A new year is upon us, which typically means we sit down and focus on what goals we want to achieve and the direction we want to take with our lives in the upcoming year. The intention of writing resolutions for the New Year can be a beautiful practice. Taking the time to intentionally serve what is in our hearts and make a list of what we want to do is both grounding and nurturing. But there is also another practice, which is equally as beautiful, if not more so, and that is the practice of releasing. We all have gifts hidden within us, and sharing those gifts takes an act of courage and determination. It’s not easy putting ourselves out there, doing what our hearts nudge us to do. It is and always will be up to us to bring our gifts to realization and to share them. Many times uncertainty, fear, self-doubt or self-ridicule can cover up any connection we may have to what we are here to accomplish and share with the world, or to what brings us joy. In her latest book Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert asks a brilliant question, “Do you have the courage it takes to bring forth the hidden treasure that is within you?” Because that’s what it takes: courage. Courage to let go of the excuses that keep us held back, courage to overlook the insecurities and forge on anyway. This is where the burning comes in. Fire has been associated with the idea of transformation for a very long time. To burn, fire has to consume something, transforming it to light. For centuries people have gathered around fire for warmth and to light the darkness of night. Fire is both creative and destructive. Fire is also a great way to release any thoughts or feelings we hold onto that keep us from our potential. So before this year comes to a close, may I recommend bringing a little fire into your life? This practice is fun to share as well, so feel free to get your friends, spouse or kids involved. Burn, baby Burn Looking back over the past year, write down the thoughts and feelings you have had that haven’t been self-serving. The excuses you may have told yourself to not get done what your heart beckons you to do. Get specific, like: I was too scared to start painting, or told myself I wouldn’t be good at it, or don’t have enough time. Or, I’m too old to start the career I truly desire. Give each one it’s own piece of paper – fear, self-doubt, too old, too fat, too skinny, etc. I use a clay bowl or the fire pit in our back yard to burn my paper. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s safe and contained. Then get to burning. Cast each negative belief and/or excuse you’ve held onto in 2015 into the fire and watch it disappear into a plume of smoke. Not only is this an intentional practice, but it’s pretty fun too. Watching our negative believes burn up, the fire reminds us to let go of the idea that we aren’t changeable. Changing behavior does take time and practice, but setting an intention to begin is a powerful catalyst for change. And that’s a really great way to start the New Year. Set fire to your life in 2016 by releasing tired excuses and old beliefs. There's no need to let them dampen what you're capable of doing any longer. You are a beautiful soul here for a beautiful purpose; with so many treasures hidden within you’re not even aware of them all! I wish you all the love, light and happiness you can possibly stand in 2016. With love, Danielle PS Can you believe it? I’ve been writing this blog for over a year! Thank you for reading - it has been an honor showing up in your inbox each week. This is my last email for the year. I’ll be back in your inbox in January. Until then I’ll be enjoying lots of downtime with those I love. Hope you can do the same. :) PPS In the meanwhile, let’s stay connected through social media. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram. Hope to see you see you over there!