The end of the year is quickly approaching. Like so many of you, I’m preparing for the holiday and the next year. Part and parcel of that for me is reflecting on another year gone by.

Reflection is a powerful tool, especially when the past or the future is overwhelming us. Reflection allows us to see where we’ve come from, and if we can take a look at our lives and see the choices we’ve made, the experiences that have shaped us, the people who have influenced us – they have all led to this sacred moment. Reflection allows us to examine our inner most selves.

Reflection isn’t about passing judgment, it’s about making more conscious choices right now and in the future. Recognizing the highs and lows of the past 12 months helps me move forward mindfully into the new year.

Upon gently reflecting, don’t be hard on yourself. In this sweet window of opportunity, where we are crunched between “what was” and “what will be”, instead of asking yourself negative questions like “Why did this happen to me? Why did this have to happen? What did I do to deserve this? Why am I missing out because of this?”, now is a great time to reframe your challenging times and see what they brought you.

We all know that nothing ever happens by chance. Hardship gives us strength, waiting brings patience. Grief gives us appreciation and makes us realize how much we can love. So proudly pat your own soul’s shoulder and allow yourself to feel giddy about all of what could just … maybe … be possible… Take as much time as you possibly can.

What are the things you are most proud of this year?

What are the things you can forgive yourself for?

What are you most grateful for?

During what moments did you feel most at peace?

Who was the person who supported you most?

What part of yourself unfolded, emerged, needed to rest or be unburdened?

What surprised you most about this past year?

What was the funniest thing that happened?

What needed more attention?

After reflecting on the past year, have fun conjuring up some delightful visions and making some conscious choices for the empty canvas days to come next year.

Ruth Bleakley-Thiessen

Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Ruth now lives in the north of Germany. She studied Communications Design in Kiel and worked as a freelance designer, illustrator, and artist. She is also an accredited Journey Practitioner and compliments her work with workshops, programs, coaching and is the author of several books, including "Woman Rise and Shine - a guide for women who want to be themselves", "Flown the Coop - a simple guide to dealing with transformation when the kids leave home" and "Nuffin" - a children's book.