Somewhere high in the Rocky Mountains lies traces of a roaring campfire with remnants of an ex-boyfriend’s shirt and memories of an epic girl party.
The moon was satisfied and full on a summer night when two girlfriends and I ventured into the woods to embrace good times and let go of other times. It was a night that was spirited with wine and jubilant energy under the glow of a heart-stirring Colorado sea of stars.
‘Twas a night of redemption and lady-power, a declaration of new beginnings and freedom from past mistakes. If you are suddenly picturing three jaded man-haters spinning yarn as they stroke many a pet cat, know this wasn’t the situation. For this night wasn’t about ex-boyfriends—or men at all for that matter.
Letting It Go
Learning to let go has become a trend in pop culture, made viral in recent years by an actual Disney princess. If you are currently singing “Let it Go” in your head, I applaud your decision as I am too—and still do, when life takes a twist, forcing those wise words from the enlightened frosty queen to come into play.
But what does letting it go actually mean? Sure, it’s easy to sing away our troubles, but what happens when the music stops? When those uncomfortable feelings become the rock in our shoe reminding us that we have not actually let it go.
It wasn’t our ex-boyfriends who were holding us back—each of us was over our respective person—it was what they represented. It was the stickier times in life, when things got tangled, and black and white became grey. It was the personal lessons they taught that we still hadn’t learned. The times when feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, betrayal, and distrust had first been lit and left our souls a bit burnt. The leftover traumas that we were still wearing like old, comfortable, ratty t-shirts, unintentionally introducing them to our present relationships, friendships, and even our work lives.
I once read somewhere that “we repeat what we haven’t repaired.” We were ready to not just let go, but to repair, heal, and fully move on.
To be burned in life is to be human. Letting go needs an equally as flammable moment.
Burning our own “Man”
For our camping adventure, I asked my sweet lady friends to bring boxes filled with their past, with items that they felt most symbolized the cords that hadn’t been cut. While the boxes were light in weight, what was in them held meaning.
Each girl also came with an intention, something specific they wanted to let go of. We spoke our intentions aloud before placing the items, and our symbolic hurt, into the fire. Then we paired those ashes with loud cheers and some fabulous dancing.
The same fire that once burnt us, now fueled us.
(And yes, an ex or two had their shirts sacrificed in the process. Why we still had them? Don’t ask, it’s a girl thing…)
Every person in our lives is there for a reason. The question is, will we notice the gift of their presence? And once we figure out what that reason is, we need to decide how we will let the things we attach ourselves to affect us.
Igniting our own Light
If you are in need of a more ceremonious release—your own personal Burning Man—from your inner demons, I strongly suggest starting with a powerful intention that really resonates with you.
Understand what it is that you are burning and ridding from your life, and also what it is that you desire and want more of. Focus your intention on the good change, not the devils of the past. This may require some prior self-reflection, so try to determine what unhealthy patterns keep showing up—and don’t be afraid to get deep. The more real we are with ourselves, the better chance we have to release what’s holding us back so we can move forward.
Also, have the courage to ask for help. Consult those you trust for insight, and get vocal about your intention. Our personal growth is nothing to be ashamed of, and we should be proud of ourselves for taking action to change our story. This also ensures that we have a cheerleader and can be a cheerleader to others.
Lastly, don’t forget to have a good time. This is not about reliving the past—this is about finding grace, forgiving, and empowering ourselves.
Let the fire fuel you, not burn you.
Author: Elizabeth Drolet
Image: Author’s own; Joshua Earle/Unsplash
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Travis May
Social Editor: Catherine Monkman