Burning rituals have been a part of society since civilizations first took shape. It seems that the act of allowing flames to consume things has healing properties. While the ceremonies of burning rituals do not all contain the same supply list or formal procedures, they all do have two things in common: fire and something to burn.
On a recent getaway with some of my gal pals, we lamented emotions and worries that were weighing heavily on us. As we sought respite in food, drinks, and re-runs of Friends, we were inspired (in part by Phoebe’s idea in “The One with the Candy Hearts”) to have our own burning ritual.
We would each write down the things that were weighing on us and then toss them in the fire. (Our rental cabin had the MOST amazing fireplace.) It took no time at all for each of us to jot down the issues we would like to see go up in flames. Before we decided to just willy-nilly toss our troubles into the fire, we thought it would be best to research burning rituals to see if there was anything that would increase the effectiveness of our sacrifice.
Forgive and forget… easier said than done. I’m gonna make it happen in 2021.
It is true that we are often our own worst critics, but being a flawed human (just like everyone else) I have come to the realization that I am pretty critical of a few other folks in my life.
My cynicism is the result of my failure to forgive. I can’t be my best if I do not absolve my grievances with the people who have hurt or hampered me in the past. Never would I claim to be completely innocent of hurting others, but if I am ever going stop the damage to my own self-esteem and the esteem I have for others, I am going to have to do some forgiving.
When I started gathering ideas for my 2021 Vision Board, I knew I needed to work on my relationship goals with some people in my life, as well as myself. Setting a goal for greater compassion and acceptance was something that my Vision Board simply HAD to display.
In my search through magazines and websites, I couldn’t find just what I needed to say on my board, until I stumbled across a quote from Galina Majda in Mukilteo, Washington. (I am sad to say I don’t know what magazine this was from.) Galina’s statement of forgiveness was EXACTLY what I needed for myself and my relationships.
“Every night before I go to sleep, I forgive everyone, including myself.”
Wow! Wow! Wow!
“I forgive everyone, including myself.”
Do you ever lay awake at night hashing over the mistakes you made or the things you forgot to do? Do you ever just lay there simmering in regret or guilt or anger? I know I do. Ending the day with a mentality of forgiveness could stop all of that wasted worrying and bring about greater peace. It’s what I need to do.
Mom-guilt is the WORST guilt. After a recent bought with illness, I had to wrestle this most worrisome of self-reproaches. Mom-guilt crept up often as I tried to get rest, let the kids cook, and not let the chaos of my unkempt home get to me.
I was sick enough that an outer space alien could have easily taken up residence and claimed our home for his base, and I would not have felt the impact, so forgiveness is an alien entity I’m going to have to let in.
Climbing my way out of the chaos and regaining my strength, I’m finding that I need to be nice to myself or I’m never going to feel better. (Maybe not “never”, but it’s going to take a while.)
As we tackle the challenges of giving our families the “perfect” Christmas and making all of our relationships as meaningful as possible, I encourage you to accept that most alien of notions, the notion of self-forgiveness.
Peter Pan is a story about never growing up and believing in the unbelievable. When I was a kid, my younger sisters had a VHS of Peter Pan starring Sandy Duncan. They loved that movie. We watched it A LOT, but the scene that sticks out most in my mind is the one where Tinkerbell’s light is going out and Peter Pan begs the audience to clap and cheer so that Tinkerbell would know they believed in her. Eventually, Tinkerbell’s light grew brighter; the music swelled and Peter Pan’s enthusiasm grew, knowing that darn good and well the kids at home JUST HAD to be clapping and cheering their little hearts out to bring Tink back.
Well, here’s the thing. Not everyone was cheering. (In my house we were not all cheering because we had seen the film 12,867 times.) Most were not cheering because they knew that Tinkerbell was just a light on the television screen and no amount of in-home enthusiasm was going to change that bulb’s brightness. The unbelievers chose not to support the idea that there was a fairy dying from unbelief of children.
Earlier this summer, my youngest son was helping me run errands. He had behaved well and been so patient all morning. When he asked to purchase a small cactus in at the hardware store, I said, “Yes.” The cactus was in a small plastic pot and didn’t seem too dangerous, so I didn’t think twice about taking it home.
My six-year-old son proudly watered the cactus every other week and talked to it almost daily. I didn’t give it much attention until he placed it on the kitchen counter next to my Christmas cactus. I noticed his cactus was a bit pale and still had a tag hanging off it.
Upon closer inspection I made a prickly discovery. My sweet son’s cactus was a fake. It was made in China.
Less than three sips into my first glass of New Years Eve wine, I knocked over the entire cup in a fit of excitement to show my “good” coat to a friend. The wine flowed right on over to the corner of a jacket laying on the table. It was NOT my coat. AAAHHHH!
I quickly wiped the coat off and dried up the table.
Then the worry set in.
I HAD to find the owner of the coat.
What if it was their “good” coat?
What if they yelled at me?
What if they told everyone I was a raving drunk, who destroyed their coat and any hopes of a happy new year? (I may be exaggerating, but I really was worried.)
I asked everyone I saw if the coat was thiers, but had no luck locating its owner.
I was just about to trudge the walk of shame to the front of the dance and kindly ask the amazing band singer if I could borrow his microphone. I needed to find the owner of that coat. As I went back to grab the coat, the cutest, little brunette was getting something from the purse next to THE COAT.
“The Serenity Prayer” is one that I pray a lot. By “a lot” I mean, I have seriously considered tattooing it to my forearm because it is that much a part of my day.
Recently I found “The OTHER Serenity Prayer” written by Eleanor Brown on Pinterest.
It goes like this:
God, grand me the serenity to stop beating myself up for
not doing things perfectly,
the courage to forgive myself because I am working on doing better, and the wisdom to know that you already love me just the way I am.
What a perfect prayer!
If you feel like you are struggling with your own imperfections, say this prayer for yourself.
If there is someone in your life who could use a reminder that we are all works in progress, please share this with them.
I am grateful for the wisdom and understanding this prayer brings. Bring it to someone you love, especially yourself.
Serenity is gained one forgiving, loving moment at a time. Take the time to love and forgive yourself and spread the same grace to those you meet.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. Serenity cannot be found until we discover love.
There are days I really wish I had an instruction manual for life. There are days that I think I should write an instruction manual for how to NOT live. There are days that I am pretty sure I am not smart enough to follow an instruction manual (if I had one) to save my life.
We all feel this way sometime.
The best part of our imperfection is that we all suffer from it.
Our mistakes are part of the human condition and they are tools for personal growth.
The three steps to surviving imperfection are as follows:
(Unofficial Instruction Guide for Life)
I have established clear and determined intent to abstain from chocolate. It is Lent and I LOVE chocolate so it is the one thing I purposefully give up each year.
TWICE! TWICE! I have inadvertently eaten chocolate in the first 7 days of Lent. Aaauuuggghhhh!
My first infraction came with lunch on Ash Wednesday (of all the days!). I opened my yogurt while checking emails and scarfed it down. (I was really hungry from abstaining.) Then I turned to eat my peanut butter sandwich and realized that, I, in my state of “starvation,” ate a yogurt with chocolate and coconut. I felt so guilty! I didn’t even allow myself to each chocolate on the following Sunday (The one day a week that we are allowed to indulge during Lent) because of my guilt.
My second mistaken consumption occurred this Wednesday. Hubby and a crew of guys were pouring concrete for our new porch steps. I thought it would be nice to make lunch and treat them with cookies. I opened a tub of cookie dough and started scooping. Before placing the first dough ball on the cookie sheet, I did what I always do for “quality control;” I tasted the cookie dough. IT WAS CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH!