12 Stepping through the Holidays by Karen Casey
List some examples for doing volunteer work in the coming year. Too many of us say we want to be more involved in helping others but then fail to do it. We don’t have to over-extend ourselves. Just reach out a few hours a month. Call the local big brothers and big sisters organization and see what you can do. Contact schools in your neighborhood and tutor the children who are struggling to keep up. Even one afternoon a month will make a difference to the child you get to know. Make visits to nursing homes. The “unvisited” need to know they are remembered by someone. Let that someone be you.
Share with at least one other person three changes that have occurred in your life. Being ever-conscious of the ways our lives are changing makes us hopeful that “the good” will continue. I no longer live in constant dread that something bad will happen. I am not expecting to be rejected by friends any longer. And I am certain that my life is on a trajectory that’s perfect for me and I am connecting with the people who are supposed to be meeting me, too. How has your life changed?
Create a “God box” for yourself and make one as a gift for a good friend who seems to be struggling with their life. A God box is a special decorated little box for tucking away our handwritten prayers so we can let go of our worries. It’s a wonderful exercise in letting go that has served me well over the years. It’s a guarantee that our worries will be handled if we release them to God. The action we take is the key. Try it.
List the best choices you made in the last year and imagine how they are going to influence the next year. Perhaps you left a job or took a new one. How might this impact the next few months? Maybe you left a relationship that had been hurting you for years. What doors might this open up? Or the creative writing class you always wanted to take that finally got your attention? Dream big. Where can this take you?
Begin laying the groundwork for the first goal to be accomplished in 2009. What one thing might you need to change right now for this to become a reality? We all have goals and they need not be gigantic ones. Maybe you want to learn how to play bridge or tennis, or get a book club started in your neighborhood. First, you have to make some decisions. Maybe you want to cut down on desserts to one a week. Decide which day is dessert day. Maybe you want to get involved in a mentorship program so you can have an impact on the life of a young man or woman. Is there some thing you will need to “let go of” to free up time? Or maybe you want to begin writing your memoir for the offspring in your family or just for fun, to see where you have been so you can chart where you might want to go next. Take a few minutes every day to write. Just a few will get the “juices” flowing.
List 6 reasons for having hope about the year ahead, based on particular happenings or observations from the past year. Remember: Hope can be influenced by the tiny happenings as well as the big experiences. Observing children at play, seeing two strangers helping each other walk down a flight of stairs, or overcoming a conflict we’d been discouraged by are all signs that our world can be a hopeful and loving place. Getting a particular job or being relieved of a job we didn’t like can free us to believe that the “journey” we are on is intentional—the perfect reason for remaining hopeful. I am constantly filled with hope when I reflect on the intention of my life; all the past turmoil and pain brought me to this peaceful existence. Making a practice of prayer and meditation when troubled in any way opens a space for hope to enter in.
Karen Casey is the author of 19 books, including the recently released Codependence and the Power of Detachment. Her book Each Day a New Beginning has sold more than 3 million copies and she is a sought-after speaker at recovery and spirituality conferences throughout the country. She conducts Change Your Mind workshops, based on her best selling Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow.
You can find Karen Casey’s publications on Amazon.com.