In our neighborhood, garbage day is on Fridays. A scheduled day that the trash gets hauled away every week! Isn’t that great? And all I have to do is take the cans to the curb. What would happen without sanitation services? I don’t want to think about having to live with stinky trash as it piles up. Waste products are natural aspects of life, coming in cycles as frequent as every exhaled breath. So why do we so often neglect our *emotional* waste? Why do we allow negativity to remain camped in our minds and hearts? These burdens, at the very least, sap your energy, but can also cause pain, disease, and suffering.
Fortunately, there are ways to deal with this. Release techniques are vital because, as important as it is to bring positive thoughts and feelings into your mind and heart, you also need to remove negative thoughts and feelings if you are going to make progress. No matter how positive a person you may be, there is some negativity in everyone, because we’re all humans in a fallen world. It’s possible that you may be unaware of the negativity buried deep within you, which has the power to trap you, handicap you, stop you. Now, negative emotions do serve an important purpose, which you can read about in this post, but once that purpose is served, those things need to be moved through you and out. While there are many strategies for getting that yucky stuff out, I find a certain tool particularly effective, and also kind of fun. I call it “Pyro Pages.”
When you recognize a negative thought in your mind or feeling in your heart, get a loose sheet of paper and write: “I feel __________ because __________.” Aim to fill at least half the page. If possible, read aloud what you’ve written once finished. And then, the most important step: destroy the paper ASAP. If you keep it, that will tell your subconscious mind that what you wrote is true and something you want to hold on to. (Believe me on this one.) When you watch that paper being destroyed by your own hand, your brain gets the message that you are rejecting those ideas and that you want those feelings out of your life. It doesn’t matter how you destroy it, whether shredding it, ripping it up, or burning it, but be sure obliterate it more completely than merely crumpling it up. I like the visual impression of burning it: flames consuming the words on the paper, smoke drifting up and away, leaving only insubstantial ashes.
I wanted to share this with you because I did this a couple times this week, and it reminded me how powerful this tool can be. As I watched my pages consuming in the fire out on the backyard BBQ grill, I felt a huge weight lift right off me, leaving me light, buoyant and peaceful inside. This really works. I had allowed myself to feel all my hopelessness, frustration and loneliness while I wrote, then whispered what I wrote to myself right before I lit it up. As it burned I felt freed from those feelings, immediately. I asked my Higher Power to take the burden from me, and the visual of the smoke dissipating into the sky seemed like it literally carried my bad feelings away and up into the heavens.
Just as a side note: doing simply this will not magically “solve” all your problems. If you’re got issues in a relationship, you will probably still need to work it out with the other person. If there is some specific action you need to take in your life, this won’t take the place of that step. It’s just a way to let go of the negative *feelings* and bring you some relief and peace, whether permanently or temporarily. If these kinds of feelings keep you awake at night, do this right before bed and enjoy a better night’s sleep. But if the same feelings keep coming back, that’s a clue that there’s more you need to go and do to solve your problem.
Here’s what I would suggest to try. At first, write and burn every day for two weeks. Even if you don’t think you have anything negative in there, sit down to write anyway. Setting pen to paper shows your intention. Something will come to you. (Another note, it’s better to do this longhand rather than typing, because the act of writing it out connects better with your brain, but you can still type it, print it out and burn it if you want. Just make sure the file doesn’t get saved to your computer!)
The following prompts are difficult to write about, but will clean you out for sure. (Think juice cleanse.)
I feel worthless because __________.
I don’t feel valuable because ___________.
After the two weeks, you can continue to do it daily, or just use this technique as the need arises. When you’ve finished burning the paper, it helps to “backfill” with something positive:affirmations, prayer, writing down what you’re grateful for or what you love about yourself, etc.
If you are a parent, or not, this tool will make you more approachable to children. They are very sensitive, and they know when you’ve got negativity stuck inside, which sometimes they “take on” to try to help us adults (but it only ends up hurting them). If you are married, this tool will help you be more fun and lighthearted with your spouse, and who doesn’t want that? Generally, it opens you up to others and allows more people to come into your life. Because you can’t hide behind your emotions anymore, it gets you unstuck and lets more of your true self shine through.
Try it. What do you have to lose? You might even discover a little pyromaniac streak inside that you never knew you had!