Burning Regrets

IMG_1145Been feeling some regret lately and wanted to let it go. October was a tough month for me and really, September was only a little better. In those weeks, I had more bad days than good. Wrote 500 pages trying to understand myself and the emotional journey I found myself on, at age 59, when I’m supposed to be wise and know stuff and not have regrets because I know better than to do the things that I will regret.

So not true. And regret was one thing that hid itself, sly fox. I was depressed, I was sad, I was confused, I was stressed. But regrets? Hadn’t thought about those. Until a chance remark made by another person made me think: wow, I have so many regrets. I’m hanging on to them and they are dragging me down. Once I finally copped to the situation, it was time to get to work on burning those regrets. Literally.

Last night I wrote out about ten pages of regrets I had about hurting people, making bad choices, getting lost, you name it, I wrote it down. Something funny happened while I was writing. I started to realize that some of the things I regretted, in fact most of them, I would not change. Given the chance, I wouldn’t change much at all about my life and the way I’ve lived it. I learned so much by the mistakes I’ve made, I’m almost grateful for the suffering it brought.

I do regret hurting others. I can take it; I’m tough. I just wish I didn’t mow innocent others down sometimes in my single-minded determination to do something, big or small, I will later come to regret. But the person hurt most by my actions, I discovered in writing, was myself. There was nobody else to blame, and really, I didn’t want to blame myself anymore, either.

I had to change pens three times writing my little manifesto. Finally I wrote the last page in barely discernible ink. I didn’t want to get another pen. I was tired and my regret was fading just like the ink. Fitting and proper, I thought. So I went to bed, had a nightmare, woke up, and started a fire. I was careful, because I’ve done this particular cleansing ritual before, so I knew that a pot on the stove is not a good idea. Neither is a match on the sidewalk.

But I wanted those pages good and burned and gone forever. And with them my regrets. So I balanced my pizza stone on the kitchen sink, water at the ready, and flicked my bic. I cannot tell you how satisfying it was to watch all that baggage go up in smoke. I won’t be looking back, I finally am unstuck, and I’m moving forward in a healthy way. Still, sorry to anyone singed along the way. Sincerely.

Need to let something go? This works for more than regrets. It works for relationships. Burn a picture or a poem or special card. It works for humiliating situations, maybe fired from a job, maybe held up to ridicule or judgement for one thing or another. The incident doesn’t matter, what matters is that it is over except in your head. Get it out and on paper and then burn that sucker down.

The charred remains will satisfy you in an inexplicable way. Just make sure to douse the fire and maybe even soak the ashes and bits of stray paper before tossing them in the trash where they belong. Be safe, be happy, be renewed. Balance your books and forgive yourself. Of course I’m saying all of this to myself as well. Namaste.IMG_1148