Let the Burdens Burn

Whitney Hutson

A lot of things can happen in our lives before we stop to look back to see how they’ve followed us.

A lot of things can happen in our lives before we stop to look back to see how they’ve followed us. Things that may seem minuscule at times or things that we know are major. In today’s “go go go” society it’s become the norm to push past the pain until we hit a wall and realize that it’s not always about pushing past it but rather embracing it. Accepting it for what it is. Taking responsibility for our part in it. And then letting it go. The way we move through those moments shapes us like water shapes rocks in the bed of a creek. And quite often, the pain we hold onto creates more resistance than it allows for power.


Recently I realized I was holding onto feelings that weren’t empowering me but rather holding me back. See, I’ve always come from the mindset of “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and while that may be true in some senses, the resentment and anger I had been holding on to was absolutely preventing me from growing; And what is the opposite of growth? Death.

Not 24 hours prior to writing my “burn letter” I was sitting in a booth at a local restaurant talking with my boyfriend about how, as he saw it, I hadn’t moved on from components and habits I had developed during my marriage to my ex-husband. He was right, and it was hard to listen to because here I was thinking I was doing well (but he can see right through me like a glass door). He told me I needed to find a way to move on- accept what is, take responsibility for my part, and let it go; otherwise, true happiness would not be in my, let alone our, future.


So imagine my surprise when the next morning I see where someone else is dealing with feelings and thoughts that hold them back.  Watching that paper burn was almost like watching someone else’s burdens disappear before my eyes and I knew at that moment how I was going to move forward.


Writing the “burn letter” was a lot easier than I had expected…. and a lot longer. Until I put pen to paper with a completely open mind I didn’t realize how many emotions and thoughts I harbored toward multiple components in my life. Not just from past relationships with others but with myself, with self-doubt and mistakes and regrets and burdens and insecurities. Things I have prayed about. Things I have repressed. Things I had put away and told my younger self I would address at a later date. They all came out. And so did tears. And disgust. And regret. And they all went on that paper.


And in true to me fashion, when I was done I folded the paper up neatly. And then I held it in my hands and meditated over it. When I was done meditating over it, I prayed over it. Then I tucked it away for the night and in the morning I felt lighter.
The next day I set fire to those emotions and packaged ideas. Watching them disappear before my eyes brought feelings mixed between relief and invigoration. As the flame engulfed the paper and it melted back and forth in itself it was almost as if I could see the words leave the page and float up into the air to disperse like the embers that had set them free. I’ve given those things, emotions and all, over to my higher powers. Now I feel I can focus on the journey in front of me, on contributing to the growth of myself and a community, to love and grow in and with the people around me who mean the most.

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