A friend of mine suggested doing something she thought might aid in pulling me out of this frustrating funk.
“Write down every fear, every negative thought,” she said. She suggested I write down all of those things that have been plaguing me and running my mind ragged for the past few weeks, then take a lighter to them. She told me, “It’s a cleansing process. It may be your minds way of saying, ‘These thoughts do not exist anymore. They are nothing but ashes.'”
I loved the idea, and woke up yesterday morning, crawled out of bed and grabbed some paper and a pen. After writing out the list – with a bit of a shaking hand – I headed outside with the paper and a lighter. I gave myself a pep talk, some sort of speech with a witch-like ritual feel to it, and rolled my thumb downwards so the flame burst upwards from the top of the lighter. I took a deep breath and held it to the paper, and watched as the edges curled and blackened and the list I had written disappeared from the bottom up.
It felt good, I thought I could feel something changing.
Then the flame grew three times its size and I freaked and blew it out.
The majority of the list was gone, with the exception of the first negative thought on the list: “I am fat.” But I wasn’t too concerned. The list got more intense as it went on, hence the reason I was sure to start burning it from the bottom. I made sure nothing was left smoldering and proceeded to sweep up the ashes and dump them into the kitchen trashcan. The remnants of the list are still in the ashtray out back.
While I wasn’t able to completely trick my mind into getting rid of the negative nancy mood I’ve been in, it was a step in the right direction. I’ve been able to distract myself from my depression for longer periods of time. I just wish I could dedicate a blog entry to something other than this – but it’s still taking over when I put my fingers to the keyboard.
Joe’s Christmas shopping is finished, and I can’t wait for Christmas Day so he can open all of his gifts. He stares at the packages under the tree and tells me I spent too much. I told him he doesn’t even know what’s in them! He’ll get over it when he’s ripping them all open, hehehe.
“You don’t have to control your thoughts; you just have to stop letting them control you.”
— Dan Millman
Words to live by.
10 responses to “Let It Burn”
I find the only way that works is if you use the burning list to light a fire of some sort, and then sit next to that fire with some type of beverage and some music for a couple of hours.
Now THAT sounds like the right idea. Next time Joe and I are in the Poconos, I shall sit by the fire pit with list and beer in hand. And some good music on the radio, of course.
Nicole Marie, there is NO DOUBT that this too shall pass. so you may as well start acting as if it already has. continue…
Tony, I wish we didn’t live thousands of miles apart. Your comments always comfort me. Thank you.
My thought is, if this is taking over when your fingers hit the keyboard, there’s a reason for it. Maybe the act of spilling out the words does the same thing for you as burning negativity does for someone else. I remember when I was going through what I called ‘radiation fallout’, my doctor told me to cry when I wanted, scream when I wanted, and get mad when I wanted. What a release. But scary to realize I had to be given permission to let emotions out. Man, do I now enjoy slamming doors! He also gave me a prescription to have fun when I wanted. That was the hardest for me, and why he wrote it down. I keep that paper with me to remember to prioritize fun over chores. Let this be your prescription to use that keyboard to let it all out, then walk away and find something that makes you smile, no matter how brief that moment may be.
Thank you, Lisa. This makes so much sense. Your doctors sounds like a very smart man. I’ll give those techniques a try. Things are looking brighter – and the writing and talking helps. Thank you. 🙂
I tried this once and set a bin on fire; I’m glad you had better luck with it!
Hahahaha. You were left unharmed, I hope!!! Thank you – I’m glad the only low point of the experience was having to clean up the ashes!
Steps in the right direction are good.
Soon they will be leaps and bounds!
Thank you! I can only hope. 🙂