Burning The Bad To Welcome The Better

Burning The Bad To Welcome The Better

We are now in the final days of 2019. Many of us are looking forward to the clean slate of a new year. 2019 was a decent year for me, there were ups and downs like any other year but ultimately I feel as though I grew a bit this year.

This particular new year will be bringing me face to face with major life decisions I’ve been intentionally saving off for 2020, and so for that reason, I am both excited and nervous to be entering the new year. However, before I really start focusing on my goals for 2020 and the steps necessary to achieve them, I am also taking the time to think about what I want to leave behind in 2019.

A few things come to mind… But is it enough to just say “I don’t want to be/do/etc _____ in 2020”?

Something I worked on in 2019 is paying attention to patterns and also symbolism in my life. If I keep seeing something show up around me be it a word, number, a phrase, etc there must be a  meaning for it. A sign from the universe or what have you.

Well, in the past month I have seen this same suggestion no less than 3 times show up while online, or on tv. The suggestion is writing down a list of things that no longer serve me in life, whether they are actions, relationships, habits, etc, state that they no longer have a place in my life and I that I  want to let them go … and literally … light the list on fire.

(sorry I couldn’t help myself)

Funny gif aside, this is a pretty intense and somewhat random suggestion to be seeing sporadically throughout the past month! And while it’s true that December does bring about many articles, videos and other media about the whole new year new me stuff – I had never seen this particular suggestion prior to this year.

Being the signs-believing person I am, It feels like there must be a reason it keeps showing up. I think that the purpose behind the whole “burning ritual” or whatever you choose to call it, is pretty powerful – it is a commitment to letting go of what you know is not serving you.


When I started Future Self Journaling a few months ago, I found that being so intentional about my goal and writing about it daily helped stop me when I was slipping up. In the middle of doing something that contradicted my goal, I would remember, wait this is something you’re working on so stop whatever it is you’re doing that’s bringing you away from your goal.

I feel like with an end of the year “burning ritual” the effect would be similar. It’s one thing to say “I don’t want to be like this anymore” or “I don’t want to dwell on this anymore”. But just saying a statement once is not enough to keep you from going back to what you were doing.  Now I’m not saying I’m going to burn a list every day obviously, but the act of burning the list of what I don’t want in my life anymore is pretty memorable – hopefully enough to come back into mind should I struggle with something on the list in the new year.

I’ve decided I’m going to do it.  I don’t like admitting it but I’ve never felt so much anxiety going into a new year before this one, and I think I need to commit to releasing that self-created fear and pressure and allow life to flow the way that it is meant to without feeling the need to control everything that I simply cannot. Letting go of this kind of anxiety is really difficult and I don’t expect the burning ritual to solve everything, but maybe setting such a clear intention right before entering 2020,  is a good place to start.

I know I’m being very vague about what it even is that is making me so anxious about 2020 and that’s because it’s a very complicated subject that I’m not ready to be public about yet. In 2019, I did work on my goal of contentedness and learning to sort of go with the flow of my life a bit more. Some months were easier than others but towards the end of 2019 I got hit with a wave of, well, I guess sadness mixed with intense anxiety. Expectations unmet, struggling with the lack of community/”the village” in my life and heightened anxiety about this thing I can’t talk about here yet.

Still, I keep seeing this suggestion about writing the list of the things I want to let go of and burning it. So as long as I’m careful, what is the harm in trying?


If you’re interested in doing a burning ritual as well, here is a link about how to do it properly:

How To Do A Burning Ritual
(she mentions that you can use “flash” paper but keep in mind this isn’t necessary. Regular notebook paper is fine)

Next time I post here it will be 2020 so this is my last post of 2019!

I hope that you have a safe and happy new year and new year’s celebration.


Sending love and light,



One thought on “Burning The Bad To Welcome The Better

  1. Hi Kat, Thanks for linking to my burning bowl ritual. I really appreciate it. That said, the reason I suggest flash paper is because notepaper takes longer to burn and sometimes there are remains of the paper. Little corners that don’t burn all the way. And since this is a release ceremony, the intent is to have the issue/struggle gone., to release it quickly and easily. I don’t want to have to see the bits of leftover charred corners with a few letters of my issue remaining. 🙂 It’s a whole-hearted release. But you are right, you can use notebook paper, but I like the symbology of a quick and complete release! Thanks again for the link!

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