We have lots of traditions for ending the year and ushering in the new one, but what about the end of each month?
Today is the last day of February and this weekend is the new moon as well as the end of Mercury Retrograde—and in the Buddhist tradition, the beginning of the new year. It is the end of a cycle, and though it would be easy enough just to go about our business like it’s any other day, there is something wonderful about letting ourselves tune into these cycles and allowing them to affect us.
As we get ready to usher in the new month, a few things to close out the old:
1. Get rid of your trash.
Take clothing donations over to Goodwill. Take out your trash and recycling if it’s been hanging around. Give the floors a good scrubbing. Get rid of those leftovers in the fridge you’ve been avoiding. And it’s a great time to look at any mental clutter too. Undone tasks that are making you crazy? Emails you need to answer? Decisions you need to make? Take care of them so you can start fresh with the new month.
2. Set your focus and intentions for the new month.
Take a Post-it, jot down your word for March and put it on your mirror. Spend some time with your journal and write out all of what you hope to include more of in the next month. Intention isn’t everything. We need to take steps toward what we want and make every day choices that align with our goals. But without an intention, we aren’t heading anywhere.
3. Treat your beautiful temple of a body to a good scrubbing too.
All the dust we clean up in our homes? Most of it is dead skin. During the winter when our skin is subjected to alternating extremes of heat and cold, it’s important to exfoliate all that “dust” away. Dry brushing and massage help to impact the lymph system as well. I dry brush daily, but once a week or so I like to follow it up with a nice, long sugar or salt scrub in the shower too.
A simple way to go:
Take a quarter cup of olive oil, a half-cup of finely ground sea salt and a few drops of an essential oil (Sweet Orange is great for this) and mix it together. Once your skin is wet, scrub to your heart’s content (avoiding anywhere delicate) and rinse off. Your skin will thank you!
Then, once you’ve given everything a clean sweep and set your intention for the new month, follow it up with a physical practice to cleanse and open up too. Incorporate more twists into your yoga practice or do some moon salutations (Chandra Namaskar).