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Looking Back and Moving Ahead

Linda: As we approach the end of the year, I find myself doing what I usually do at this time of year, stopping to pause and reflect upon the past twelve months and giving though to what I have experienced this year. I try to let myself consider the full breadth of my experience and include the low points as well as the high points, the losses as well as the gains, the sorrows and the joys, the accomplishments and the failures; the whole shebang, or as Zorba the Greek says, the “full catastrophe”.

Receiving it all with an open heart allows me to experience a kind of completion in which it’s no longer necessary to dwell upon whatever residual losses I might still be in the grip of, as well as any attachments that may be preventing me from among ahead with openness and receptivity to the experiences awaiting me in the coming year for which I want to be fully open to receiving.

Completion is what I’m after because if I’m not complete with the past, whether it’s something from last February or from this morning, I’m not as present and available to what is showing up on my plate NOW. I welcome even those shadowy aspects of this past year, the mistakes, disappointments, embarrassing moments, the misjudgments, those problems that I might have caused or those that were beyond my control. I look back to last January and the commitments that I made then to assess how I did with them. Did I fulfill the vision that I had a year ago? If I did, can I acknowledge myself for that? If I didn’t, can I forgive myself for not doing so? And either way, is there anything for me to learn from my successes and failures that I can apply to the challenges that may await me this year?

And for those goals and intentions that I have completed, I take time to savor a sense of triumph and to acknowledge myself for a job well done. Sometimes I find that I have fallen short of my goals and haven’t fulfilled them all, but whether I have or not, there is always appreciation for whatever I have managed to accomplish and gratitude towards those who have been of support to me.

Regardless of the outcome of my efforts, I am always reminded of how essential the support of others is to the fulfillment of my goals and of how much I depend upon their input in all of my projects. This awareness leaves me with a sense of appreciation and a desire to reciprocate for all that I receive from so may people in the course of a year in my life. Out of this reminder I am left feeling great thankfulness and some humility in the realization that in truth there is actually very little, if anything in my life that I accomplish completely alone. I am always moved to take time to directly thank the people who stand out as important supports to me and I find that doing so feels like a gift to myself.

I feel that this self-reflection is a way of tidying up my life at the end of the year and going into the coming year with a clean house. It’s become annual ritual that enables me to open up space for whatever is coming and to meet the new year with an attitude that is fresh, open and receptive. There is no correct way of wrapping up the old year and welcoming the new one. For some, drinking a glass of champagne and shaking a noisemaker does the trick. Others sit alone in silent meditation. And some just hope for the best. Being intentional in regard to what you truly wish to bring forth into your life in the coming year is something that anyone can do and it can take any one of an infinite variety of forms. The process needn’t take more than a few minuets or can include an extended retreat. What really matters isn’t what you do or how much time you take to do it, but rather whether you listen to the words of your heart and respond to them with attention and care. Such a response can literally crate miracles. May we all be blessed with an abundance of gratitude, wisdom, compassion and love in the coming year.

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Looking Back and Moving Ahead


Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW are considered experts in the field of relationships. They have been married since 1972. They have both been trained as seminar leaders, therapists and relationship counselors and have been working with individuals, couples, and groups since 1975. They have been featured presenters at numerous conferences, universities, and institutions of learning throughout the country and overseas as well. They have appeared on over two hundred radio and TV programs. Linda and Charlie are co-authors of the widely acclaimed books: 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last (over 100,000 copies sold) Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love, and Happily Ever After...and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams. The Blooms are excited to announce the release of their fourth book, That Which Doesn't Kill Us: How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places. They live in Santa Cruz, California, near their two children and three grandchildren. To view our upcoming events and to sign up for our free newsletter, visit our website at:

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APA Reference
Bloom, L. (2017). Looking Back and Moving Ahead. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2020, from


Last updated: 21 Dec 2017
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.