“Some people think it’s holding that makes one strong–sometimes it’s letting go.” ~Unknown
I’m the divorced mother of two teenage girls. Holidays are split; the girls have Thanksgiving with their dad and Christmas with me on even-numbered years, and vice versa on odd number years. It’s hard on all of us, but it has been especially hard on me this year.
This year I had Thanksgiving with my girls the weekend before Thanksgiving and asked if they wanted come over on Black Friday to set up the Christmas tree, as was the tradition before. They said sure.
I called them about ten that morning to find out when they’d be ready for me to pick them up. Well, they forgot and made plans with their grandmother to go shopping. I was devastated and in tears. So many emotions were ripping my heart apart.
I was mad and resentful. How could they forget me like this? This must be their way of punishing me.
I felt guilty. Had I not divorced their father, they wouldn’t be torn between two families! Maybe if I had tried harder… I shouldn’t be mad. They are teenagers and as such, egocentric! We all know this! I should be more flexible and understanding, but I’m mad!
I was afraid. If I show them I’m hurt and mad, they aren’t going to want to be with me, but if I don’t, then they might think I don’t care!
I criticized their father and grandmother. Once again their father has failed to stand up for my wants and needs! Once again, my mother-in-law has butted into my business with my kids!
I wallowed in all of these feelings for hours until I passed out from exhaustion. When I woke up, I decided that I was going to take on the philosophy of the Ebenezer Scrooge and The Grinch. I told my husband that I was canceling Christmas.
I was tired of getting hurt and if I didn’t celebrate Christmas ever again, then I wouldn’t have to get hurt again. He sat for a moment in silence and then calmly said, “What about me? What about us? What about our Christmas?” (Insert sound of crashing into a wall…) He was right.
I had gotten trapped in the vines of despair and now I needed to release it, but how? How does one let go? Is it easy as saying, “I release (insert your negative feeling)…” and then never thinking about it again? For some it is, but for me, I need physical and symbolic actions to take place. Here are some techniques that I have used in the past:
How many of us have been told to write a letter and burn it? That’s because it works. There’s a great satisfaction in seeing the words disappear in flames and the paper turn to ash. Whatever you wrote has disappeared.
Maybe the smoke carried it away to be cleansed in the universe. I like to take it one step further and put the ashes in the toilet and flush them away.
2. Window Crayons
Crayola has these nifty things called Window Crayons. You can write on windows or mirrors and it wipes off relatively easily. I like to take them into the shower and write on the tile whatever I want to release.
After I wash my body, I wipe whatever is left of the words off of the tile. (The water has washed most of it away.) Sometimes it takes a little scrubbing to get all of it off and down the drain, but the words go along with the dirt and germs you have accumulated over the day.
3. Buddha Board
I found the buddha board in a “new age” store and it has become one of my favorite tools to release bad feelings. It has a board that you stand on a pedestal that holds a reservoir of water.
You take the provided brush, dip it in the water, and then draw, write, or doodle on the board. Eventually, whatever you put on the board evaporates and disappears.
Next time you find yourself needing to release something negative from your soul, I hope that these few suggestions help!
Photo by ohhdange
About Michelle Chambers
Michele Chambers is an Anthropology major at Texas A&M. Visit her blog Red Wine Confessions.