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Contrails at year end......

I have often heard people say "glad to see the back of that year". Personally, for the past five or six years, I wake up excited about 31st December. At the end of each year, I reflect on what I have managed to achieve that year. I love to write in notebooks throughout the year - my goals, aspirations, events that happen. They are not constructed paragraphs, more like doodling, dreaming thoughts, sometimes mixed with very practical tasks to be done. It is always a mixed bag of goodies. Of course there are references in there that I feel were silly, frivolous thoughts rather than true aspirations, yet this process of writing out my goals for the year with reflecting on what I actually did, is of itself a process that I really enjoy.

Having spent a lot of 2021 involved in a new renovation project at my property and facilitating a number of events throughout the year, I had decided to share my own end of year process in a workshop, scheduled for today, 31st December entitled "Awareness and Letting Go". However, like so many more people, I found myself identified as being a close contact and had to inform participants that the workshop could not go ahead. The format for the workshop goes a little like this. There is a group introduction, a little journal reading that I share, an invitation for participants to share information about an item they have brought to the workshop and its' significance to them as well as an overview of what they would like to let go of and leave behind in 2021. This is then followed by a 'letting go' ritual. The last part of the workshop involves being open to 'new possibilities' for a new year. The idea is that each participant leaves the workshop having let go of old habits, negative patterns, negative beliefs and/or judgements about themselves or others - with new ideas, aspirations and goals for the new year.

On a reflective morning stroll earlier, my focus on the present moment emphasized an abundance of activity. As the sheep were grazing on the hilltop of the field adjacent to the local church, the bird call echoed with the rhythmical flow of the wind, as the blades of grass in turn danced to its vibration. The radiating sun presented a mirror reflection of the blue sky, the clouds, the tree limbs and bank rushes as it shone on the flowing stream beside and behind the church. I felt the gentle, soft breeze of the last day of the year, brush softly on my face. All of nature in this one moment were singing and dancing, the wind nudging the trees, the blades of grass, the birds and the sun in turn shining a light of reflection for each of them to see each other, responding with a passion for the NOW that was invigorating. As I strolled on a little further, contrail footprints in the bright sky became a reminder of continuous change and movement, even when were are in 'isolation'. The contrail represents the residue of what is left behind from the journey to date. How timely this contrail reminds me to leave behind what I do not wish to bring into the next year.

In light of not facilitating a workshop this last day of the year, I offer the suggestion of taking a little time for yourself in nature today. It does not have to be somewhere very rural, just a place outside where you can see the sky, some trees and hear the birds. Identify any feelings, thoughts and beliefs that do not bring you a sense of peace, whether towards yourself or someone else. Vocalize them outside and the let wind of change take them away. Then take a moment to really see everything that is around you. Try and identify the contour, colours, texture and depth of nature. Create a visual of what you see and draw it into your heart so that you can bring it forward with you when you need it during days ahead. We can adopt new tools for when we are feeling challenged, vulnerable or simply overwhelmed by an overactive mind. I call this particular tool of internalizing and memorizing a visual as my 'visual portrait' tool. Today I used my 'visual portrait' tool to assist me in letting go the negative experiences of this year, whether created by me or experienced through others. I do so, to create a new space in my heart. I have consciously created a beautiful memory (visual portrait) of this magical moment in nature today. I have also taken a photo of the contrails in the distance, rather than up close, as I let them fade away into the background of the past.

Image 31st, December, (contrails in the distant sky)

Doodling 29th April, 2021

Doodling 1st May, 2021

I am looking forward to more workshops in 2022. If you enjoyed this article, please like and share. If you also love nature, you can see some of the other photos I have created as blank greeting cards available from my website here.


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