“This Year was F*cked!” he said. So begins the Thanksgiving prayer...

Everyone is quiet. My daughter, Ember, is sitting across from me at the table, each of us holding one of my son's hands. Em and I had decided that Eamon wanted to say the prayer. His face says otherwise, but he follows the lead, as he so often has, of two women who love him more than anything in the world.

Eyes closed, head bowed, he begins, “This Year was F*cked… really, really f*cked!”

I sneak a peak at Em. She has not opened her eyes, her head still bowed. I follow suit; Eamon closes the prayer by naming his gratitude for his mom and sis and we all dig into the chicken my daughter has stuffed and roasted and the veggies we'd steamed on the '49 Wedgewood.

We eat off delicate flowered China that usually lives in ziplocks in the hutch. When my mother calls, Eamon answers the phone. I shout out to her over FaceTime that Em is taking all the gravy, and Em tattles on me as we argue about whether I’ve had five sips of wine or six. My mother is just happy to hear me laugh. We’re all laughing. So good to relax! Still, while I may use different language when I pray, I feel for Eamon; this year was tough. For a lot of us.

And yet, there is good news. There is always good news. Some of it is right outside your door.

Tonight is the New Moon, and whether you follow the Gregorian calendar or the Solar calendar, this is the last New Moon of the year. I invite you to see this night as an opportunity to release any part of the f*cked-ness that may have crawled into your year, and to create a clear space for a new vision. You can begin with a simple practice, a personal ceremony.

Remember, this is for you, so use whatever part of it serves you. There is no “right way.” I’ll include elements as allies to support you. (You do know that you're never totally alone, yes... ?)

Okay, here's the practice:

Air: Give yourself a moment to write down any pain from this year. Don't worry about grammar; the elements were here long before English teachers. Doesn't need to be long either. It may be one word. By writing down your pain, you give yourself compassion for bearing it. And, as you “air” your pain, you grant it “space.”

Next is Fire: If you like, offer the paper you wrote on to a flame. As it turns the paper into ash, Fire offers the quality of transformation. Fire also provides light by which you can see your new vision, and warmth to draw in community and support.

Water: Take a bowl outside and pour your sorrows into the Earth. She will receive, without judgment, any emotions you consider negative. By doing so, you not only offer nourishment to the planet, you acknowledge that feelings (Water) matter (Earth).

Moon: The New Moon is the period when the Sun's light is not reflected by the lunar surface. It appears that the Moon is not shining, not providing light for others. As the Moon goes dark, renewing Itself, I invite you to allow all that troubles you to go dark as well. For one, two, or three nights. Find time to rest and allow your Spirit to be renewed.

If you choose to try on any part of this practice, or all of it, my prayer is that you experience some peace, release, and a deeper sense of connection and belonging. I will be in ceremony too.

We are connected by the ground under our feet and the air we breathe. No matter how challenging things may feel, we are all in this together; we accompany each other, and I am grateful for all of the hands holding mine—including yours.

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