This is the final blog post in a series of four on spirituality and its connection to our health. Since it’s the end of the year and a time when many of us are making new year resolutions and thinking about ways to begin the new year refreshed, renewed, and motivated to create change, I felt it appropriate to share the spiritual practices that help me transition from one year to the next with ease.
If you’ve been following along in the series, you know that spirituality is an important part of my personal and professional life. It’s a tool that I use to help myself stay grounded and well while running a busy medical practice, but it’s also a tool and resource that I offer to my patients as part of their treatment.
Spirituality is an important part of my everyday life, but it is especially important for me at the end of the year and something that I incorporate into all of my end of the year rituals and practices.
Among these spiritual practices are connecting with friends and family, self-reflection, creating a vision board, and “burning the year” —
Connecting with Friends and Family
As the year comes to a close, I find it necessary to slow down. The holidays are often so busy and hectic that it can be difficult to truly connect with our loved ones, so it’s essential for me to slow down and create time for connection.
I take a break from work and make time to visit family and friends. Sometimes I travel to Ecuador to be with my family, but this year, I’ll be traveling to South Africa to visit my husband’s family.
A big part of my spiritual practice is writing or journaling. I take advantage of the slower pace of life to journal and reflect on the things that have occurred throughout the year. I note my successes as well as my challenges.
I find it beneficial to assess the past; to look at what happened during the year, acknowledge the things I accomplished and the things I am proud of, as well as the challenges and the lessons learned from those challenges. I do this for all aspects of my life – career, love, family, finances, physical health, mental health, and spiritual health.
My husband also does this exercise and we come together to share our experiences as well as our goals and intentions for the coming year.
Create a Vision Board
With the visions I come up with during my self-reflection, I create a visual representation of what I want to feel, see, and do in the year to come. You can do this by writing your hopes and intentions on a piece of paper or clipping images from old magazines that represent what you want to experience in the new year and arranging them on paper or poster board.
Creating your vision in this way can be really powerful. In fact, many of the things that I add to my vision board and set my intention to do, see and feel actually come to fruition.
This is because imagination and intention are really powerful tools that can be used as part of your spiritual practice to help you create the things you want in life.
“Burning the Year”
The year wouldn’t be complete without one of my favorite spiritual practices, a ceremonial ritual called “burning the year.”
In Ecuador, where I’m from, New Year’s Eve is a big celebration. It always involves a fire and a figure of an old man sculpted from newspaper. We dress up the old man and he watches the celebration.
As the old man watches, a close friend or family member will acknowledge the good things as well as the challenges each person in attendance has experienced during the year and offer blessings and encouragement for their journey through the next year. For example, a family member may look at me and say. “ Judy, I know that you’ve accomplished so much this year and had many struggles, so in the new year I wish you abundance, peace and ease.”
At midnight, we write down the things we want to let go off or release before entering the new year and we burn the paper along with the old man made of newspaper.
The paper burns in the fire symbolizing letting go of the past and the creation of new energy so that we can welcome the new year refreshed and with a clean slate.
This celebration is one of my favorite parts of the year. It’s a celebration that we do every year in my country. I love it so much that I try to recreate it even when I’m not spending New Year’s Eve in Ecuador!
This is the way I end the year. These rituals and spiritual practices have helped me to end each year filled with gratitude, grounded in spirituality, and ready to start the new year feeling inspired and hopeful.
I hope they do the same for you!
Before I sign off, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here. Vitality Natural Health Care wouldn’t be what it is without you.
Thank you for reading my blogs week after week, engaging with us on social media, and allowing me and my team to provide you with quality health care in our Tempe, Arizona clinic.
I wish you and yours a peaceful, safe, and joyous holiday.