Practical ways to harvest, honor, celebrate, release, & create anew
For many, the year 2021 will be inextricably linked to the turmoil, loss, and upheaval of the year prior. And while the year brought new possibilities, relief, and opportunities for new beginnings to some, it has become clear on so many levels that we will never go back to how it once was. So much work is yet to be done to heal, rebalance, re-imagine, and re-emerge anew, and to build a future that is thrivable for all people and all life on earth.
After all we have been through - individually and collectively - it is all the more important to take time for reflection, for rest, renewal, and resetting. It is from that place of grounded, resourced clarity, that we can do our best work.
If we slow down enough to tune into the turning of the seasonal tides and the energetic qualities of yet another poignant transition, many of us naturally feel drawn to take inventory of the year, of our lives, where our lives and contributions fit into the matrix of creation unfolding around us, and to set intentions for the next revolution around the sun.
This is what many of our ancestors did for thousands of years. In my heart, the more people do something like this, the better for all of us and the evolution of our shared world. With reflection comes deeper understanding, and this makes it more likely that we will honor and integrate our learning as we move forward – individually and collectively.
I have brought together elements of various practices into a reflection exercise designed around the following basic questions:
The practice creates a context for deeper learning and for intentions to surface for the coming year and beyond so that we begin the next revolution around the sun having honored where we have come from, and connected to where we are heading from here.
You will notice that each aspect/question can be very rich in itself. Take your time. It's best to give the practice plenty of room to breathe and evolve. Set aside large blocks of time to do this on your own, individually at first... if you can, take walks in nature, sit by a fire, sing, do art, listen to music, write in your journal, or speak into a recorder... whatever works for you... then share your insights, reflections, and discoveries with people who are close to you - your partner, your family, mentors and allies, etc... and perhaps later with a larger group of people in your community. Create sacred space… Use sage or incense; or you can light a candle… Be patient, be mindful, honest, open, and deliberate. Create a context that helps facilitate reflection. Traditionally this process was conducted over many days, even weeks, during the darkest days of the year - in a ceremonial way.
And of course, if you engaged in this process - or something like it - last year, it’s great to get those notes out and reflect on your process, insights, and intentions from that time.
Enjoy exploring the aspects of the practice that resonate most with you and share it with others if the experience proves helpful and useful.
I am reminded that our shared future indeed will be a woven tapestry of our individual and collective visions, intentions, commitments, choices, and actions.
Each section contains a series of guiding questions. Some will resonate with you more than others. Just gravitate to the ones that feel best, and you can create your own of course.
Feel free to share it with others if you think it could be useful to your friends and families (BTW, some form of this can be very cool to do with your family during the holidays).
May we create the time and space to harvest from and release the year past - especially given the nature of its unfolding - and may the learning and growth serve to fertilize possibilities for the coming year - and beyond!
Happy and rewarding NEW BEGINNINGS to you all. Here comes the light!
Christopher Kuntzsch is a leadership and life coach, consultant, facilitator, father, adventurer, musician, and co-founder of Ecology of Leadership programs at the Regenerative Design Institute in California. His work explores the intersection of leadership, community, interconnectedness, ceremony, healing, and eco-social justice.