Every six months, I scribble secret things on paper and burn them in my backyard. I started this tradition during a June heat wave a few years ago. A friend of mine suggested we write down our goals and then toss them into the BBQ to “send them out into the universe”.
I intially rolled my eyes at this suggestion. Part of me secretly scoffs at all the woo-woo crystals and chakras and “the universe has got your back” stuff… BUT I also have more self-development (ahem… self-help) books than anyone I know, keep a gratitude journal and have daily affirmation cards on my bedside table so why not? I went ahead and tossed my rolled up paper onto the charcoal briquets and watched my intentions flitter up into the dusky summer sky.
It felt good to ask for help – even if I didn’t fully know who I was asking.
A few weeks ago, that same friend and I were in my backyard. She was visiting from LA and I was tired and a bit off after having a weird week at work. I hoped she’d want to skip our summer solstice intention burning – but she wasn’t going to let me wiggle out of it. This particular friend is the type we all need — a truth teller who will point out what you need to hear even if you want to hold your hands to your ears and chant “la la la”.
“But I just did this six months ago!” I protested, remembering my mostly unfulfilled New Year’s Resolutions from January. I’d been banking on having a full year before I had to assess my shortcomings and climb my way out of Loserville (a fictional town with a population of one where I’m usually screwing everything up).
But I did it anyway, and willed myself to put my goals to paper. Something about the act of writing something down, especially in the presence of another person, gives whatever you write more substance. It’s almost as if we’re asking the world to share in our quest for understanding, serenity or progress.
But, it also felt a tiny bit greedy. I thought of all the awesomeness that was already in my life without ANY of those wishes coming true. I hate to get all #blessed here, but I had (and have) a lot to be grateful for.
So I also wrote down some of the things I was thankful for — like having a partner to walk through life with and being able to pay my bills doing something that helps other creatives.
While there’s nothing wrong with plotting big goals – like designing a new line that really sells or eating better or exercising more – looking around to see what you’ve already got is important too. Adding in a little “thank you” reminds you that you’re NOT a permanent resident Loserville – population of one.
And as my dad says, “Even on the worst of days, it’s impossible to not find at least one thing to be grateful for.”
So, if you missed summer solstice last month and feel like you could use a boost in the growth & gratitude department, grab a pen and get writing.
And as for me, I’m still gonna push myself to send little smoke signals into the sky every June and December. Couldn’t hurt, right?