"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.” ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce
The lunar new year on January 25th, 2020 brings the beginning of a new 12-year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac. It welcomes the year of the White Metal Rat. Lucky colors are white and blue, and Pantone has coincidentally chosen Classic Blue for its color of the year, so having a lot of that color splashed around this year can hopefully bring a bit of good fortune with it.
First Things First
Good beginnings are a lot easier after good endings. We need a clean, clear closure to what we are leaving behind, so that we can start fresh when the new year, decade, and Chinese Zodiac begins. This is the time to go through everything in your home, removing anything you don’t love or use. Keep the energy moving by outflowing these things to other people who can love and use them, or trash them if necessary. Feel gratitude for everything that has come to you temporarily and now needs to move on. Remember that to welcome new “good stuff” into your life, you have to make room for it by letting go of what no longer serves you. So, declutter, clean, clear, repair, refresh, and energize every part of your home.
Start at your front door – the Mouth of Chi, where all energy enters – and make it clean, beautiful, and balanced. Then move through all the rooms in your home, clearing them of old energy and making them spaces that you love, where you feel good vibes. Remember the Pantone color blue if you refresh using paint, linens, furniture, or artworks. The only place where the Water element clashes with the area’s power element is in your Fame and Reputation zone (the back, center ninth of your home), which is dominated by the Fire element, so go easy on the blue there, since you don’t want to douse that Fire energy.
As you clean, replace any burned out light bulbs and dust light fixtures, especially crystal ones. Replace small items like toothbrushes, kitchen sponges, waste baskets, and chipped coffee cups. You want to start the new year with everything in working order, clean, fresh, and when needed, brand new. Make sure all live plants are healthy and thriving. Clean your water fountains and fish tanks, and fill them with fresh, clean water. When I worked in bookstores, I used to practice something we called TEB or Touch Every Book. Use this method, taking everything off your shelves and dusting the shelves as well as all the objects and books before replacing them.
I like to do those infrequent cleaning tasks at this time of year. You can run white vinegar and/or baking soda through an empty dishwasher or washing machine, to clean it. Pulling the refrigerator away from the wall allows you to clean the floor under it and the wall behind it. If you live in a cold climate, you can save the Spring cleaning chores, like gutters, patios and balconies, windows (on the outside), and garages for warmer days, but if weather permits where you live, do those, too.
After you have finished clearing your entire home in preparation for a new era, go through it with a Palo Santo or Sage spray (or smudge stick, if you prefer), while thinking about your positive intentions for 2020.
Where Stuck Energy Hides
Don’t forget to clean up your old emails, texts, bookmarks, and all your social media accounts. Clean your computer’s screen and keyboard, your phone, tablet, and remotes. Get inside closets and drawers, as well. You don’t want to drag all that old energy into a fresh, new time in your life. This is especially true of any energy that feels negative, such as old arguments, hurt feelings, fears, doubts, and failures. Get all reminders of such negative energy out of your physical space and your thoughts.
Check your bills and make sure your payments are all up to date. If you feel that you owe anyone an apology, do it now. If you don’t want to do it face-to-face, a handwritten note is preferable to an email or text. If you’re still harboring any grievance or anger, let it go. If you feel badly about some mistakes or defeats in 2019, now is the time to leave all that behind you. Meditate or pray on these things, or perform some kind of ritual, such as shredding or burning old letters or papers on which you have written about these experiences, and trashing (rather than passing on to others) items that bear painful memories or otherwise negative energy for you. If you use crystals or mala beads, wash them and infuse them with fresh energy in sunshine or moonlight.
This is about clearing space, not just in your home, but also in your communications and your thinking, in your mind and your heart. Make room for what is yet to come. Remember that this is your chance for a truly clean slate, a fresh start, a blank page not just for the forthcoming year, but also for the next decade and, in Chinese Astrology, the next 12 years.
Don’t feel stressed to get your clearing done by January 25th. Don’t procrastinate, but if you can’t get it done “on time,” don’t imagine that your chance has passed and give up. Do it as best you can, while the feeling of a new year, a new beginning, is still with you, and maintain an intention of turning over a new era as you do it.
Once you have cleared your spaces, it’s time to make them welcoming to fresh abundance energy. Think about what you want for the new year and the new decade. Journal about this, create a vision board, or start a creation box. Write, draw, make a collage, or in some way bring the idea in your mind of what you want into physical form.
This is not the time to think or write about things you want to get out of your life, stop doing, or let go of. You’ve done your clear out, so now focus on what comes next. This can specific, like traveling, or retiring this year, or it can be more general, like experiencing more peace, calm, joy, love, vitality, or abundance. Imagine what you’d like to be looking back on one year from now and one decade from now. Place yourself in that future time and creatively express what that year or decade will have been like for you. In grammar, this is called the future perfect tense, the idea that something has already been done, finished, or perfected in the future, as in “I will have completed my degree,” “I will have stuck with my yoga practice,“ “I will have learned to speak Spanish,” “I will have started my own business,” “I will have traveled to Paris,” or “I will have become more patient and peaceful by meditating regularly.” Visualize your perfect future year and decade, and allow yourself to think about it, feel it, and experience it as if it were a memory.
New Year’s is a chance to clean up, clear out, Feng Shui, look back, let go, set intentions, and get ready for whatever changes may come. It’s a moment in time to pay attention, to take stock and notice where we’ve been, where we are, and where we may be going. Take this moment as an opportunity to drop whatever needs dropping and ready yourself to welcome all the good that is coming to you.