Burning the Past

A few days ago as I was cleaning out some old boxes in the basement (major spring cleaning) I ran across a pile of journals.  As I read the pages it became clear to me that until very recently (the last year or so) when I wrote in my journal the content was focused on angst, problems, and other negatively charged topics, while my more recent journal entries are more gratitude and solution based. This past year I’ve been learning more about how “energy” flows in our lives and the different types of energy we create and consume (Anabolism and Catabolism) and as I read I couldn’t help feeling that holding onto these journals wasn’t a very good use of the pent-up catabolic energy stored in the pages.

  • Catabolism is the set of metabolic pathways that breaks down molecules into smaller units.  These reactions release energy.
  • Anabolism is the set of metabolic pathways that construct molecules from smaller units. These reactions require energy.  Anabolism is powered by Catabolism

I sat there for quite a while looking at these journals, wondering what I wanted to do them, asking myself why I have been holding on to them for so long and what purpose they served in my life today.  After contemplating this for quite some time I realized that there was no reason I could think of to keep them….but they could service a new purpose for me now, while at the same time releasing them and the energy they contained.

I have gotten into the habit of ending my day (when it’s not raining) by building a small fire in my backyard fire pit.  I find that sitting by the fire at the end of the day is very relaxing – even meditative.  I’ve been using the wood I salvaged from the deck demo project last spring that is not of high enough quality to build something new with as fuel.  It was during one of these evening “burns” that it dawned on me to burn my journals – use those old words as fuel just like I was using the old deck wood.

Journal Burning

As I burned the old journals I found that if I dumped a big bunch of pages on the fire at one time the fire would lose heat, and energy (not enough oxygen to feed the fire), but when I put the pages on one at a time, I could feel a burst of heat and energy along with a satisfying blaze, clearly this was not a process I could rush.   As I burned each new page I was feeling mentally lighter and the physical heat from the fire felt wonderful on that chilly spring night. The next day I turned the ashes into one of my garden beds where it will help build life again….thus completing the circle of energy.

Catabolic to AnabolicThis process is an example of some of the actions I’m taking to grow my awareness tree.  By burning these journals, and ceremoniously letting go of the past,  I feel I’ve taken an important step towards my mental wellbeing.

2 thoughts on “Burning the Past

  1. Wow! Oh man, I don’t think I could ever bring myself to burn my journals, they are so much a part of me ~ good, bad, happy or sad, I have poured my very heart and soul into them all these years. It would grieve me so to ever destroy them. But what a completely wonderful and meaningful thing you have done with yours! I totally get the whole concept, love it!

    1. It surprised me that I was ready, even compelled, to burn these journals. I think they were a useful tool at the time but I’ve grown and changed so much in how I approach and process life that I felt a fresh start was in order! Thanks for your comment and for supporting my blog.

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