Sunday, December 27, 2009

Closer to My Dreams: Let It Burn

 With time ticking away from 2009 to 2010, there have been many conversations about the past 12 months. Often about what has or has not happened. For me it has been bittersweet, meaning there have been highs and lows. The end of a relationship, yet new found freedom and direction. Unfortunately, for some, the past seems to linger too long causing issues in the future. While thinking about that dilemma, I was reminded of of a ceremony I wanted to perform along with a tool I was taught during my training to be a certified GriefRecovery Specialist. At times, we can be overwhemed by failures, grief, hurt, pain, and disappointments to the point of being paralyzed or depressed. I have been there too and it is a place from which you can emerge.

The song Let It Burn by Usher came to mind when I was thinking about the ceremony. It took that simple sentiment "let it burn" and applied it to the ceremony and thoughts of the past, since they are things no one can change. The only thing we can transform is our relationship to the past, the way we view it, and how much we allow it to effect our future.To make it simple, I call the ceremony, Let It Burn. The closer I get to my dreams the more stuff from the past emerges. But, if it is burned, it cannot come back. Anything that is burned cannot return.

There are things that haunt you. It may be the death of a mate, spouse, friend, relative, beloved pet, parent, sibling, or child. Some people have lost jobs, finances, health, relationships, and homes. Others have a change of life which may be hard to accept like empty nesters or grandparents who are now caring for their grandchildren. No matter what the situation it is all legitimate.

In the past year, there have been things you have said or done to yourself as well, which meant you no good. Maybe you were lazy about working out, spent little quality time with family or friends, or neglected your health. Only you know the answer to that. No better time than the present to Let It Burn. Let it go, get it off your chest. How? The following are instructions for your own LET IT BURN CEREMONY.

  1. Make a list of :
    •  people who have died in the past 12 months
    • things you regret doing or not doing
    • pains you were caused and by whom
    • pains which you have cause and to whom
    • express your disappointments
  2. Begin formulating your letter following this format:
    • Dear (YOUR NAME),  As I review the past year I have realized somethings I want to let go of to build a future of freedom.
      • LIST PEOPLE WHO HAVE DIED any apologies you want to communicate to them, thins you want to be forgiven for, things you want to forgive, and share other things you want them to know. If there are multiple deaths, repeat the same process for each. Please let whatever emotions you feel be alright both the lack of emotion and showing emotion. Know that writing this section does not mean that you will no longer think of that person, you are simply allowing yourself to move beyond the hurt and pain.
      • WRITE  ABOUT PAINS YOU WERE CAUSED by whom, what do you want them to know, and for what can you forgive them?
      • WRITE ABOUT PAINS YOU HAVE CAUSED to whom (including yourself), what were the pains/hurts, for what do you forgive yourself, for what do you want to be forgiven.
      • CLOSE THE LETTER however you feel comfortable, yet makes it clear you will no longer hold onto these things. You may use words like: Good bye, That's All, All is complete. Whatever you use should reflect you.
      • SIGN IT!
  3. Reread the letter either to yourself or aloud (to yourself).
  4. Prepare a safe place for a fire. Light the fire and place the letter in it. You may want to be silent during this time, pray, meditate, or recite the following:
    • I forever release you. I no longer hold the right to punish you or me. From this moment on there is freedom. From this moment on I  am complete.
  5. You may want to take a moment. However, following the last step, take another piece of paper and write at least 5 things you commit to being, doing, or having and by when you will accomplish these things. 
 Since you have burned the past you can create anything. While writing the letter be free with it. Have fun, make them things that will inspire and excite you. Keep it in a place where you can view it often, maybe post it on a wall or frame it. Share the letter with friends and family, those people who will support you.

 I share this because the past can be a crutch for individuals and families. My son, affectionately known as "the Boy", and I will be participating in this ceremony on December 31st together. He will have his own letter, though he is 10, which will express his feelings and thoughts. For parents, this is a great way to allow children to express their grief, upsets, disappointments, and feelings about their lives as well. It is also a phenomenal tool for parents, couples, and families to begin a new chapter. You may share the ceremony with firends and family for your New Year's celebration. If you participte together you may consider sharing what you forgive and want to be forgiven for with those in the circle. No arguing, it defeats the purpose. And then, LET IT BURN!

 Please be sure to go to www.sidneygaskins.webs.com or www.sidneygaskins.podbean.com in the New Year to get information for New Dawning, a grief recovery group beginning in the new year. Why not start a new year with a New Dawning in life too?

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