Hoarder isn’t a word I would typically use to describe myself. In fact I often went on cleansing and purging binges, eliminating unwanted and unused waste from my life (clothes, books, household items, etc.). I’ve moved around enough to know that the more you own, the more you must haul with you and therefore ridding myself of material items has, overtime, become easier and easier.
What I hadn’t been aware of was the hoarding of my past. For two years I had been working, with a therapist, to cleanse my physical and emotional body of past emotional traumas. Often reluctantly, kicking and screaming at times, I worked through my past issues, layer by layer—cleansing my wounds that were still infecting in my life. During a recent full moon ritual, it became apparent to me that I was still holding on to some things from my past, and I had a burning desire to release them.
I am known amongst friends as an avid practitioner of moon rituals, full moon releasing ceremonies and new moon intention settings. However, on this particular full moon I felt a stronger pull of energy than usual. I had recently surfaced from a two-week intensive self-study on abandonment and the self-sabotaging behaviors I had been unconsciously engaging in for many, many moons, and I was ready to release these patterns. The full moon ritual served as the perfect way to symbolically purge myself of the behaviors keeping me stuck in these undesired patterns. What I wasn’t expecting was the aftermath of the full moon ritual. The releasing sparked a desire deep within me to cleanse myself of that which I was still holding on to—and it was all buried deep within the pages of my journals.
As a small child my love of writing blossomed, and for years I had been collecting journal upon journal of my life experiences. But now these journals were a pestering reminder of my past—countless pages filled with memories, notes, quotes, ideas, thoughts, pains, sorrows and more. I had always envisioned myself writing a book one day, and these journals would be my assistant in that process. Now, these journals weighed heavy on my heart and soul, it was as though their mere existence was haunting me. I felt a wrenching sensation to get rid of them.
While I felt a strong desire to rid myself of these journals, I also questioned if this was the right decision. I tend to sway on the side of impulsive at times—like when I clean out my closet out, tossing items into a garbage bag to be hauled off to the donation center only to kick myself years down the road. “Why, oh why, would I have gotten rid of that shirt? I loved that shirt—stupid, stupid, stupid.”
So I decided to call for backup. I rang my best friend for her advice on my to burn or not to burn dilemma. I had already anticipated that she would strongly advise me not to burn and therefore had prepared my argument to defend my position. I would convince her that burning was the way I should go. What I wasn’t expecting was for her, without hesitation, to not only agree with and support my decision but to encourage it as well. She was thrilled with the idea. I expressed my fears of burning; what if one day I want to reference back to them: “Ya know, if I ever get around to writing that book.” She told me that in the same way that hoarders are attached to their belongings, I am holding onto these journals. When I am ready to sit down and write my book, everything I need is already within me, and if it is in one of those journals and not in my head then perhaps it was meant to be forgotten. I love/hate when she is right.
That night I held a journal bonfire, burning all of my past writings: notes, quotes, ideas, and memories—my written past. I felt that in some way, holding on to all of these journals was keeping me stuck in my past. A past that was full of habits and patterns that were no longer serving me; a past full of pains and sorrows that I no longer wished to play the victim of. I was prepared to move forward into a new life, and it felt was though those writings were (symbolically) keeping me anchored in an old way of being. I had to free myself of the dead weight that was holding me back from flying freely into cultivating my new life—a new, lighter, me.
Editor: Travis May
Image: Courtesy of Author