Five Ways to Start the New Year Right

MellowClean Well Just Before January 1st

I know several people who give their homes a good scrubbing a few days before New Year’s Day. Makes sense to set the foundation for the next year on a clean note, doesn’t it?

It’s also good to clear as much clutter as possible; clutter stops the flow of good energy. You can change your furniture around, or rearrange your collectibles to change the way energy flows in your home. Bring in fresh flowers or bowls of fruit for your dining table on January 1, signifying abundance in the new year.

Set Your Intentions

New Year’s Day is the best day to set your intentions for the new year with a prayer or affirmation. It’s good to speak in only a positive manner on January 1st, of your hopes, dreams and goals. Leave the past, negativity and sorrows behind for the day.

I found this prayer, I Call Upon the Divine, online a couple years ago. I loved it, modified and used it for myself, without, unfortunately, writing down the author’s name—but I’d like to share it here. (If you know the author of this prayer, please contact me with the web address and I will link it to this post.)

This is only an example of one prayer, in which the word “Divine” covers all divine beings. (You can substitute “Divine” with the word you use for God.) Choose your prayer and stand in the center of your home early New Year’s Day and speak it aloud:

I call upon the Divine!
I ask that you bless this home with Divine Love
and with Divine Wisdom.
I ask that you bless this home with Divine Understanding
and with Divine Compassion.
I ask that you bless this home with Divine Harmony
and with Divine Joy.
I ask that you bless this home with Divine Protection.
I ask you to bless all who enter our home,
especially those who join our family in the coming year.
May the blessings of all Divine beings be with us.
Thank you to the Great Loving Center of the Universe
for your Love and Blessings.


Golden Pothos 2House Plants for Good Luck

House plants said to bring blessings to our homes, thus making great gifts, include the Dwarf Banana, Golden Pothos, Goosefoot, Peace Lily, Pepperomia, Jade, Purple African Violets, Rosemary and Bamboo plants (with an uneven number of stalks).

Open Your Windows

On New Year’s Eve or Day, burn incense, such as sage, frankincense, myrrh, lavender, peppermint or sweet grass. Then open all your windows, even if it’s cold, just for a moment, affirming that as the fresh air enters your home, the incense carries out the old, stale air and vibes.

To Keep a Peaceful Home in the New Year

Be willing to look at your thoughts and actions in the new year. Accept responsibility for what you say and do. Recognize your part in the problems of your life.

Wish everyone well, especially your ‘enemies,’ for love is the only way to make them into friends. Bless them wholly and without hesitation. Repeat to yourself, “God bless us, everyone,” until you mean it. You might want to check out the powerful 40-Day Forgiveness Prayer, which can change your life. As Gandhi said, ‘Be the person you want others to be.’

If you have plans to start the new year right, please share them with us in a comment below. Thanks! And a blessed and happy new year to all!

A Pipe Ceremony and Blessings for the New Year, A Guest Post by Kim P of Afternoon Storm

A beautiful ceremony to say goodbye to the old year and bless the new one, from my friend, Kim P., of the blog, Afternoon Storm. Thanks, Kim!

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Every year at our home we do a little pipe ceremony just before 12:00 on New Year’s Eve. Often it is just my hubby and I, but sometimes our two kids (who are 19 and 22 now) have joined in. I use my pipe to create sacred space and we light a candle. Then we do four rounds of prayers.

The first is to identify the “things” we want to let go of from the old year.

In the second round of prayers, we each speak the names of the new patterns, beliefs or relationships that we would like to bring into our lives.

With the third round, we say the names of people we know or love to whom we want to send loving energy.

With the fourth round, we say prayers for the planet. It feels like a really good way to end the year and welcome in the new year.

New Year, New Energies

A couple of days ago when I was walking my dog, I was suddenly overcome with the sense that I WAS a character in a movie—the plot being the battle between a cabal of mad men who have hidden the real world and people who were beginning to wake up and smell the coffee, so to speak. I felt like I was stuck under a tightly woven, thick, sticky web, but I was desperately stretching my arm toward a couple of specks of light I could see. I had to punch through!

All the writings of Paramahansa Yogananda, the beloved guru who established the Self-Realization Fellowship in 1920 in L.A., are about how to make the journey from the dark world of the little-self to the real world of light and Love. Each time I’ve read his famous book, Autobiography of a Yogi, I’m struck again by his devotion to the Divine, to Love, and to showing others the path Home. His tremendous Love washes over the reader and for a while we’re left with the sense, “Ohhh! So this ISN’T the real world? I see! I see!” Then, of course, comes the most difficult of journeys–the journey of lifetimes–the learning to let go of what we hold most dear to ourselves, to trust in our Higher Selves and in the Higher Plan. Which brings me back to punching through that sticky web!

It’s a new year tomorrow, 2012, the beginning of a new cycle in time. And, as Paul Walsh reports at his blog,, February 3rd marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year, the year of the dragon. Unlike the evil, destructive European dragons, the mythic dragons of China represent good luck, wealth, potent power, strength, ambition, passion, self-assurance, and fearlessness—a tendency to act without thinking of, or even caring about, the consequences.

It will likely be an intense year for most of us in one way or another. We’ll need to consciously keep our balance and remind ourselves that this world of drama, money, politics, disasters and superficiality is not the real world. Beyond that awful sticky web is the world of Light and Love, a beautiful place where our souls are right at home. I believe that when we die, after a period of transition and help, we go to one of the levels of ‘heaven’ and that ultimately we will become fully aware of our oneness with God/Love/Universe. I hear we can achieve that state while we are alive, also, through meditation.

Whatever Father Time brings us in 2012, we can be fully confident that we are far more than the animals we have often been throughout our remembered history—we are the sons and daughters of God/Goddess/Great Mystery and knowing God is our birthright. May you be blessed with insight and Love in 2012. Thank you for reading here.

Enter the Portals of the New Year with New Hope, A Guest Post from Paramahansa Yogananda

By Paramahansa Yogananda

This is my message to you for the New Year:

Your cup of life within and without is filled with the Divine Presence, but because of the lack of attention you do not perceive God’s immanence. When you are in tune, as one tunes in a radio, then you receive Spirit. It is as if you take a bottle of sea water, cork it, and put it in the ocean; although the bottle floats in the waters, its contents do not mix with its oceanic surroundings. But open the bottle, and the water inside merges with the sea. We must remove the cork of ignorance before we can come in contact with Spirit.

* * *

Infinity is our Home. We are just sojourning awhile in the caravanserai of the body. Those who are drunk with delusion have forgotten how to follow the trail that leads to God. But when in meditation the Divine gets hold of the prodigal child, there is no dallying anymore.

Enter the portals of the New Year with new hope. Remember you are a child of God. It lies with you as to what you are going to be. Be proud that you are a child of God. What have you to fear? No matter what comes, believe it is the Lord who is sending that to you; and you must succeed in conquering those daily challenges. Therein lies your victory. Do His will; nothing can hurt you then. He loves you everlastingly. Think that. Believe that. Know that. And suddenly one day you will find you are immortally alive in God.

Meditate more and believe in that strong consciousness that God is always with you regardless of what happens. Then you will see that the veil of delusion will be taken away and you will be one with That which is God. That is how I found my greatest happiness in life. I am not looking for anything now because I have everything in Him. Never would I part with That which is the richest of all possessions.

The excerpts above are from a talk given by Paramahansa Yogananda at the International Headquarters of the society he founded, Self-Realization Fellowship, on New Year’s Eve, 1934. The entire talk is published in Journey to Self-realization, Volume III of Paramahansa Yogananda’s Collected Talks and Essays. (Self-Realization Fellowship, copyright©1997, Los Angeles; reprinted with permission.) For more information about the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda, visit

My Christmas-Spirit Gift

I dropped my daughter at the mall yesterday and had a hard time getting out of the parking lot. I didn’t handle it ‘in the Spirit of Christmas.’ I went grocery shopping at Walmart and my Christmas spirit shrank. (It didn’t seem like that many people could fit in the store at one time!) I was struggling with my Grinch-like, small, hard heart waiting in a record-setting long line when the cart behind me hit me.

I turned around and saw fear, fear, on the woman’s face. Compassion kicked in; I smiled and said, “No problem. It’s really crowded in here.” She was only slightly relieved (maybe she thought I had a weapon in my purse?) and we began to talk. She mentioned that her kids had wanted to stop and she was angry because she had let them talk her into it. (Boy, do I remember that feeling.) A few minutes later it dawned on me to let her check out before me—she had a few items and I had a cart full. Just as she thanked me and moved in front of me, two running little girls joined her, then two boys. Four kids. I smiled to myself; she did have her hands full and I was glad I managed an act of kindness in the mood I was in.

The truth is, I’m far away from home, with both sons now living in other cities and my daughter is leaving for a thousand-mile+ road trip all by herself on the 29th. It’s a nightmare to me, but I can remember thinking, “What is wrong with my mother? I’m an adult!” when I did the very same types of things. Yes–what goes around, comes around.

Being out yesterday, I went back to bed this morning after taking my new little buddy, Roxie, for her first walk. She is the sweetest dog and always snuggles as close as she can when I fall asleep, but I haven’t felt as affectionate as I normally do with her, either. She’s wondering what’s wrong and I don’t fully understand it myself.

I was dreaming when my 13-year-old old Akita-mix, Max, who crossed over in May, suddenly came through a wall, looking like he did at four and five: confident, healthy, strong and happy. He jumped on me and knocked me into a chair and wiggled and wagged and hugged and loved me. I was so happy! I put my arms around him and didn’t want to let go but I woke up then. He’s not here anymore.

My visit from Max was my Christmas-Spirit gift this year. “I know your every hurt and every joy and I am always with you. It’s Me in that little bird who calls to you every day, the maple leaves you pick up and marvel at, the pine trees outside the window who watch over you. And it is Me who brings Love to you in your dreams. You are Loved. Be at peace.”

“Okay, Lord, if you say so. Thank you. I love you, too.” Merry Christmas, fellow family of wo/men, Happy All Holidays, and may God/Goddess/Universe/Great Mystery bless you in the coming New Year.

A New Year, A New Way

I haven’t made New Year’s resolutions for many years because, though I do feel excitement about the fresh start, I never kept them. But, I have plans anyway.  To be a better person, for sure. To sincerely meditate more, whether it is quietly sitting while observing my thoughts, or walking, communing with nature, or listening to soothing music. For me, collage-art has been a form of meditation, although sometimes I am more like a mad person slapping pieces of paper to card stock. And, of course, there is

the writing. I had been so dormant for so long that to be given a ‘job’ to write about how much God loves us is a blessing so great I am unable to measure it.

And, I will continue to pray for all of us. Of course I pray for individuals, but I want to pray more for our planet and all of us, that the veil covering our eyes will fall away, and we will learn who we really are, where we come from and where we are going. I am excited about the future—though we may suffer through hard times for a while longer—for ultimately, all this is happening for us, not against us. The cries of our souls have been heard; the answer, Love, is growing and expanding to include everyone. We live in very exciting times, the time of a shift in consciousness, from a level of existing in selfishness to a level of inclusiveness, where all of us will become acutely aware of how much we are loved.

Let’s make this new year the best it can be, even if it is hard, even if our obligations get to us. It is not about only me, or only you. It is about all of us together.

Taking Stock, Making Plans, Being Better People

What’s important on this last day of the year? Taking stock of the previous 365 days is a good place to start. What caused the rough spots? (I lost my job due to the downturn in the economy, or my drinking negatively affected my family.) What were my successes? (I didn’t take my worries out on my spouse and children, or I found a new job right away because of skills learned from my hobby, or I joined AA to quit drinking.)

And, having some kind of plan for the coming year is key to positive change. Do you need more education for a new career? Make an appointment with a school counselor and find out how to apply for financial aid. If you have a job, be grateful, for you are blessed. Were you saving money every month for a down payment on a house, or as a backup-fund in case your job is lost? Keep at it, even if it’s only $25 a month. Many of us want to lose weight and we start off well, but give up pretty early on. What would make this goal, or other goals, real and lasting? (If you figure this one out, could you let me know what it is?):)

Most important of all for increasing the quality of our lives is to be better people. One way is to learn from example. Who do we know that has good relationships with others? Why are their relationships good? Another way is to identify our motives. Are they selfish, or inclusive? Are we honest with ourselves and others about our intentions? Are we supportive of our significant others and our friends? Are we compassionate with our family members? Do we give of ourselves in some way? Can we expand our perspectives to include concern for the health of our planet, which provides for us all that we need to live? These are all ways to do the right thing, to take the higher road, to transform our lives with love. Grow, love, grow!

God bless you and your loved ones in the New Year, this new decade, and beyond.