Purpose: Create the best possible future.
Cooking time: 1 1/2 – 2+ hours
- Post-it Notes
- Flip chart page – or large sheet of paper
- 2014 calendar
- 2015 calendar (optional)
- Delicious food and beverage of your choice
- Yourself and loved one/s
- Musical instruments, dance music, inspiring images/photos, recorded music to play, clay for sculpting – whatever is handy
Overview: This is a process for setting the direction and creating a path to a wondrous future. It begins with a celebration of your past, harvesting all that you learned, and bringing the resulting wisdom into 2014, 2015, and beyond. It is an opportunity to acknowledge the contributions others make in your life. It ends with contemplating the year and letting go of all hopes and fears you may have about it. Why let go of hope? Because while you’re busy hoping, you’re not getting done what needs to be done (or resting), and you’re not living in the present. Ditto for fear.
Step 1: Set your intent to celebrate your current life and envision what you want in the future. Divide the large sheet of paper with a vertical line. At the top of the left side, write “2014” and “2015” at the top of the right side. Looking month by month through your 2014 calendar so far, find the significant events. Write them on Post-it notes, and place them on the 2014 side of the paper. Declare each event aloud, and express appreciation for the role others (and you) played in it. You can talk about how that event developed you and others. If it was a challenging event, talk about what skills and capacities you had to draw upon to meet the challenge. If the situation was difficult and/or still unresolved, make note of it. Honor your challenges.
Step 2: Step back and reflect. What did you learn and accomplish in the past? What got done that pleased you? What amazed you? As always, express appreciation for your partner/s. If partners are not with you, think about how you can later convey your appreciation to them. What challenges did you face and what values did you embody/express/learn as you met those challenges? Were their failures? What have you learned from them? If you like, you can dance the year. You can sing it, draw it, or sculpt it. Make sure to write the lessons you learned on post-it notes.
Step 3: Scan and reflect again on 2014. What do you want to take with you into the future? Take all the Post-it notes that express the positive capacities, values, and lessons learned from 2014, and move them to the 2015 column. These are the gifts and hard-won lessons which will help cook up a wonderful future for you.
Step 4: Imagine the future. Imagine it’s 2020 (or even farther out into the future). You can go out hundred or more years, if you like. There is no limit. From that date and perspective what positive events would you notice that had their start right now? What seeds of future accomplishments were already present in your current life?
Step 5: Now, write what you imagine you will accomplish over the next year. Write your goals on Post-it notes and place them in the 2015 column. You can imagine them as events leading to accomplishments or the final results – whatever seems most natural for you. As you write them down and post them, say out loud what the benefit of accomplishing that will be. And then brainstorm more benefits and say them out loud. Who will benefit if these things are done? Who else will benefit? (BTW these are particularly inspiring questions from Solutions Focus).
Step 6: Making safety your highest priority, find a safe way to burn all the leftover post-it notes from the past. Express gratitude for your past as you burn them. Declare what you are leaving behind in the old and what you are carrying forward to be part of your life in the new.
Step 7: Notice in what ways the seeds of your success in the future are already present now, even in the smallest ways. Express gratitude and appreciation to others – offer toasts, libations, dancing, and expressions of love. Congratulations! You have already begun your brilliant new year. (If you are doing this solo, love those who will help you and receive benefit from your success. None of us is alone).