New Year’s Eve. I find the cultural message of a successful celebration of the New Year encourages us to be with lots of people, and to drink a bit, or maybe even a lot? Did you feel happy when you said, "Happy New Year!!"?
I have tried it in a variety of ways. Big dinners at restaurants which ended up being overcooked food in a rushed atmosphere near a bunch of people I didn’t know. Various places outside in the super cold watching fireworks – most often surrounded a bunch of people I didn’t know. Sometimes drunk or otherwise altered, sometimes not. Gathering with friends —this was one I actually enjoyed. Sleeping through it. Wanting connection and deep sharing, I could never get New Year’s quite right.
By the way...if this is your thing, then awesome! I'm all for celebration that feels like celebration to whomever is doing the celebrating.
For the past decade or so, I have found a few practices that suit me, my relationships, my hopes for the new year, and the season quite well.
Ever since I discovered the idea of NEEDS —that everything I say or do is create an experience that I want, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day (even New Year’s week) became a time to celebrate, savor, assess and sometimes mourn what happened in the past year.
Last night, for example, Steve and I (he was in North Carolina and I in Philadelphia) decided to exercise together to a stretching tape (think yoga) he made in the late ‘70s. We have done this many times together and came up with a way to do it multi-locationally. Super fun and relatively relaxing.
Then we got comfortable and decided to spend some time savoring our favorite things, activities, memories of the year. We do this often, after visits together or an event. We just had a longer list last night because we were covering a whole year. Our struggle was remembering if a particular thing was actually in 2017, and it became fun trying to remember when things happened.
On New Years, we often go through our needs list, or get out our needs cards. Going through each one and savoring how it was met in the past year or mourning how it wasn’t. Then we come up with a list of what needs are our priorities in the year to come. And then (he often stops here), I come up with ideas of strategies for how I am going to meet them. Some are exactly specific, and some are a general idea of how it might work out with various projects I am involved in or considering. [NOTE: I have a few versions I am happy to share with you, just ask for them in the comments below.]
In the past, we used to go through this list so, as a couple, we would have a clearer understanding of what to anticipate with and from each other. What needs were important, and how we intended to get them met, either inside our relationship or in other ways. It was very helpful back in the days when understanding each other was quite difficult. I’m convinced this practice – done in a variety of ways, many times for many reasons, is how we got to this place of deep connection and mutual understanding. I’m convinced this practice is how we have primed the pump for wanting to contribute to each other’s lives in ways that I couldn’t have imagined yet desperately wanted oh so many years ago.
There’s still time in 2018.
If you are wanting more connection, more understanding, a gratitude practice in your life and relationships, give one of these a try.
For yourself. For your partnerships of all kinds. For your love relationships of all kinds.
In my experience, relationships that you enjoy require attention. And this is one way to nourish yours.
If not last night, how about tonight?