The closing of a year and the beginning of the next offers us a moment to collect and reflect; despite cultural trends towards speed and productivity. This is a sacred time of sorting through personal residue and personal accomplishments. We tend to recall the highs and the lows of the previous year and make resolutions for the year going forward.
In my culture, and many other individual’s, this transition is celebrated with the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol, dancing, and celebrating with loved ones. In previous years I was introduced to another way of honoring the transition: New Year’s Despacho Ceremony. Despacho ceremonies are traditionally Andean and relate to “shipments.” Thus one can loosely think of a Despacho ceremony as symbolically sending something into another realm. I have become familiar with New Years Despacho ceremonies; in which you collect memorabilia and write thoughts or feelings from the previous year, bundle them in a large paper, and burn the bundled year.
In a culture rampant with consumerism it seems logical that we might need to empty the trashcan of the psyche. Does this sound illusive? Emptying the trashcan of our psyche? I tend to look at our relational conflicts and the challenges of our circumstances as externalizations of internal conversations. In other words I think that we are all on this planet having conversations with ourselves that we get to carry out with other people; we are the directors, musical directors, and producers of our own movies. Thus, when I create my 2013 Despacho I will reflect on the conversations that I am finished with and do not wish to carry over into the New Year.
Sherlock Holmes postulates that every time we learn something new, we have to forget something old. There is no scientific evidence to support this, in fact quite the opposite; research suggests that there are multiple types of memory and that they do not compete with each other if anything they build on each other. However, we do know that our habits and responses create neural pathways. Choices are the origin and we are choosing to exercise different pathways – called habits. The more we reinforce a habit through choosing it the harder it becomes to break. The more space we create around our choices the deeper our connection with our own emotional landscape becomes. Thus, the process of burning old habits and choices can lead to more space and new formations.
Wishing you all a magical new year ahead!