Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Tabula Rasa - A Clean Slate


"Let your new year begin with a ritual of reverence that I call, Tabula Rasa - a clean slate - which is an evening dedicated to dreaming about the weeks and months to come and how you'd like to savor them. Revel in them. Appreciate them. A sweet New Year's ritual to "be at home" to the future. Curl up in your favorite chair, listen to some soothing music. Sip something festive and bubbly, and slowly light twelve votive candles, one for each new month. As you light the first candle, ask the month of January, are there any old desires you need to relinquish in order to move on? Ask February, are then any "new to you" rituals you can integrate into your daily routine or week that will be self nurturing? Ask March, what new dream is seeding inside your imagination? Be fanciful, curious with your questions. 

Pretend you've never been given the gift of a new year before. Dame Good Fotune has swept in with her arms full of presents just for you. In a little book that I cherish, Ceremonials of Common Days by Abbie Graham (1928), she describes her annual visit this way; "I open the door. The gorgeous guest from afar sweeps in. In her hands are her gifts - the gift of hours, and farseeing moments, the gift of mornings and evenings, the gift of spring and summer, of autumn and winter. She must have searched the heavens for boones so rare."

- Sarah Ban Breathnach
Romancing The Ordinary: A Year of Simple Splendor

Tabula Rasa is a practice I've observed for about ten years now. This year I haven't decided if I will be observing it, or not, as many of the elements of my Season Keepers incorporate the same ideas. But I do love taking some time to think  and pray over the coming year, especially in light of the events that have transpired in these early days of 2021.

One of the things I have been working on recently is weeding through the massive amount of files and documents that I have stored on my laptop, iCloud and Google Drive. It's a pretty big undertaking, but a weight of sorts that I need lifted.  So much of what I've saved is from our years of homeschooling and I think I have more of a sentimental attachment to it than anything else. Getting rid of it feels in some ways like throwing away the girls childhood. I'm being mindful that with all the changes currently taking place in the world, there may come a time when my own children will need these resources to educate their children, so I'm tucking the best away.

Anyway, enough with he rambling.  The point I'm trying to make is that in my sifting through all of my files I came across a document I had made up a couple of years back when I was preparing to observe Tabula Rasa, and I thought it might be something that my readers would find useful.  As I said, if you use my Season Keepers then you might find some of this redundant, but if you don't, then it could be a useful tool for thinking through the upcoming year and intentionally planning out some  things you want to accomplish. I also decided to quickly make up an alternate edition which is just twelve blank pages with the pretty familiar graphics I use in all of my publications.  It's a blank slate, so to speak for you to be able to journal, perhaps write out a favorite quote for each month of the year, or even write out your prayers. I think this is actually the format I'll be using this year, and after it came to me I grew more excited to revisit the practice of Tabula Rasa again. I hope one or more of these will inspire you, and if you do use the forms or set aside an evening to observe Tabula Rasa, please let me know!





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