I try to end each year on a positive note. While I'm decking the halls and fa-la-la-la-ing, I try to slow down enough to take a glance back at the year. Often I reflect on the year while writing a holiday letter. Oh wait, I haven't written one of those in years. Now I have Facebook. And this blog. Who needs to write a Christmas letter? But I digress.
As I've mentioned before, The Ex and I have been apart for five years now. He moved on right away, and had a live-in girlfriend within 8 months of moving out of our family home. I was not so unrooted. I did what I had always done before; I wallowed; I felt sorry for myself; I cried; I belly-ached to anyone who would listen. Meanwhile, The Ex seemed completely unaffected. I, on the other hand, needed some time. In the past year or so, I felt like I had let go of all of that baggage and was moving forward with my life. Two years ago I joined a church. I took a couple of spiritual growth classes. I met new people. I stopped engaging The Ex in arguments and heated discussions. I focused on the good things in my life. Though I have had setbacks - old habits are hard to break after all - I felt like I really made some good progress towards peace and contentment.
As I've also mentioned before, though The Ex and I have done a pretty good job of getting along when it comes to co-parenting our children, something changed last spring. I won't re-hash the story (check out "Is it Just Me or Is An Apology In Order?"), but suffice it to say I shut down. I went from having love for this man who gave me these beautiful children even though I don't like him, to REALLY disliking him. A lot. Despite my hard work at letting things go, the feeling of dislike really stuck with me.
So, in an effort to end my year on a positive note, I went to church on New Year's Eve and participated in the Burning Bowl ceremony. I wrote down everything I felt about The Ex and the situation, and I told him off like I would if that were an appropriate thing for me to do, and then I dropped it in the burning bowl, watched it go from paper to ash, and then scooped the ashes away and into a disposal bin. I "washed my hands" of the whole thing right before midnight.
Now the fun part begins. Did I actually release all that crap? Have I moved forward? Did I let it go? Is it a happy new year? Time will tell, and then I'll tell you.