burning up the "shoulds"

fire

 
I had the worst day with the girls.  There was yelling, whining and a full on tantrum that included stomping both feet repeatedly.  And that was just me.  You think I'm kidding?  Sadly, no.  I was in awesome form all day.  I'd like to blame it all on the girls but while they were on permanent whine, my responses were beyond appropriate.  It was sad.

Once they went down for a nap I found myself lighting a fire in the fireplace and honestly wondering why I'd do that in the middle of the day.  I wasn't particularly cold and I almost never make the fire happen in this house. But there I was, stacking logs and kindling, twisting bits of newspaper into long bunches. 

Then I picked up my computer and took a couple minutes to surf blogs.  Turns out I had a very good reason for laying a fire.  Jen Lemen, who I totally love, is Shaking the Shoulds for 2008. She writes:

...I think I'll start the new year with a blazing fire, fueled by a bunch of tiny papers marking all the shoulds I don't need to keep for 2008. This is the kind of idea I get and then get scared to follow up on (for all the reasons I listed above!) so I'm inviting you to help me out by doing it, too...


Her idea of doing it as a group ritual is all fine and good and I think you should all go over there and say YES! SIGN ME UP TO BURN STUFF! but for me, with an unexplained fire sitting right there and a couple sheets of used paper just mocking me from the coffee table, I didn't have a choice.  It was happening right now. 

 

working from the bottom of the page

 

I started writing all the shoulds I need to let go of:
I should be a better mother
I should be a better wife
so on and so forth
Things that I know are silly in some ways.  I know I'm a good wife and mother and yet there are so many times I "should" be better at this gig.  For some reason I found myself writing from the bottom of the page with the shoulds.

Then I started working from the top of page two, writing all the good intentions that I needed to send out into the universe.  

good thoughts/shoulds

 

I was scribbling fast and forgetting to cross t's and putting a lot of generic crap on there, but it was all what felt right at that moment so I stopped judging myself.

tearing them up was fun

 

Then I got all giddy and tore the papers to shreds.  Part of me was all, "WHOA THERE!  Shouldn't you cut the pieces so each item rests on it's own slip?" and then I replied, "SHUT UP, SHOULD!" 

putting in the little slips

 
Then I burned those mother-truckers. 

And I'd just like to say that this may seem totally cracked to you. I mean, here I am doing the same thing in a very contradictory way.  I'm burning stuff I want to get rid of and stuff I want to affirm?  That's CRAZY talk.  But that's the lovely thing about intentions: you can get totally different results with the same method.  It's a crazy world, I know.

sending this one where it belongs

 
There's nothing more satisfying than watching them curl in on themselves and turn to ash. 

Once again, Jen managed to give me the inspiration I needed right when I needed it.  Gotta love synchronicity.

Anyone else planning on burning stuff?  Go visit Jen and let her inspire you a little.  She's always good for that.