I wrote a quick email this morning to someone here in Portland who was dithering about how to spend her New Year’s Eve. She had complained about being too old to stay up late for big parties, “too cheap” to buy a ticket for one of the many end-of-year extravaganzas, and a bit nervous about being on the roads on New Year’s Eve. I can’t say that I blame her.
So I thought I’d share what I’ll be up to this year. (If you’re looking for a professional take on starting a new year, surf over to the Oregon New Incubator for my “planning, and choosing, for 2012″ post there.)
In 2008, I accidentally started a New Year’s Eve tradition with my boyfriend. Now every New Year’s Eve, we head over to watch the Portland Winterhawks take on the Seattle Thunderbirds. There’s skating on the ice for fans after the game, but it’s usually too much of a hassle to stand in a long line to get on the ice and then it’s crowded in the rink, so we generally just head home as soon as the game ends. The clock usually strikes midnight during our drive back.
One of the most peaceful and rewarding New Year’s Eves I’ve ever spent was when I was living in Richmond, Virginia, and participated in a quiet New Year’s Eve meditation and burning bowl ceremony at the local Unity Church. Everyone wrote on slips of paper what they wanted to release at the end of the year — e.g., illness, discord with loved ones, etc. — and then we sat quietly meditating on our intentions for the new year as the clock ticked down toward midnight.
There was something quietly powerful about being with a group that evening, but this is certainly a simple and satisfying ritual that you can do solo. Actually, now that I’m thinking of it, I may well do my own burning bowl at home tomorrow evening before we head out for the game. And I have an end-of-year brunch with some dear friends tomorrow, so that we might dream together of a better, brighter new year for us all.
Have a great last few days/hours of 2011, and a rockin’ 2012 — ON FIRE, no less!
(Creative Commons photo by Ludie Cochrane)