Posted by: lornasass | December 27, 2011


From Sandy Beach to Mare Island, CA//Photo by Lorna Sass

There is something about the beginning of a new year that beckons loudly for us to start afresh.

Yet, aside from watching the ball drop in Times Square, most of us lack a meaningful ritual for marking the end of one year and the beginning of another.

As a Life Coach, I love creating techniques to help my clients have a vivid experience of moving consciously from one phase of their lives to the next.  Whether it is starting a new year, changing jobs, careers, or locations, I encourage them to identify and leave behind what no longer serves them, creating space for stepping into larger, more expansive lives.

And what better time than the start of a new year to say a formal “goodbye” to what is past, and a welcoming “hello” to the new life adventures ahead. To create a sense of completion around 2011 and a ritual beginning to 2012, I invite you to try this quick and rewarding visualization exercise:

Sit comfortably in a quiet space and imagine the old year as an island you are about to leave.  Before getting on the sailboat that will take you to a new island, think about the stresses and strains and whatever other challenges from this past year you would like to leave behind.  Jot the leave-behind items down on a piece of paper. Carefully burn this paper (in a sink, for example), or tear it into tiny pieces and throw it away.

On another piece of paper, write down the rewarding aspects, acquired wisdom, and other gains of your current life that you’d like to take to the new island.  Hold this paper close to your heart as you imagine embarking on the ship. Imagine the long, smooth journey to the new island taking place overnight while you sleep and deeply rest.

Awaken to see the new island, sunny and magnificent, stretched out before you.  What does it look like? Imagine all of your favorite trees, flowers, and animals on this magical island.

Walk down the ship’s gangplank with your arms wide open to embrace the surprise and delight of this new time and place. Have a good look around.  What adventures and discoveries await you on this island?   What dreams can you make come true here?  Write these down.

Then notice which dream on your list you feel the most passion for.  Which takes priority over all the rest? List the mini-steps it would take to make this dream become a reality in the coming year. Take one step each week until you make this dream come true.

Wishing you all an ease-full, healthy, adventurous, and magic-filled 2012.



  1. Thank you for this excellent suggestion. Having grown up on a real island and literally leaving it for a new life, I can easily relate to these ideas. Every year we hear or read about ways to make a fresh start, but I like this visualization technique better than any others that have come my way. I will give it a try, and I will also link to this in an upcoming post on my own blog, so my readers can benefit from your wisdom.

    Best wishes for a new year that brings you all you hope for,

    Candace Brown

  2. lorna, what a wonderful ritual!. thank you.

  3. Lorna your words resonant with my journey this year. On going, it presents calirity for recognizing the richness and makes room in my heart for more: music, love, understanding, simply all those feelings that are there but really don’t need to be counted. You my dear must be an awesome coach.

  4. An island full of blessings and challenges, things which weave together a base for the new adventures…. I think I have always internally had this turning but have never formally acknowledged it….. more than just setting a diet goal ( which is only good for a few weeks) or beginning a journal, each year I set out new personal goals and strive to plant those gardens of delight and kindnesses that will make my “island” world lush and welcoming. I love your suggestion of making these mileposts a formal ritual of closure and beginning. Thanks Lorna… life is so precious and it needs nurturing.

    • Laurie: I am so touched by your heartfelt sharing. You are a precious soul and your light shines very brightly. I wish you safe and gentle passage from one island to the next. Love, Lorna

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