As we approach the end of another year, I find myself doing what I usually do at this time of year: stopping to pause and reflect upon the past twelve months and giving thought to what I have experienced this year. I try to let myself consider the full breadth of my experience and include the low points as well as the high points, the losses as well as the gains, the sorrows and the joys, the accomplishments and the failures – the whole shebang, or as Zorba the Greek says, the “full catastrophe.” Receiving it all with an open heart allows me to experience a kind of completion in which it’s no longer necessary to dwell upon whatever residual losses I might still be in the grip of. This also allows me to release attachments that may be preventing me from moving ahead with openness and receptivity to the experiences awaiting me in the coming year.
Completion is what I’m after because if I’m not complete with the past, whether it’s something from last February or from this morning, I’m not as present and available to what is showing up on my plate now. I welcome even those shadowy aspects of this past year, the mistakes, the disappointments, the embarrassing moments, the misjudgments, those problems that I might have caused or those that were beyond my control. I look back to last January, and to the commitments that I made then, to assess how I did. Did I fulfill the vision that I had a year ago? If I did, can I acknowledge myself for that? If I didn’t, can I forgive myself for not doing so? And either way, is there anything for me to learn from my successes and failures that I can apply to the challenges that may await me this year?