018 reflections” and on the right page, write “I accept and release” as your title. Then, fill out the pages accordingly. Reflect on the lessons you learned and jot them down, on the adjacent page, write down what you want to release. If you’re a fan of bullet journaling, you can make a fun spread to go along with your lists.
My Shining Year Life Goals Workbook (2019) is an amazing resource that I cannot recommend enough. It’s a goal setting system that truly works. I’m speaking from experience. One of the reasons I had such an impactful year in 2018 is because I filled out this workbook after a dear friend gifted it to me. The best part? The opening pages walk you through “Very Important 2018 Closing Ceremony” which is perfect for reflecting and releasing before the new year.
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Yep, you read that right. Reflecting and releasing can be as simple as taking a shower. As you step into the shower and turn the water on, bring fourth the lessons you learned over the past year. Then think about some of the situations that brought you pain. Is there anyone you need to forgive? Take as long as you need. Lather your skin with some natural soap, then as you rinse the soap from your skin, watch it go down the drain. Feel the water rinsing you clean of all that old energy. Take a deep breath as you turn off the water, watching until the last of it has swirled down the drain. When you step out of the shower bask in the feeling of your energy being cleared.
Alternatively, you can take a cleansing bath. Run your bathwater as you would normally. Feel free to get fancy and a few drops of essential oil, bubble bath, espsom salt, or a bath bomb ( I won’t judge if you choose all three!). As you soak in the tub, reflect upon the past year. Bring forward memories both good and bad, knowing that each has served its purpose in contributing to your overall growth.
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When you’re ready to finish your cleansing bath, stay in long enough to watch all of the water swirl down the drain. As the water washes away, so does any energy you’ve been carrying from the past year.
Bonus points if you follow your bath with a journaling session to set some new intentions!
Whether you choose to light a candle to embody the close of the year, set aside some time for journaling, or create a closing ceremony of your own, I encourage you to be intentional with releasing the energy from 2018 that no longer serves you. We all deserve a blank slate and we don’t need to wait for anyone to give us permission to cultivate empowering rituals.
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I’ll be back soon with more tips for creating your most impactful year yet.
Until then, have fun releasing that old energy.