Stranger Things Have Happened, Why Take The Chance
At the end of every year, we turn our heads looking backward at what was accomplished (or not) and forward with the optimism of what is to come. As we straddle the crosswalk of 2020 and 2021, we immerse ourselves in motivational pep talks that inspire the new journey we are about to take. But this year is different, isn’t it?
This year has been full of unprecedented, monumental events of profound importance. Every other year, we were able to raise our glasses in celebration with a select group of friends, or we were able to participate in downtown Las Vegas with thousands of friends that we haven’t met yet. This year, your celebration is considerably different.
The need to bring levity, spirit, security and hope has never been felt more globally. Most of the population on this earth, even this divided nation, unites in, giving 2020 an enthusiastic one-finger up (the bird is a fairly universal sign). This year resembles a battlefield of casualty and chaos that has been mostly unresolved. Unresolved means we are sure to see more carnage in 2021.
I need finality. I need to sever the ties with 2020, and there is no better way to do that than creating a ritual. Rituals have the dual purpose of creating finality and hope. They also have the peculiar ability to banish evil spirits. Look, I am a grounded person, but this year has tested my limits, and I’m not ruling anything out just to be safe.
What’s With The Rituals?
Drastic times call for extreme measures, and baby, it’s time for a change. Creating a ritual doesn’t have to be anything severe or annoying, like knocking on a door 7 times before entering a room. Rituals need to give you a sense of finality-cutting ties. Knowing something is over gives you confidence and a positive mindset to plan, dream, hope. It can kick you out of the perpetual slump of 2020.
You probably already have a ritual that you practice without even knowing it—like, wearing your lucky jersey before every football game—or interviewing yourself in front of a mirror before every blind date. Rituals can be religious or not. Some harbor close to superstitions, and if you feel better using that word instead of ‘ritual’ to explain your crazy, you do you.
Research has consistently shown that even the simplest of rituals are effective in:
Comforting in grief
Increase confidence levels
Positively impact thoughts, feeling, and behavior
Gives us focused and operating with purpose
Provides a finality
And the best part is, you don’t even have to believe in them for rituals to work. Rituals give you empowerment and put you back in control of your life or your day. Small rituals, like holding your breath for 10 seconds before you spank your screaming toddler in front of the entire store, provide mental breaks.
These mental breaks allow you to regroup, refocus, and collect your thoughts, avoiding rash actions. Or, at least give you the strength to wait until you get to the car. Sounds easy enough to send 2020 back to hell, right? How do we create one?
Sign Me Up! How To Create A Ritual
When creating a ritual, you need to focus on a few things for the act to be beneficial to you. A ritual is just a sequence of events or a process that can be easily created and duplicated, but the significance of what you are doing should be thought of. Things to consider for a New Year’s ritual:
Rituals Pass Memories: When you create a ritual, you are making a memory that you can pass down as a family tradition, or you can keep it intimately to yourself. If you want to build the ritual into a family tradition, make sure that the ingredients are readily available for future generations. Your contribution of immortality to warm memories for your family. Creating a ritual with your family encourages a special bond.
Rituals Are Mindful: Think about what you want to accomplish. Are you hoping for love in the new year? Success in a career? Think about what you genuinely want to see happen next year and how your ritual will represent that goal. Rituals have significant meaning tied to the practice, be clear on what you want your ritual to mean to you, and be prepared to behave that way.
Rituals Require Commitment: Performing rituals are more than waving some garlic in the air and sitting back to reap the rewards. They require positive thoughts and actions to work towards the goal that you set in the Mindfulness stage. For example, if you are looking for love in the new year, have some plan on how you attempt to attain it. In a new year ritual, the ritual draws a line in the sand as an end-and a starting point. Do you know that old saying, ‘Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have’?
Document Your Ritual: Make it official. To practice rituals with regularity, whether it is once per year, month, or even daily, you want to make sure you are consistent. Writing the ritual down in a family heirloom book or a quilt, if that is your thing, is a great way to pay it forward so other family members can add to it—the proverbial family tree that tells a story about traditions and how they came to be.
What Are Some Ideas?
Rituals are about initiating a change within yourself to enhance your life. Setting the stage would be an initial step - ambiance baby. In a New Years’ ritual, you are attempting to put closure on the past, so consider a ‘cleansing’ to shade the residue of 2020 off of you and clean the slate to set positivity in motion.
Cleansing the space and yourself is a great way to start. The most common methods are Smudging the space and Bathing yourself in essential oils—nothing like a little me time. Smudging is said to evacuate the negativity that has entangled itself in your home and your person.
Smudging is done by using a shell or container (representing water), plant bundles (representing earth), lighting the plant bundle on fire like incense (representing fire), and blowing the fire out to create smoke (representing air).
The smoke is wafted around the home and person using a feather or your hand. Smudging creates an atmosphere of separation and change. The wonderful smells leave a lasting impression and an intense feeling that the home and your person are refreshed and energized, clearing the slate for you to create a new year.
The most common plants used are:
To cleanse yourself in a bath of essential oils then bath bombs are really the way to go.
What Can I Incorporate In My Ritual?
Now that you have cleansed, it is time to focus on what you are looking for in the new year and choose an item and procedure that best represents it. Romans used to grab anything that was erect - a cucumber, carrot, zucchini, whatever - because they believed that evil spirits would be seduced by the glorious erection and persuaded to possess it rather than possessing them. This would keep negative energies away. History is fun.
Are you after luck? One of the many superstitions in our culture is that pennies are lucky. This belief goes back to ancient civilizations that thought metals, like copper, were gifts from the gods to protect humans from harm. Moving from wood bowls to copper kitchenware would have me singing metals praises too.
The point is, if you want luck, there is a basis to use a penny in your ritual. Like, placing a penny in your right pocket 5 days before new years, or maybe going out with a metal detector on new years eve and clean what coins you find to put them back in circulation. The item can be anything as long as you believe it represents what your goals are.
Unleash Your Passive Aggressive
Basil: It has long been believed that basil protects against any kind of harm. Keeping a basil plant on a windowsill or smudging with Basil may assist you in keeping any foul play away in 2021.
Frankincense: Worried about your health? Implement a ritual of placing a few drops of Frankincense in a diffuser once a month to promote good health.
Rose: Rose essential oil promotes love. Ohh-la-la and harmony. If you are looking for love in the new year, this little diddy may do the trick.
Bergamot: Power, wealth, and success are encouraged to visit when Bergamot is in your corner.
Sandalwood: Ready for a new little bundle of joy? Sandalwood promotes fertility and overall women health.
Unleash Your Passive Agressive
Pinatas: Busting a pinata open can be a great deal of fun and an avenue to let out all the aggression and stress built up from the previous year. They even have a COVID one- mwa ha ha ha.
Breaking Dishes: Denmark has a wonderful tradition of throwing dishes and watching them shatter into a million pieces. I suggest not using the good china.
Keep A Secret
Red Panties: Some cultures believe red panties bring luck in the new year. Let your freak out and get a really exquisite lacy lingerie and wear it under your new years garb. Keeping this little secret to yourself will put you in touch with that inner goddess.
Let The Countdown Begin
Rituals are what you make of them. There are no set rules or things you ‘must do’ as long as the ritual means something to you, you will receive the many benefits. Creating your own ritual is rewarding, especially when shared with family. Who knows? Creating a new ritual could make the difference in whether your year is monumental, unremarkable, or just plan crap. Stranger things have happened - 2020 is the proof.