Moving Away and Moving Toward: Writing Prompts for Year’s End

Journaling prompts from Patty Bechtold at

We’re in the flow of moving away and moving toward. The end of another year, another decade. The beginning of new ones, and who knows what they’ll bring?

Most of the women I talk with these days are feeling a bit worn out at the end of 2019. And there are a bounty of reasons to feel weary, right? In fact, it can be hard to pick just one.

Still, I’m convinced there are a bounty of reasons to feel hopeful as we move away and move toward.

It’s a different kind of hope that I can’t quite articulate yet. So I went looking for insight in 2019’s blog posts, rifling through them seeking answers.

No quick answers emerged, but surprisingly a poem did. A word here, a phrase there, and it sort of came together.

I’m calling it How to Let Things Come to You because that’s where it all began in January, with this blog post.

How to Let Things Come to You

A little piece of eternity dropped in your hands
brings you back to yourself back to the
promises and tiny rebellions of your heart.

Savoring freedom, light, shadow
savoring the wisdom of the wild woman
and the gifts she gives you.

Savoring the gifts you give yourself
beyond the fear, beneath the fear
welcoming it but not dwelling there.

Your heart may break a little but on the other side
is something beautiful and unexpected.
And you don’t have to know.

Of course, now I remember! You don’t have to know and you can’t possibly know exactly what will happen.

So perhaps this emerging version of hope I’m feeling is a reminder of the wisdom of uncertainty. Because if ever there was a time to embrace uncertainty, this is probably it.

Okay, maybe we’re not ready to fully embrace it.

But moving toward acceptance of how little we actually know? That’s a good thing.

This year I’ve been trying to reach less and allow things to come to me.

Moving from grasping to allowing.

In doing so I’ve discovered that when I hold things lightly and stop reaching so hard, I have more emotional flexibility for whatever adventures (sometimes scary) await me.

Believe me, this isn’t easy for me. I do still grasp.

But it’s been worth it to try. And for sure things have come to me that I didn’t expect.

And yet. We live in a world that really wants us to reach, to know, to feel certain.

Especially this time of year. Every day I see another invitation to get clear on what’s happened and what I’m going to be doing going forward.

I think it’s because we don’t trust that we’re making progress unless we can quantify it and be very specific.

And while I’m not totally sure about this, I suspect fear of the unknown drives our need to forcefully say what is and what will be as much as the excitement of new beginnings.

It can be a bit exhausting.

I mean, even though I’m all for end-of-year rituals that help us reflect back and imagine forward, maybe it can be easier and less time consuming.

Less reaching, knowing and certainty. More pausing, listening and waiting.

Being with rather than forcing.


Maybe it’s as simple as contemplating what you’ve been moving away from and what you’ve been moving toward.

I love this way of looking back or looking forward at periods of time: a day, week, month, year or even a decade.

Viewing life through this lens of moving away and moving toward reminds us that movement and transformation are always happening even if it doesn’t seem so on the surface. And life isn’t good/bad, either/or. In fact, we’re continually circling around and moving in and out.

So these two writing prompts make it really easy to take a pause at year-end/year-beginning:

  • During the past year I’ve been moving away from…
  • During the past year I’ve been moving toward…

Here’s how to step into the flow of moving away and moving toward:

Get out some paper and a pen. A keyboard is okay but remember that the benefits of writing by hand are well documented.

Maybe take a minute or two to settle into your breath. Then set the timer for 10 minutes. Give in and let the first prompt carry you wherever it wants to (try to put aside any judgment or forcing).

When the timer goes off repeat the sequence with the second prompt.

When you’ve finished you may want to read it over but maybe not. You can let it marinate and return later. When you do I’m quite sure you’ll discover nuggets of wisdom.

Highlight anything that seems important. Revisit them throughout the year whenever you need a dose of your own wisdom or a sense of the path ahead.

If you can, keep writing with a version of these prompts in 2020, even just 10 minutes a week.

Keep up the flow of moving away and moving toward.

Because it’s truly in the repeating and returning that you deepen your wisdom.

Where you find healing and transformation.


Patty Bechtold

Patty Bechtold

I help women find their way back to their deepest wisdom when they feel like something’s missing in their lives or themselves. On my blog I write about the stories, insights, ideas, and wise words I’ve picked up along the way. Thank you for being here.