Burn Baby Burn

Guest Post by Angel Sullivan for the Kind Kindred series.

print by StandsForStars on etsy

daily forays into the tangled undergrowth of my mind.
slogging through the muck
up again
over and over
finally (finally!) recognizing that it’s time to set divine fire to the whole damn thing and watch it
burn baby burn

Sometimes, there’s so much built-up yappity-yap from family, friends, society (etc…) that it’s really difficult to hear the one voice that matters most.

In that case, sometimes, the kindest thing to do is to burn it all down…

All the structures (self-imposed and otherwise), the expectations, the beliefs.

All of it.

‘Cause here’s the thing… we so often tell ourselves that our structures are protecting us, keeping us safe & making sure that we’re good & responsible contributing members of society. More often than not, though, they’re little more than shackles binding our true selves to our innermost recesses, never to see the light of day.

Having been told all of our lives to ‘get it together’, ‘be responsible’, ‘grow up’… we shut down the part of us that wanted nothing more than to reach for what felt most meaningful. Most true. Most real.

For me, that part has always been most interested in meaningful connection (with self, Self, each other, and mama earth).

Unfortunately, through high school and beyond, I learned from my experiences that other people didn’t feel the same. It seemed to me, for a long time, that no one else was interested in anything more meaningful than when the next game was on… or catching whatever was the most popular tv show at the moment.

I don’t believe that anymore, but I did believe it long enough that I ended up suffering through years of knowing wholeheartedly that I was utterly alone.

I’m betting you’ve had this alone feeling once or twice in your own experience, yeah? It can be terrifying.

I couldn’t just continue on that way, so I eventually threw myself into doing what everyone else was doing. I’d work my shifts at the bar, go out dancing (and drinking), watch tv, and basically do whatever it took to not have enough time to think about what was going on under the surface.

That eventually included having a kid, going back to school & continuing on with more meaningless work. Then getting more and more serious with career, getting married & having another kid, and then absolutely burying myself in career and family.

That part, though? It was still there the entire time. It was aching, and I was aching.

I’d find myself crying in my office at work, daily, just totally miserable and knowing that something had to change… but not knowing what or how.

Feeling utterly hopeless, and helpless. Empty. Worthless. I was making everyone around me pretty miserable too, as you can imagine.

It totally sucked.

There were so many people and events, like rows of dominoes falling, that led to the changes I’ve made in the last year… but it all started with noticing.

You can do that too.

I know… that part of you inside? It’s still there, and it’s still aching to reach for what is most meaningful to (and for!) you.

Do you ever feel it, hear its whispers?

Ever feel like there must be something more to life? Like the daily grind cannot be all that there is? Does your heart skip a beat when you hear a particular song, or see a particular piece of art, or consider a particular vacation?

Those are all whispers from that part of yourself.

For as much as you believed you’d shut it down, it’s still there. Still reaching for you.

All you need to do is to hold out your hand.

And you do that by noticing.

It’s so easy it feels silly, like it can’t possibly work, but it does.

Just start by noticing what you’re noticing.

That’s all.

When you find that one or two particular things keep jumping up and grabbing your attention, make note (mental or written) of what it is.

Start to consider what it means to you.

If you notice, like I have recently, that an animal keeps grabbing your consciousness… find out what that animals symbolism is. Dig in. Be curious.

But most importantly, be open.

It’s not always going to be something that we want to notice, or be aware of.

And that can be totally scary.

Be gentle with yourself, and stay open… and know that sometimes… the kindest thing to do is also the scariest.

(psst! You know that a controlled burn allows for new growth to have a chance to really take root, right? Yeah. Burn, baby burn…


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