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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Empowering Yourself into 2009

The New Year
Transforming Last Years Disappointments
Into Wisdom and Renewal

By Susan Kistin, MFT

As we enter the new year, we are presented us with an opportunity to reflect on the past year and set new intentions for the year ahead. But the prospect of making goals and vowing to uphold resolutions can be daunting. Why? Because trying to stick to goals and resolutions can give us the message that we are not good enough as we are, or that all the hard work we’ve already been doing to direct our lives isn’t good enough. Instead, how about a year-end review that can help us to find meaning in all we’ve been through and renewed purpose as we move ahead into a new year…something that is food for the soul instead of resolution drudgery?

The winter season is the perfect time to settle in and take stock of what we may have begun that needs more nurturing to blossom and grow. Looking out on the stark branches and grey sky reminds us that nothing lasts forever. Yet, we also know that the seeds that were planted in the fall are waiting in the deep stillness of the earth to be born again in the spring. So are the seeds that we planted within ourselves last year, the seeds of our longings, the ways we want to become more of who we are.

All the disappointments, the times we perhaps went in a direction we hadn’t meant to and ended up feeling off track and lost to ourselves...these are the valuable, rich lessons of the past, and they can inform our new direction. Calling in what we want in our lives is most empowering if we acknowledge & honor what we are leaving behind. Saying goodbye to that which is no longer serving us and claiming the lessons learned from our experiences of confusion and doubt can help us to create a new, updated version of our lives.

A Fun and Empowering Reflection for a New Year


➢ Create a special time & place for your reflection: cozy & warm in your home or outside in the clear, cold beauty of winter.
➢ Set aside the amount of time that feels right for you so you are not rushed.
➢ What time of day do you feel most inspired? Do it then!
➢ Create your atmosphere: a candle or flowers, perhaps your favorite food.
➢ Surround yourself with things that represent both what you want to leave behind and what you are calling forth.
➢ Decide if you want to be alone or with friends or family. How would you feel best supported to reflect with freedom & authenticity?
➢ Wear comfortable clothing or perhaps something special if you like dressing up.


➢ Reflect on the past year, by writing in a special journal or using any other medium that appeals to you, like drawing, or sharing verbally with a friend. You can now refer to the items you chose that symbolize what you are leaving behind or calling forth.
➢ Celebrate the powerful and inspiring experiences of this past year. Delight in your accomplishments!
➢ Celebrate and give great honor to the deep lessons learned through your disappointing, challenging experiences.


➢ Now, look into the coming New Year with open heart, bringing to bear the wisdom of your reflections. Create a plan for some concrete actions you can take to make your lessons come alive in your daily life!

With a good measure of sincere reflection, self-forgiveness and heart-felt intention, we can transform what we thought were our failures into an enlightened and successful continuation of life in 2009. This simple process is something you can do every year as your own personal New Year ceremony.

Susan Kistin, MFT helps people with a variety of concerns make conscious, life-affirming intentions so they can move forward with freedom and joy! She is a psychotherapist in private practice, a ceremonialist and co-founder of EarthWays, an organization that offers vision quests and workshops. Susan works with individuals and groups, and will be starting a women’s group in early 2009.
She can be reached at 707-823-1319 or EarthWays web site:

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