By Punya Srivatsava
The end of the year is an opportune time to come to terms with the year gone by, and to seize the year hoving into view. Punya Srivastava talks to a few seekers who do just that.
Happiness Coach, Joyshop facilitator and Spiritual Teacher, Pune
I go to a quiet, inspiring place, often in nature, for ringing in the New Year. Last year, it was at an organic farm near Mumbai called Hideout, and this year I am planning a retreat in Bali.
I invite family and friends to come together for a reflective evening where we discuss the important events, happenings, learning and realizations of the year passing by.
We all then envision the best possible outcome for the coming year in a special way, i.e., either through writing or role playing pretending that the outcome has already happened.
For instance, people get exactly eight minutes to write down their top three speed goals for the coming year for each of the following dimensions of their life: physical, relational, occupational, financial, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual. Then we all stand up and have a ‘Come As You Will Be’ party which means we role play meeting in the same place exactly a year later having already accomplished these goals, joyfully telling each other how well we are doing, celebrating each others’ successes and building on their stories in ways which evoke joy and laughter. After this activity, which generates huge energy and laughter, we sit in silence for 10 to 15 minutes and let go of all attachments and expectations, trusting that this or something even better is bound to happen.
We also meditate past 12 pm or early morning, as in the East the New Year begins at dawn, to start it with awareness and love.
We also do a clearing process with a tool like The Work or EFT to release any negativities or limiting beliefs from the past, take a late night walk together, read inspiring passages and words of wisdom, and reflect on them together and laugh and celebrate.
Spiritual seeker since last eight years, Yoga practitioner, entrepreneur, Mumbai
The very first thought that comes to mind on hearing New Year is deep contemplation. For a seeker, every moment is awareness and as one, I strive to stay in the present as much as I can. The preparation to bring in the New Year starts with going within and contemplating how much I evolved since the last year. For instance, I can confidently say that since the last eight years, I have worked a lot upon my anger, and comparatively, there are fewer instances than before where I lose my temper.
As my guru, Santosh Sachdeva, says, evolution is a process that goes beyond lifetimes. Hence, at the end of every year I make a wish list stating all the things I would like to work upon in my life, and evolve to another level. As a family, we attend a sharing meet at Guru ji’s residence for dinner, where all of us meditate and then share our wish lists.
At home, my family and I compare our lists and contemplations, and resolve to work upon ourselves to do away with all the discrepancies that were neglected in the earlier year.
Spiritual teacher, tarot reader, and numerologist, Mumbai
My journey is largely an inner process so I rarely practice any rituals or go on pilgrimages. The best way I celebrate the New Year is by being in the awareness that the outer New Year is symbolic of inner passages.
I focus on letting go of all that is redundant deep within and embracing whatever is best for me in the now.
Actually every day, every moment is a New Year. But yes, on the New Year we get an external reference point to do something akin to inner stock taking! To review and reflect on what we need to let go of, what’s holding us back or weighing us down, what doesn’t serve us anymore; and to becoming open to energies that enables us energetically.
Coincidentally, I was at a naturopathy detox centre till Diwali, with my daughter, and this gave me a valuable space to be fully with the self through the process.
Sheetal Vaidya and Neerad Trivedi
Spiritual seekers and founders of Soham, a training organisation that focusses on creating reflective work spaces based on fundamentals of love and generosity, in Ahmedabad
“Your tomorrow is what you’ve manifested today.”
With a belief in the above saying, we do a self-retreat where we revisit important events and experiences that have happened in the passing year. We collate the learnings and observe shifts that have taken place personally during this period. In Pune, we are connected with an old sisters’ home that houses 15 elderly nuns above 70 who’ve spent their entire lives in serving humanity. We celebrate an evening with them where we pray, and share a meal together. We have learnt a lot from them in the past years, especially the way they nurture humility, kindness and love within us. We also create a space to explore certain deeper questions such as; what frequency are we vibrating at? What field of love are we in now and what can we do to expand it further? Group meditation and welcoming New Year with prayers, loving energy and joy has always been a practice.
Soul Coach & Spiritual Counsellor, Delhi
Each moment is an invitation to bring in the new, to celebrate what serves, to let go of what has run its course, to make the next leg of that journey from the self to the ‘Self’. I have always loved beginnings but over the years life has also taught me to celebrate the endings. My New Year rituals usually begin with at least a week or two of reflection, giving thanks for the year that has been, for the lessons learnt, for the love I received and could give, for all the highs and lows that decorate those 12 unique months of my life. The New Year begins on a note of quiet introspection, and some intention setting. My first intent in the New Year is to remind myself to breathe deeply, so I may live more fully, to savour every experience without shutting my heart down or dimming the light of my soul, and allowing all my actions to come from a more conscious state of being. I started with a practice of keeping a Gratitude Jar sometime ago, when my life was falling apart on many levels, and feeling grateful for anything was a real struggle. I consciously shifted focus and decided to find at least a few things to be grateful for everyday. I used to put small folded slips of paper with ‘Thank you’ messages for anything that made me happy every day, like the potential of a new day, the morning sunrise, the bird songs, the smile of a loved one, my gurus, a hot cup of tea, and so on. One of my focus areas is to hold a conscious vision of the New Earth that we are helping to create. The start of another year is a perfect time to re-embed the vision of a world we would be happy to live in and leave to our children for the future.
Life Coach, Psychologist and Crystal Healer, Delhi
I welcome the New Year by conducting a fire ritual before midnight, on December 31. Fire is a purifying element that takes away all the negative energy, hence, ushering in the New Year on a purifying note is mandatory for me. I combine practices from Hinduism, Christianity, Vedic beliefs and crystal energy. I have prepared a special havan kund fortified with the power of Sri yantras, crystals and energy symbols, apart from the usual sand and wood. The havan kund is layered with 10-15 different crystals like amethyst, sapphire, quartz, rose, and so on, as crystals are said to dispel negative energy.
I then start the havan in a special spiritual room at a separate corner of my home, with an intention of purifying my body-mind-spirit. Following this, I send an intention to the Divine to shower his grace on all the living beings on this planet. I then proceed to invoke Gaia and send gratitude and healing to it. I make sure that this ritual gets over just after the clock strikes 12’ o’ clock.
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