While it’s possible to start a project or spiritual practice at any time of year, the silence of winter followed by the warmth of spring creates a natural progression. I look at winter solstice and the new year as time to reflect on the past, and spring as a time to focus on my goals for the coming year. Asking myself what I want to shift can be a challenging process, yet asking deeper questions leads to deepening our spiritual path.
What do you truly want out of your life? Are you living a life of meaning, or are you dissatisfied? Are there goals you haven’t yet named?
While eventually you want to articulate goals with positive phrasing, it’s useful to first write down what you don’t want in your life. “I don’t want to be broke” becomes “I want more abundance in my life,” and that gets more specific: “I want a better job.”
It serves to be honest and look into the mirror of shadow; we often sabotage ourselves. If you can acknowledge your own bad habits, with compassion for yourself, then you can shift them. If I hadn’t given up on perfectionism, I’d never have published my books.
If you’re unsure what you want in your life, or if you are overwhelmed by the different directions you could go, there are ways to get unstuck:
- Tarot and Oracle Cards: Pulling cards can help you gain clarity and especially help you see how your own actions are contributing. Use this as an example of a three-card spread: The first card is “What am I not seeing?” The second card is “What’s the true nature of the problem?” The third card is, “What’s my ally in this?”
- Dreamwork: Disturbing dreams often can be a sign of personal work upon which we need to focus. Dreams also offer inspiration and clarity. While dreamwork practice takes years to develop, once you start writing them down you’ll sense patterns and unravel your own subconscious symbolism.
- Meditation: Stillness meditation, walking a labyrinth, chanting, drumming, journeying or even engaging in creative activities like weaving, beading, painting and journaling can engage trancework and open you to deeper wisdom.
- Talking it Out: Some folks prefer journaling, and others work better having someone with whom to talk about things. A friend can perform this role, and sometimes a reader or coach is helpful.
- Ritualizing your Intention: Rituals and ceremonies can bring you from nebulous goal to sustainable practice. Rhythmic practices like drumming, singing and dancing shift our state of consciousness to a place where our mind-body-spirit are aligned. Involving our bodies deepens our spiritual work. Ritual can be as simple as lighting candles and singing “Om” while sounding a singing bowl. It’s also useful to choose an object to represent your goal, the seed of your dream.
- Sustainability: You might also explore what will feed your work elementally: Air — Name my goal, because if I can’t name it, I can’t manifest it. Water — Do I care enough to make this happen? What are the consequences if I don’t? Fire — What’s your fuel, what energizes and inspires me? Earth — What skills, tools and environment does this work need?
Writing down your specific goal will bring more focus to it. For instance, one of my intentions is bringing joy into my life. Then, creating a concrete representation helps make it real. If you’re cutting something out of your life, cut a string. Or use the metaphor of planting a seed by burying the token representing your goal in the earth. Or send it as a wish by burning a piece of paper. Physicalizing things works with the language of myth and the subconscious and takes the work past our conscious mind.
You can use (or create) devotional jewelry, a song or a chant, a collage, or anything else to focus your intention.
Whatever work you’re doing, envision your success. What does it feel like to achieve your goal? And what challenges must you overcome to get there? Can you hold the seed in your hand and imagine the tree grown strong?
What seeds will you plant? What will you renew this spring?