My Favorite End-of-Year Ritual

She recreates herself
From once a beautiful butterfly
Comes a soul deepening
Growing a new kind of wings
Wings with wisdom and vision
— Suzanne Cheryl Gardner

A new year.

So much promise of new beginnings and shimmering visions of dreams yet-to-come. 

If you're like me, you're super excited about what 2018 holds.

It's easy to want to plunge forth into all the glistening possibilities ahead and quickly dismiss the year that has just ended.

But in doing so, we risk leaving behind some of the powerful medicine of the previous year. 

Today, I would like to share with you one of my favorite rituals to do as the year draws to an end:

Celebrating and releasing the previous year

As I stare into the sparkling eyes of a brand new year I love taking the time to pause and reflect on the year that has come and gone. By celebrating the year's lessons and releasing what I no longer need, I create the space for miracles to happen in the coming year. 

A Ritual for Celebrating and Releasing 2017:

Create a sacred space:

Light a candle, burn some sage, get out your journal and pen, make yourself a hot cup of tea or pour yourself a glass of your favorite wine, put on some soothing music, and set aside some time where you will be undisturbed for a little while.

Reflect back on the past year:

Think back on the year that has just ended with curiosity, trying to let go of any judgment that arises. It’s easy to get caught up in everything we didn’t get accomplished and to forget all the wonderful things that we did do. This exercise is about noticing the beautiful medicine that 2017 shared with you and celebrating it.

Here are a couple questions to help get you started:

  • What are you most proud of in 2017?
  • What was the biggest risk you took in 2017?
  • What are you most grateful for in 2017?
  • How did 2017 change you?

Release what is no longer needed:

Every year as fall and winter approach, I feel an overwhelming urge to go through all my bookcases, drawers, and clothes and get rid of the things that are taking up space but aren’t being used. I think this is my subconscious’ way to prepare for the year ahead. Once I have released the clutter and am standing in an organized clear space, I feel incredibly light and fully ready to welcome in the new.

  • Look around you at your physical space. Is there anything you no longer need that you can let go of?
  • Now look internally. Are there any thoughts, habits, or beliefs that are no longer serving you that you feel ready to let go of as you move into a new year?

I invite you to take a piece of loose-leaf paper and write down all the things you no longer want to carry with you in 2018. Then burn the paper as a symbol of letting go.


You have celebrated the beautiful lessons of 2017 and have let go of what is no longer serving you. Take a moment to breathe and luxuriate in this space. You are now ready to welcome the miracles that lay ahead.

Invoking 2018:

As you go back to your day-to-day life, start thinking about the year ahead and asking yourself these questions:

  • How do I want to feel in 2018?
  • What do I most desire for 2018?

Notice any thoughts, dreams, or intentions that come to you. These may come very clearly all at once, or they may take a while to show up. They may come as feelings or they may appear in images, dreams, a movie you watch, or an article you read. Just stay open and curious about what your heart is saying “yes” to for the year ahead. Write these desires down as they arise and you’ll soon start crafting a list of clear intentions to move towards as the year unfolds.

Wishing all of you a sparkling and magical 2018!

P.S. If you want to get crystal clear on your desires and intentions for creating a magical 2018, check out my New Year's Women's Retreat on January 6th, 2018!

    Breaking the rules

    This is meditation — luxuriating in the sensory world, resting in the simplicity of your own being, enjoying yourself shamelessly.
    — Camille Maurine
    Woman meditating

    "If only I could find the discipline to meditate every day, my life would be so much better."

    I hear this over and over again from my clients.

    The idea being that if only they could get their butt on that cushion (and keep it there) for 10 to 15 minutes a day, focusing on their breath and emptying their minds, they would finally walk through their days feeling more grounded, calm, and connected.

    I get it.

    I spent years trying to force myself to meditate every morning.

    I even got a meditation timer on my phone so that I could set my ten minutes to the sound of Tibetan singing bowls. I got the fancy cushion, and even went through a period of prepping my space the night before so all I had to do was go sit on my cushion in the morning.

    And still, I found myself bypassing my beautifully set-up meditation corner and going straight to my comfy red papasan chair with my steaming cup of morning coffee instead.

    I loved curling up in my big round chair, all warm and cozy under my chenille throw, letting the heat of my morning coffee warm my hands, breathing in its delicious aroma, and just soaking up the magic of the early morning hour.

    I remember thinking “Why can’t this be my meditation?”

    Then one day, tired of constantly blaming myself for my lack of willpower, I silently gave up the fight and consciously decided that my meditation would be the deliciously sensual act of sipping my coffee in the early morning light.

    The only rule I had was to thoroughly enjoy myself. I didn’t even try to empty my mind. I just allowed myself to BE.

    It felt sinfully pleasurable.

    I didn’t tell anyone about my new daily meditation. I was pretty sure they would tell me I was just finding excuses not to go sit on my pillow and truly meditate. (In my version, I wasn’t even focusing on my breath).

    Then one day, I stumbled upon the book Meditation Secrets for Women. For the first time, I felt like I wasn’t crazy! The authors, Camille Maurine and Lorin Roche, have been teaching meditation since the 1970s and came to understand, over the years, that many women need a different kind of meditation from the one that is traditionally taught.

    They remind us that the meditation techniques many of us have learned were designed mostly by men for men (most of them on monastic paths).

    As women, many of us need and crave a different kind of approach.

    I love this passage in the book:

    “For women to be healthy in meditation, their practice must be based in the primary sense of pleasure. No denial of the body, of the instincts, of emotion, your meditation should be a deeply intimate relationship with yourself, with breath, with life. Deep pleasure is like a stem leading down into your feminine roots, connecting you to the rich, fertile ground of being and drawing life force back up so that your individual essence can bloom. With pleasure at its foundation, your meditation is a coming to your senses, a coming home.” 

    Every time I read these words my whole body shouts YES. 

    So here is my question to you:

    What if you had permission to meditate any way you wanted?

    Woman in grass

    Would you allow yourself the space to luxuriate in your morning cup of coffee or tea, letting the experience awaken your senses, feeling yourself come home to your body with every sip?

    Would you take a ten-minute break at lunch to go lay in a patch of grass, or sit on a bench, and soak up the sun on your skin?

    Would you slow down and turn that bowl of ice cream into a deliciously divine experience with each sensual bite?

    “Meditation is time carved out for yourself – sacred space – to feel the underlying yes from life, the affirmation of your being.” 

    I say it's time we let go of the rigidity we so often associate with meditation.

    There's nothing wrong with the traditional approach to meditation, but if you're feeling guilt about not doing it, I invite you to try a new approach.  

    One that involves inviting these wildly wise bodies of ours into our meditation experiences so that we can tap into their wisdom, reconnect with our natural rhythms, and luxuriate in the pleasure of every moment. 

    Will you join me in breaking the rules?

    On protecting and honoring our space

    What woman doesn’t yearn for time for herself, without having to be anything for anyone else? To rest, to restore, to settle in. To catch up with all the thoughts that fly in and out all day. To sort out her feelings from the tangle of everybody else’s. To be in touch with herself, her body, her rhythm. To clarify her own sense of things. To get back to her essence...
    — Camille Maurine

    I've been thinking about space a lot lately. Mostly, how hard it is to find space for ourselves in the midst of today's busy life and how, at the same time, it is one of the things we crave most dearly.

    The space to slow down, take care of ourselves, do the things we love, but also the space to just think, dream, and BE.

    I remember when I was in college, spending early mornings and late evenings whenever I could writing in my journal, listening to music I loved, drawing, painting...and letting myself take the time just to daydream. (When's the last time you let yourself daydream??)

    Looking back, it's easy to tell myself things were different then and it was a simpler time when I had more space to do the things I wanted. But the truth is, I was a full-time student who also had a full-time job as a barista in a busy coffee shop. I vividly remember how over-stretched and stressed I was juggling school and my job, often studying until midnight and waking up at 4am so that I could be at the coffee shop by 5am to prep for opening.

    My moments of downtime were few and far between. So why do I remember them so well?

    My theory is that I lucked out and managed to squeak out of college just before the MySpaces and Facebooks of the world were launched, and definitely before anyone had an i-phone or smartphone. 

    Back then, if I wanted to wake up early to enjoy a cup of coffee in the magic of the early morning -- that special time right before the sun rises -- it was my own uninterrupted space.

    Today, close to 12 years after college, I still love getting up early to take advantage of that time and, considering I don't have kids (and my dog tends to sleep in), I really don't have anything to interrupt this morning ritual. 

    Except that now, my trusted i-phone sits on the windowsill next to my favorite chair.

    Years ago, if I wanted to check my email during this time (which I can never remember wanting, unless I was waiting to hear from a boyfriend, in which case nothing else mattered), I had to actually get up and walk to my desk to turn my computer on. Waaaay too much effort.  

    Now all I have to do is grab my phone and press a button. Something I find myself doing way too often. The second I feel a twinge of boredom, or worry, or I-wonder-if-I-have-any-facebook-updates, I grab my phone and let the internet invade my space. It's become an unconscious habit, and one that usually leaves me feeling a little empty and vaguely dissatisfied.

    The number one thing I hear from the women I work with is that they struggle to find the space in their lives to slow down and reconnect with themselves.

    We all live busy, very full lives that demand a lot of us. I have to work hard every day to create that space in my life too, which is why I paused this morning as I unconsciously reached for my phone, and thought...  

    How fiercely do we actually protect and honor the little bit of space we do have?

    I realized that if I wanted to have more time to reconnect with myself the way I used to, I was going to have to guard the bit of space I did have like a lioness protecting her cub. Intruders like the internet were NOT welcome.

    How can you be a lioness when it comes to protecting your space?

    What tends to invade your special you-time? 

    How can you create a space that celebrates what's important to you?

    What can you do today, tomorrow, or this week to honor your space more?

    I will be leaving my phone in the other room tomorrow as I begin my morning routine. I also plan on lighting a candle to honor this special time with myself. One: because candles are awesome, and two: because these precious moments with ourselves are true gifts and celebrating them, in any way we can, makes them that much sweeter. 

    Here's to creating and honoring the space YOU need to slow down, breathe, and reconnect with your beautiful self.