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How to Let Single Words Guide Your Reflection for Year’s End

by Judy Stone-Goldman on December 31, 2014

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Dark and light meet at the end of December. The days remain short with early darkness, but we already see the movement towards light as sunset shifts later, minute by minute. Perhaps we would prefer to toss away this old year along with the darkness, but first we take a few moments to review and reflect.

A full year always is a mix: successes and roadblocks, rewards and struggles, satisfactions and disappointments. The allure of a shiny new year — the proverbial fresh start — makes us want to rip out the pages of 2014 and fantasize about the blank page in front of us. But slowing down for reflection offers a chance to appreciate the complexity of the concluding year, and to see pieces of life that might have slipped by unnoticed.

I’ve previously written about several different options for year’s end review, so for this blog post I’m simply offering words. A single word can evoke an entire story within us. What does each word say to you? What memories does it spark? What does it want to tell you about 2014? Let yourself respond with more words or with images — write or draw freely, with compassion and curiosity. Be open to the dark, the light, and every shade in between. (Need some help? See the writing and drawing prompts at the end.)

JOY

SURPRISE

OBSTACLE

SATISFACTION

FRUSTRATION

BALANCE

RELIEF

GRATITUDE

DISAPPOINTMENT

CHALLENGE

LOSS

SUCCESS

CHANGE

COURAGE

[Add your words to the list]

Writing Prompts:

“When I reflect on [insert word] in 2014, I immediately think about ______” (then keep writing);

“In 2014, the energy of [insert word] was all about ______” (then keep writing);

“The year 2014 holds lots of [insert word] in the story of ______” (then keep writing);

“As I write about [word + word + word], the picture that emerges is ______” (then keep writing).

Drawing Prompts:

Pick three words from the list and draw whatever comes to mind; do something else for a few minutes, then come back and look at your drawings. What do you notice? It could be color, shape, size, similarities or differences across words, or simply the “feel” you get from the images.

Pick a word from the list. Draw a picture of yourself in 2014 with that word. Your drawing can be literal and concrete (an actual representation of yourself with the word) or abstract. Afterwards, reflect on what it felt like to create the drawing and what it feels like to see yourself in this way.

Happy Reflections, Happy New Year!

 

 

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

William+Charlebois January 1, 2015 at 9:36 am

May the light always win!!!

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Judy Stone-Goldman
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January 1, 2015 at 10:42 pm

And may light lead the way in your 2015, Bill. Happiest of new years to you.

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