Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year! 

I hope you and yours are doing wonderfully on this first day of 2005!

I had a very low-key, but good, New Year's Eve. I went to the "Burning Bowl" Service at church. I went for the first time last year and loved it so much that I had to come back this year. What is a "Burning Bowl" Service, you ask? Well, for our church, you are handed a piece of "flash" paper, which looks a lot like tissue paper, a piece of notebook paper, and an envelope as you enter the sanctuary. During the course of the service, you are instructed to write down everything that you want to release onto the "flash" paper. Then we take turns going up to the various bowls of fire throughout the sanctuary, and put the paper into the fire. "Flash" paper burns up instantly and brightly and leaves no ash behind. Therefore, the things that you wrote on your paper to release, are gone and no trace is left behind.

Next, you are instructed to write a letter to God letting him know what your heart's desires are for 2005. Now granted, God already knows this, but this exercise is more for you. Once you finish your letter, you seal it in the envelope, address the envelope to yourself, and the church sends the letter back to you in November. That way you can see if your heart's desire panned out for you, or if you went on a different journey to reach your heart's desire. It's really quite interesting to see what you wrote and to think about what has happened over the year. When I got my letter from 12/31/03 this past November, I saw that even though I had not attained what I wrote in my letter, I was very actively working toward all of my heart's desires. It gave me a renewed sense of determination.

For me, the "Burning Bowl" Service is a very quiet, reflective and positive way to start out the New Year. I highly recommend it to everyone. You don't have to be in a church environment or have "flash" paper to do it.

As a matter of fact, last year, on 1/16/04, I was over at Jef's house with a group of friends and we decided to write down things we wanted to release on a piece of paper. One of the many things I wrote down was, "the need to work for my current employer." We went out in Jef's back yard, fired up the chiminera, and watched the smoke of what we were releasing float up to the sky. Lo and behold, on 1/23/04, I was fired from my job!

Now, some would say, "Geez, Joan - you really needed to be careful what you asked for!" That may be true, and yes, I do wish I would have had more control over my leaving my last employer. However, it actually was a blessing in disguise. I have accomplished so much over this last year that I never would have been able to had I been working for my previous employer, or working at all, for that matter. I am so thankful that I had been given the gift of having that time to do what I needed to do.

However, now I'm releasing that gift to make room for the gift of a wonderful job with a fantastic salary and great benefits. That's not to say that I won't continue improving myself, because I will. However, it's time for me to join the workforce again! If you would, I would really appreciate your extra prayers and good thoughts coming my direction to help me reach this goal.

In whatever way you have chosen to ring in the New Year, I wish for you happiness, good health, a roof over your head, food in your fridge, people and pets to love and love you back, and the ability to appreciate it all.

Happy New Year, my friends!



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