We begin each year as explorers of new unchartered territory. No one has embarked on 2017 before now. The future is uncertain but we aim to press deeper than the year before, crafting resolutions and goals to guide us there.
There is something refreshing about a new start. A new year. The change of one day can turn well worn rhythms into a fresh cadence. The way we step into 2017 can guide the nature of the months that follow.
Each year, a few of my girlfriends and I gather together to reflect on the previous year and seek vision for the next. Without fail, this day becomes significant in establishing the foundation from which I build my dreams and actions for the year. The words we share and speak over each other become my anthem when I need to be brave and my refrain when I am feeling discouraged.
There are many ways you can reflect and dream for this year:
- Take time to reflect. We can’t truly look ahead without acknowledging the journey we’ve been on. Gather 2 or 3 friends and spend some time reflecting on the sweet and the bitter from 2016. Give each person 10 minutes to share, uninterrupted (This is important as sometimes our good intentioned thoughts can stunt our friend’s thought process). Then for the next 10 minutes, take turns speaking affirming truth to that friend. What truth did you hear in her words? What strengths did you recognize?
- Choose a word over your year. Each year I select a word as a banner of what I want to live and act under. Every year, that word becomes richer and deeper than I could have ever anticipated. Some people like to make a visual craft with the word displayed in their home as a reminder of what they are striving for. I do not have much patience when it comes to scissors and paper so I choose to have my word inscribed on a necklace each year through The Giving Keys. It hangs around my neck all year as a reminder of what the year will bring.
- _Give words to each other. _We all know words are powerful, but sometimes it can feel intimidating trying to come up with the right thing to share with a friend. I’ve found there are words that lie in the deep but all it takes is a little thinking outside of the box to get them out. Gather your friends, turn on some reflective music, grab a bunch of blank scratch paper and pens, and spend 20 minutes writing down words, any words, phrases, or symbols that come to mind. Write them down individually on a single piece of paper. Don’t be afraid of writing down even weird objects that come to mind! I kept thinking about popcorn during my time and when I wrote it down, I started to reflect on what happens to popcorn. It starts as a kernel and then when pressured with heat it bursts into wholeness. This ended up being a profound word for one of my friends. When everyone is done, pile up all the papers and sit in a circle. Go around the table, one by one, and pick up the paper on top of the pile and read it aloud. These words are yours to take a reflect on for the new year.
Taking time to pause and prepare for the year is one way we can step forward and embrace the unknown with anticipation. Giving one day, or a few hours, can alter the depth in which you enter into the twelve month path laid before you. So travel onward, my friends, with strength in your step and a vision in your heart. 2017 is bound to be the best year yet.
Photos by Andrea David