Old Year Reflections


“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

It is time to embrace the new, but first, I need to release the old. I am not one to make New Year resolutions anymore.  Every year at this time, I have vowed to lose weight…exercise more…eat better…and ___________ (fill in your own resolution). However, nothing…absolutely NADA has stuck with me for very long.

Instead, I make daily resolutions…sort of like my goals I want to accomplish for the day. That way I don’t have to live with unfulfilled expectations and I can do little things each day. At any rate, the temptation to “resolve” is strong at this time of the year! So here is a tip: The resolutions most likely to be kept are the ones rooted in reflection.

Nicaraguans have mastered the skill of reflection and of letting go through their unique Muñecos, or stuffed dolls packed with gun powder. They symbolize blasting away their vices of the past year, and ushering in the new year with a clean slate. I like that concept. However, it takes reflection to make it work.

Last year, I made a Muñeca, or a woman doll.  A Muñeca New Year
This New Year, I think I will spend a quiet day reflecting on the past year because life can only be understood backwards.

I made a list of my top five year-end questions to help me through my reflective process.
IMG_1145Then, I will be ready to usher in the New Year with a BANG!
IMG_1132 Continue reading

A Muñeca New Year


“There will be always something old in the New Year!” ― Mehmet Murat ildan

An old tradition in Nicaragua is to burn the ‘old year’. They collect old clothes, stuff them with dried plantain leaves and lots of gunpowder, and make muñecos, or old men scarecrows. Then, at midnight, they burn the effigies symbolizing an explosion of vices and a new beginning. A post I wrote in January 2012: A Molotov New Year

But, this year, I chose to explode old traditions and make a muñeca…a woman scarecrow.
IMG_1063Lauren brought an old shirt and shoes. I supplied the colorful socks and the pants. We made her head out of a Jicaro pod, painted gorgeous full lips and freckles. Lauren completed her head with fancy make-up, banana leaf hair, and a big lime green bow. She’s ready for a party.
IMG_1069But, wait! She’s not complete without her vices.
IMG_1068“What is her name, Lauren? She needs a name.” I asked. She thought about a name while we were raking the shredded banana leaves. “Laura!” she finally shouted. Perfect! If you live in Latin America, you may be familiar with the “Laura Bozzo Show” on television. Laura is kind of like a female Jerry Springer. She’s bold, bright, and beautiful. And most of all…Laura is a fighter. She fights for women’s equality in Latin America with a lot of controversy and conflict on her shows.
IMG_1071Laura it is! She’s too beautiful to burn on New Year’s Eve. I think she’s a keeper. I’m going to set her in front of my house for a long time…or at least until the midnight bandits try to steal her.  Maybe I’ll make a sign for her to hold in honor of women’s rights in Nicaragua.
IMG_1067There will always be something old in the new year…but this year, she’s female! Here’s to keeping the old traditions, yet adding a new twist to the story. May your new year be filled with love, acceptance, and honor. I’ll leave you with a few photos of muñecos that my friend, Cindi, took on the other side of the island.
bearded munecoblack faced munecodrunk munecopin head munecosunglass muneco