Copyright (c) 2009 Karin Marcus
December is finally here. During this closing month of the year, I intentional make the time to acknowledge and reflect on all that has occurred in 2009, the joys and sorrows, the accomplishments and loses, the lessons learned.
My first challenge is to remember all that has happen. So I like to take a personal day from work and declare it an Errand Free Zone- no holiday preparation allowed. I find a comfy place to sit, with a nice cup of tea, and glance through my journal and my date book. I’ve gotten into the habit of creating a Top 10 Goals for the Next 90 Days Worksheet every three months, so I also like to review those. I’m always amazed to see all that has transpired in one short year.
My next step is to reflect upon all these events from the wise perspective of hindsight. Things that seemed so important or difficult now appear small and inconsequential. Conversely, some things that seemed easy and insignificant turned out to be major turning points. In the years that I have faced tragedy and grief, I find it important to witness my healing process with the passage of time. And most importantly, I need to acknowledge all that have to be grateful for, my family and friends, my heath and well being . So every December, I take the time to journal about the lessons learned, the values reinforced, and the milestones of my year’s journey.
This year I’ve decided to add a new step to this acknowledgemnt process. I am going to build a cairn in gratitude for 2009. A cairn is a manmade pile of stones used to mark milestones, pathways, astronomical movements, and burial sites. This practice of stone piling has been around for centuries and is thought to have originated in Scotland. Today it has become an art form as can be seen in the works of the British artist, Andy Goldsworthy. If you like to join me in this new tradition, here’s how
Building a Gratitude Cairn for 2009
First, decide where you want to position your cairn. It may be in your garden or a shelf in your house or at a favorite destination. My husband and I like to walk a wooded path nearby our home and someone has been building cairns there by the stream. These cairns actual inspired me to build one of my own, so I will position mine nearby.
Next, select which events you want to honor in your cairn and then set out to find a stone for each. Keep in mind you want your stones to graduate in size and shape from top to bottom. Your foundation stone may represent just that – what has been your greatest source of strength and support this year. Your last and smallest stone might represent the cherry on top that made this year special.
Now, clean of your stones and make your final selection of say 3 to 7 rocks. Take them to your chosen location and ceremoniously place one on top of the other. You may want to play some music, you may want to make a statement or say a prayer , or you may simple observe of moment of silence with the placing of each stone.
Finally, step back and appreciate what you have created. Perhaps creat a drawing of it in your journal explaining the meaning of each stone. But most all, take a extra special moment to give thanks for all the gifts and lessons of 2009.
Karin Marcus, Certified Life Coach / Retreat Leader
“Let the beauty of what you love, be what you do” Rumi