I don’t usually go out on New Years Eve. At least, I try not to. I’m much too busy sweeping. It’s just a thing I do, every year at five minutes to midnight. I sweep. That is my New Years Eve tradition.
I don’t know remember when I started doing this. I suppose that it’s been a good length of time because I can’t quite recollect when I didn’t do this. This tradition didn’t come from anywhere. I didn’t see anyone do this. It was not a family ritual carried down through generations. I just started doing it and that’s that.
I looked it up once, on the intranet, to see if I was the only one who took broom in hand on New Years Eve. Chinese tradition does include some sweeping but it’s quite specific as to the when and the how.
We all have our own way.
My process starts on Boxing Day and takes me through to the Eve of the New Year. It’s a reflective time that I look forward to and it puts my heart and soul and mind in a positive place to start again and to start new.
Today, at some point, when the house is quiet, I will pour myself a hot tea and find myself a quiet cozy corner with the most comfortable chair. I will sit, with my journal on my lap and pen in hand and write all those things that I am grateful for. I will write about the obvious; my family, my friends, a warm house and daily nourishment. I will write about the extraordinary things that happened throughout the year; the miracles, the divine intervention and the dreams that came true. I’ll write about the gratefulness for the dreams that didn’t come true. Letting them go made room for dreams that I had not considered; that I had not even fathomed had there not been an empty space ripened for a new one to emerge.
I will write about my gratefulness for the people I have met up to this point in my life. I will list them all, as many as I can, including the man who tips his hat at me when I pass by him at the corner store. He has no idea how much he means to me.
I will most likely write about the little squirrel that follows the trail atop the wooden fence outside to my window sill. I will write about how he peaks inside, curious to see what’s going on or to tease the dog into a mischievous chase around the yard.
I’ll write about the praying mantis that clung to one of my daisies at the side garden last summer. I’ll write about the hummingbird that dropped by for a summer visit, hovering beside the hanging pot outside my kitchen window.
I will write about the stars in the sky that I stare at late at night as I dare to dream again.
I will write about my gratefulness for every little thing until my hand begins to cramp and I have acknowledged all of it. The passage in the journal always starts out as a carefully worded and legible document that finishes in a scribbled mess of emotional declaration.
Then I will let all of it simmer.
After a time, maybe hours or a day or two, I will return to my quiet corner once again. I will open my journal to the place where I left my pen inserted, at the place where I left off. I will make any final notes and then I will turn the page.
The next part of the process involves reflecting on the things I learned and the AHA moments. I’ll go over some of the most difficult moments or decisions, not to rehash but to gain perspective. I’ll think about what I learned about myself; what I need to work on, and I’ll consider once again if I feel that I am on the right path or have I fallen off it.
This part can be tough at times. Some of the decisions that we make and the choices we choose for ourselves are not always in line with what other people wanted or how they choose to live. It might be a job change or change in location. It might be breaking free from a long-held belief or role or expectation placed upon you. Sometimes getting to the place where you feel whole and connected can leave the people around you feeling separated. We all know that it’s not anyone else’s responsibility to make us feel whole or happy or fulfilled. It would be terribly selfish to expect someone to do that for you. It’s your job to make you feel whole, or happy or fulfilled.
I think we’re here to encourage each other to reach their highest potential. I think we’re here to enhance the life experiences of each other, not become the whole of them. I think we’re here to be the icing on the cake for each other, not to become their cake. You have to be your own cake. The icing just enhances what’s already there. The cake is still quite delicious on its own and really doesn’t need the icing. The icing just makes it a little sweeter.
Although, I must acknowledge, some icing and cake combinations don’t sit well together after digesting.
I once ate a piece of carrot cake with milk chocolate icing and I got the worst stomach ache.
Anyway, this is just a thought!
At this point, I’ll probably get sidetracked assigning cake flavors to myself and the people around me. It’s just how my mind works. I’ll compare their personalities to the various flavours. Some of them are definitely chocolate, some a light taste of vanilla, some cherry chip. This exercise will have nothing to do with my personal development but I’ll enjoy it none the less. Then I’ll start craving and I might even take a small break to bake a cake.
Afterwards, with a piece of cake and a hot tea in hand, I’ll go back to my little corner and journal again.
This time, I’ll envision all of the possibilities and write them down. I figure, if I can’t consider the possibility of something coming into my life, how in the world will it find it’s way here or how will I recognize it if it comes. You can’t expect something to come into your life if you shut your blinds, seal your windows and lock your doors to it.
So I write any and all possibilities, dreams, hopes, aspirations. How do I know if it’s feasible? Well, if I can’t find a reasonable and true reason why it couldn’t happen, then…..it’s possible. So it goes on the list.
For instance, I will not write that someday I want to scuba dive because….. I don’t want to scuba dive. The main reason that would block it from happening is that I don’t want it to happen. Other reasons would include, being submerged in water makes my toes cramp. I only enjoy two types of swimming, dog paddle and back float. I get sea sick. I like land…..a lot! So…. Scuba diving is not natural for me and will not be on the list.
However, buying and wearing a dress is on the list. I’ve never liked them before but lately, I can see myself wearing one if I can find a good comfortable orthopedic dressy flat shoe.
I’ll include every possibility I can think of; surface things that touch on style and décor and finances and I’ll write about the deeper things; dreams, hopes, aspirations and a vision of who I would like to be, the person I think I could be, my best person.
When all is said and done, I prepare for the sweeping.
New Years Eve, at five or ten minutes to the ball drop, depending on the year I’ve had, I take out my broom.
My children shout, “There she goes! Hurry Mom!”
I descend down the stairs and start in the basement of the house. I go to each corner of the basement and in the hard to reach places and I sweep out all of the things that might still be lurking in the shadows. I’m talking about the old angers or resentments, the bits of disappointments and the memories of disagreements and uncertainties. I sweep them up, in my mind, up the stairs and out into the open, the center of the house.
Then I go to the upper level of the house and think about the possibilities and the dreams for the future. This time, since it’s in my children’s bedrooms, I try not to be distracted by the clothes on the floor and the unmade beds. Instead I focus on cleaning out the space to allow for new dreams to flow in. I sweep the space to prepare it and return to the center of the house again.
I move through the main floor at this point and go from room to room; the family room, to clear any hurt feelings and misunderstanding or impatience; the kitchen to encourage nourishment and health and healthy and healing conversation. The best conversations always seem to happen over tea at the kitchen table. I sweep all the corners from floor to ceiling and continue down the hall to the back door.
It is at this moment, at less than a minute to midnight, that I open the back door wide and sweep the old year out. It’s over now and done. There is no point in carrying anything negative forward.
Then I shake the broom outside. Sometimes I bang it against the side rail of the deck to be sure to remove every last bit.
Then I return inside the house and place the broom carefully back into the closet.
It’s 10 seconds to midnight; I stand at the front door. The Television blasts the countdown in the background. My youngest son barrels to the cupboards to retrieve a large clanging pot.
The door is flung open wide and the New Year and all its possibilities, hopes, dreams, goodness, kindness and love rush in. We hug, we kiss and my son stands outside and rings in the New Year, calling it to us. Then I extricate myself and dash to the front window and slide it open as well to allow for all of it to fill the house. There is so much joy and goodness waiting to enter. I welcome it with arms and windows and doors wide open.
Happy New Year to everyone, everywhere! This is the year, a new beginning, a fresh start. It is when hopes and dreams are born and anything, no matter where you have been or what you have done or haven’t done is completely and entirely possible, if you allow yourself to consider, if but for a moment, that it is possible.
Blessing to everyone!!!!!! May your year ahead be filled with possibilities!