On New Year’s Eve 2018, I took my letters written on wish paper, stepped outside our friend gathering place in Rockport, MA, and said goodbye to the overly negative feelings and resentment I’ve been carrying with me (in one case for 30 plus years). I ended up writing three letters. Three people from different phases of my life who I never confronted in person. I’m a bit disappointed in myself for that, but confrontation is not my thing, especially confrontation that leaves me vulnerable. The letters took on their own shape. I worked hard to focus the writing on 1) how the person made me feel, 2) why I thought they exhibited that behavior towards me or others, 3) why I didn’t like it and 4) a compliment and well wish for their happiness.
Going through this writing process helped much more than I thought it would. Sitting down and articulating my thoughts on paper, I was able to identify the specific things that were bothering me (when you have a nemesis, all things become bothersome about them). In doing this, it became very apparent that their behaviors just brought out the bottom of the barrel insecurities or emotions that I already had – they just pushed them to the surface exposing them – over and over. The letters became a personal list of my Golden Rules ( “Do to others what you want them to do to you.”). I would NOT create cliques, I would NOT demand of others and not contribute, I would NOT act better than everybody else, I would NOT take out my problems on others and I would NOT gain power but lose morals.
I did not want to go into a new (calendar) year with this old baggage. Lighting the wish paper letters on New Year’s was rather symbolic. I was with family and friends, on the ocean, a bit intoxicated (which I think helped me get over my fear of lighting open flames). I believe the timing of letting go has helped me re-center and focus my thoughts if they revert to old thoughts – the commitment to release the thoughts became a mini-resolution. I can picture myself in the cold and wind, trying to get the papers lit. Getting frustrated when the wind would pick up and blow out the flame. Then exhilarated when it lit, floating away over the sea, gone forever. Symbolic AF. And cheaper than therapy. I can also hear my husband trying to snap the photo saying “Why are you doing this again?” And that makes me laugh, in a good way.
To close, an unsolicited endorsement of Flying Wish Paper. After buying for myself, I have bought for many others as gifts (baby showers, milestone birthdays) and always get the same reaction: “How cool!”. With lots of different designs, you can customize a gift add-on for the occasion.
Main Photo: Rockport, MA @ Eden Pines Inn. The view from their back deck is incredible. You can see the Twin Lights on Thatcher Island shining in the distance, the ocean between.