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Intention Setting Ritual

For the New Year, or any time you need a shift



Something to write with

Flame (candle/fireplace or fire-pit)

Fire proof receptacle

Any ambience supports (I like scented candles about + clementines for something sweet)

A buddy or few to bear witness (Or not. Some moments are private)


Spend a few minutes (set a timer if it helps) listing what you are releasing at this time.

Ex: I release: other people’s expectations, guilt, online splurge shopping, etc.

One by one, rip the item you are releasing from your page. Say out loud “I am releasing ___.” And then light it on fire. Place the burning paper in the receptacle. Repeat, taking turns if you are with others, until you have released all of your items.


Repeat this process for the items you are igniting.

Ex: I ignite: yoga every day for 14 days, writing for one hour 5 days/week, checking on a loved one each day, etc.


If alone, write a reflection for yourself. Notice what came up and what was unexpected. How do you feel?

With others, share your observations. The conversation will have a natural ebb and flow.


Rituals offer a tangible doing for my intentions. They help me shift from ideas and desires to physicalized action… like a stepping stone to the implementation of the intentions/release work itself.

The release part is important. We need to make room for the new and accommodate change. And, change requires shedding. This is much better done mindfully than traumatically. Choosing to shed what doesn’t serve is powerful recognition and accountability work. And, it creates space for abundance in what we ignite. Light it up!

This is a great New Year’s ritual, sure. But why not use it as often as is useful? I’m going to try it. I’m going to put this ritual into regular practice as I move into my post-graduate student life. There’s a lot I want to accomplish, and almost all of it requires a bit of experimentation. Which means, there will be a lot of letting go of what didn’t work and igniting what might.

And, I wonder... what am I choosing to maintain? The ambiance supports come into play here: I like to think of the flame itself as part of the manifestation of continuity. The fruit is bright, sweet, and healthy - all personal goals. The overall vibe is relaxed, focused, and purposeful. As it should be.


Video from January 1st ritual with Emily Arden



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