images-2While I was living in Germany, I learned the phrase, Between the Years (Zwischen den Jahren), and it has become one of my favorites for this time….the days between Christmas and the start of the new year.

I try to keep them relatively unplanned.  The Do List is skimpy or non-existent, the candles and greens are still around the apartment, little lights adorn the window sills, the days are still short, and the evenings long and cozy.  All this invites reflection and quiet.  And that, for me, is the key.  I take the time between the years to relish the gap, sense and enjoy the pause between doings, plannings, to feel suspended in a kind of well-being that is different from that at other times of the year.

One of the few activities that I actually plan for Between the Years, is to sit down with my journal, a cup of tea, several candles burning, and write up a double sided Gratitude Page — people, places, things, experiences, isnesses that have nourished my soul and spirit, mind and body, in the past year.

IMG_5644In no particular order I let the items tumble out of me on to the paper:   warm and heartful family connections; continuing good health; YAYOG; the orchids on our dining room table that bloom and bloom; the Green Team in our building and all we’ve accomplished this year; gratitude for the folks who are physically standing up for No Pipelines; that New York state has banned fracking; for sunshine, and rain; for Awareness/Consciousness and the capacity to know/be it!…  As I said, no particular order!

Einstein is supposed to have said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”   I kinda bring this approach to my gratitude list…the miracle of the green of a Yew tree with sun on it, and the miracle of life and consciousness…both miracles, and I’m grateful. Period.

After I’ve filled a double sided page, I turn my attention to the year ahead.  In a course about meaning and purpose a few years ago (What’s Your Tree), I came to this: my purpose is to live each day fully, with the GEE factor: Gratitude, Enthusiasm, and Engagement :-).  Not that I always manage, but the intention is significant.  With that in mind, I find that my list of what I hope to accomplish in the coming year has tended to get shorter and more general — more like Be Present with What Is, rather than Read More or Eat Less!

I look forward to seeing what unfolds on my list for 2015.  The content might be material for a future post :-).

IMG_5666Thank you 2014, you’ve been full of blessings and are going out with tranquil glory!

It remains now to wish you a lovely time in the remaining days “between the years”, and a new year that is rich and rewarding, bountiful and joyous, in ways that really matter to you.

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Follow me on Twitter, let’s be friends on Facebook :-)

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