Saturday, November 03, 2007

Letting go...

"I saw the angel in the marble,
and carved until
I set him free."

I received this photo as a gift from my very beautiful friend, Maddie, with a quote and a few loving words about how this Be Brave project has helped to set her free. I gazed at the image in silence for a long, long time...and its beauty, its optimism, its sense of freedom, its boundlessness brought tears to my eyes. I imagined the bird, the moment it found release from its cage and the thought takes my breath away. What that moment must have felt like! Her photo speaks to me on such a deep level. She has captured a moment that is so raw and beautiful and innately powerful!

These days, I feel exceedingly tender and capable all at the same time. It is a strange combination and leaves me feeling very thin-skinned and emotional. I also feel very receptive. This is hard to explain, but I feel as though the universe has brought me to a very unusual space of receiving. It makes me feel a little bit topsy-turvy. It also makes my heart feel incredibly full.

On Halloween night, after V. went to bed and the world was quiet, I acted on Jamie's suggestion and did a "letting go" ritual. I took out a stack of index cards and a black permanent marker and, on each card, I wrote something that I needed to let go of. Through Jamie's tarot reading, I have come to realize just how much emotional weight I have been carrying around with me these past couple of years and how important it was that I let it go in order to move on. I wrote down the biggest things first and with those thoughts came tears from somewhere very deep down. But then I kept writing...and writing...and writing. I wrote down every single thing that I needed to let go of. One thought sparked the next, sparked the next, sparked the next. And before I knew it I had filled up an awful lot of little index cards.

Still, there were four things that caused the most pain. They felt like an illness that is hard to get rid of...and so, for those, I took out 4 bigger index cards and I wrote them down again, this time in big, fat letters--one word, no explanation.

Then I went outside with a lighter, set up the little weber grill, and started lighting them on fire. One card at a time. I read the index card out loud and then turned it to flame. And as it burned, I told myself: "It's time to let it go." As the flame crept its way across the paper, I felt each and every thing that had been weighing me down grow wings and release itself from my heart. One thing after another after another after another. I got to the end of the stack and was left with the last four large cards. The grand finale of release! Oddly enough, the most emotionally difficult card was also the slowest to take the flame. I had to relight it several times. But finally...oh, FIRE! It is such a beautiful thing!

I'll admit, I half expected to be sitting in a dark back yard in the middle of the night sobbing like an idiot...but as I burned those cards I felt only a sense of lightness. I felt myself breathing more deeply. I felt forgiveness--for both myself and for those who had been a part of my pain. I felt the strangest and most liberating feeling: release. In simplest terms, I felt good, happy, uncluttered!

That night, I again dreamed of the snake.

The next day I found myself involved in several wonderful moments of connecting with strangers. One of these people was an old woman who had ridden a bus all night from Chicago. I met her walking down a sidewalk. I said good morning and the next thing I knew we were talking about coffee and sleep habits and bus schedules and laughed good belly laughs. She seemed lonely at first and so I was just trying to be nice, but before we parted ways, she thanked me for the good conversation--her gratitude was so sincere that, in the end, I was the one that was thankful! The whole day went like this. Throughout the afternoon I met several artists who, for unknown reasons, totally opened up to me and showed me their art. It was fabulous and I felt so energized by our conversations! Later in the day, a customer overheard me talking about the web design projects I've been working on and asked if I would be able create a site for him!

Last night I dreamed that my friend and I saw Diego Rivera in the grocery store. Diego was leaning on his shopping cart, puttering around and turning down an aisle when my friend yelled: "Hey Diego! What day is it?" Diego took a few moments to get his bearings and yelled back: "!" It was a wonderful everyday sort of moment that oddly fueled my inspiration to get back to my studio (where ever that was) to get some work done. My dreams continued on in several other directions. In some I was really scared. In others I was completely in love. I woke up feeling incredibly entertained.

~ ~ ~
I feel like I'm in a dream and that, every day, I just keep remembering the details.
~ ~ ~

Want to see more of Maddie's beautiful photography? Visit her Etsy here: "courage my love"


Kate said...

What a beautiful post. The photography is so beautiful. Maddie is very talented. That Michelangelo quote is a favorite of mine. Thanks for sharing the letting go ritual. I have done that before and it was a reminder that it might be time again.

Blessing to you this Sunday,


martha said...

dear jessie you are awesome

Anonymous said...

I love this ritual of letting go...what a perfect idea for this perfect time a year.
I've done similar ceremonies on my birthday, etc.
I love coming here and reading about your growth in your life.

Kikipotamus said...

Oh, my. You are going through such a complete transformation. The snake shedding old skin. You are giving birth to yourself. What a sacred labour.

Leah said...

thank you so much for sharing this piece of your journey. so beautiful.

i think that's my favorite of maddie's photos and so appropriate! xox

Sacred Suzie said...

There are few things more powerful than ritual by fire, it is true cleansing and permanent transformation magic. I think this was the perfect thing to do on such a special night. I have done a similar ritual and was amazed that by the time a year had passed, most of those negative qualities in me and my life were gone. I know the same thing will happen for you. Blessings to you!

Maddie said...

Oh Jessie ~ I am so
inspired yet again
reading this ~ I am going to
make up my own cards and
burn them tongight:)

and Jessie ~ this is very weird ~
I had a scary dream of a snake
last night ~ so now I want to
know what they symbolize...

off to check ~

and Jessie ~ thank you so much
for posting the photo ~
It is my first photo I shot as
a gift:)
it really reminds me of your
Be Brave
project and the effect
and wings it gives everyone:)

Olivia said...

What a beautiful and poignant ritual to end this process. And Maddie's picture. So apropos, Jessie. Thank you, thank you, with love, Olivia

Sharon said...

Hi Jessie, I've been 'lurking' for a while, absolutely amazed at your plans and carrying them out. Love the fire ritual! I need to do that, also!
The picture brought tears to my eyes, as did the quote.
Thank you for sharing your journey. You are helping many...including this 65 year old!!!

Ayre said...

Many, many times I have used this letting go ritual, it so helps everytime.

deirdre said...

I've done a few rituals similar to yours. In the end I felt lighter and a little tiny bit less tied to the past. The word I use is "release". A shredder works too, if fire isn't a possibility.

Amber said...

What a beautiful BRAVE thing to do. I can learn from you...Oh! How I wish we could have coffee. ;)
So happy I know you.


laundrygirl said...

I love all that you have said here. The image is incredible! In the retreat I am planning, we will do a confessional activity that will involve letting go. This activity will be similar to what you have done with burning those sheets of paper and actually "letting go".

Vedrana M. said...

i love this quote! :)

viagra online said...

I think it was very sweet from your friend to send this postcard with a nice message. It shows your friend appreciates you way too much!