Washed Away

loy krathong

 

Looking back on the previous year and the great strides my sister and I took in healing from our past abuse, I know that we still have a long way to go. I still harbor so much hatred toward my ex and even more hatred toward hers. There have been times when I admitted I wouldn’t mind if either of them were dead. But these are toxic thoughts that only prove the type of hold these men still have over my happiness and well-being. Instead of fantasizing about all the times I should have left my ex, I should focus on my now loving husband and on living a happy and fulfilling life with those who truly care for me. I should look ahead to the future, instead of dwelling on the past.

There is a beautiful festival in Thailand called Loy Krathong. “Loy” meaning to float and “Krathong” meaning a leaf cup or bowl. Hundreds gather with their small decorated “boats,” they light a candle and incense and send them to drift down a body of water to symbolize letting go of the past to welcome the future. Some will place a personal object onto the krathong, in the act of getting rid of the negative side of oneself, to wash away one’s sins.

This is such an inspiring tradition. Too often has the past dictated my future. I knew there was a reason to my continual destructive relationships. I knew there was something about my past that molded my future. Counseling helped me to let go of those past influences and to see the driving force behind my subconscious desire to be manipulated and controlled. I let go of some of that influence and moved on with my life. And in doing so, I was able to meet my wonderful husband, I quit my miserable job and moved on to a better company with better pay and better support. My life has only moved up since those counseling sessions, since I began letting go of the negative parts of my past.

Since I am human, however, there are times I remember my abuser’s disparaging words. I remember his criticisms. I remember the times I felt my lowest and believed he was right about my worthlessness. I still question if he was right. I still question why anyone would love or respect me. Everyday is a struggle. Memories creep back up and I am constantly battling these moments of self-deprecation. In my head, I know he was wrong. But I hate myself for ever letting him control me and for letting him continue to control my thoughts.

I am going to adopt this tradition for the new year. Instead of not only promising myself to uphold several New Year’s resolutions, I will symbolically celebrate a cleansing of my past.

Too often has the past dictated my future.

There is so much negativity inside me, spreading like a cancer. If I hold onto it, then I am continuing the abuse that I thought I escaped. It will break down every part of me that makes me who I am. It will attack every cell in my body until my body turns against itself.

I’m not going to forgive my ex. I’m not going to forgive my sister’s ex. I’m not going to forgive all of the abusers in the world. They do not deserve forgiveness. But I will forgive myself. And I will stop the echo of abuse in my life. His words have no more hold over me. I will let the memory of all of his wrongdoing float down the river to be washed away. I will see myself for the beautiful and inspiring human being I can be. He has no more power. He has no more control. His influence will dissipate with the flame and the incense. I will see my krathong drift into the horizon, taking with it all the hate and malevolence of his memory.

 

~Lindsey V.

6 thoughts on “Washed Away

  1. BURNToast has been one of my favourite blogs these past few months. I have greatly enjoyed your deep sharing Lindsey and inspiration that you and your sister Christa offer your readers. I believe that no one tells it more excellently (or effectively) than those who, in reality, have suffered themselves. As each of you writes so well, I wonder if you have considered, at some point, turning your articles into a book for women and men who have suffered abuse at some point in their life? You see the subjects you cover are usually not covered in literature, they’re the conversations that are never truly discussed for fear of leaving a person feeling too vulnerable, and feeling unsafe. This, your willingness to be open, honest is why I am deeply impressed by your beautiful, healing work.

    Hate is a dilemma; when we feel it towards another it not only psychologically puts us in a tight spot, it binds us even closer to that person, more so than love I’m afraid. So what do we do with all that excess rage and bitterness while we are still coming to terms with past abusive events? For even after our minds have caught up, our hearts still seem to want to sing their sad, wretched songs. In physical terms the heart and head maybe only inches apart yet emotionally they can be many years, even decades apart. The head knows to move forward, yet the heart continues to grieve.

    After common sense has kicked in, logic I guess, and we fully accept that those past abusive relationships had to end, sometimes we can still remain trapped in all that destructive thinking and inability to let go. In those difficult situations what I find personally to be highly effective, to help bridge the distance between head and heart is the use of ceremony and ritual. There are numerous ways of creating a ritual, I love the Loy Krathong festival, perfect. Lit a candle, make that paper boat, sail it daily. One I have used was to write and burn a name daily until my feelings transformed, and I knew I had forgiven myself. This is true liberation, this is how the heart catches up. Be gentle with yourself. Wishing you both a very Happy New Year, Deborah.

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    1. I am so glad I stumbled across your blog, Deborah. Your poetry is beautiful and inspiring. I believe we are “kindred” spirits. And your comments speak so deeply to my heart. You are truly a beautiful person with such a sweet soul.

      We actually have entertained the idea of writing a book together. I was thinking it could be an extension of what we cover on our blog. Thank you for the suggestion it is encouraging. I have tried to write a book since I was twelve, but never had the discipline to finish. Perhaps I just needed a better reason than my own enjoyment. Perhaps this will be the time I can finish one.

      And I couldn’t agree more about the head and heart being so distant in time. I am interested to try your name burning ritual, as well. Perhaps the next time my thoughts turn to the negative or the depressed, I will try that ritual for myself. 🙂 Thank you again for your support. Happy New Year–Lindsey V.

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      1. Thank you so much for your wonderful reply Lindsey, that’s so very kind of you! Yes, I also believe we are ‘kindred spirits’ … for you are positively one of a small group, of wonderful like-minded souls that I have met here in the blogosphere. There’s another way I practice ‘letting go’ that I would like to share this with you …. I leave my ‘fears’ ‘grief’ ‘love’ ‘hate’ any or all emotions in places.

        Let me explain, last summer whilst mountain climbing, at the summit me and my partner wrote out our fears onto small pages (torn out of my notepad) and then rolled them up and pushed them into the stone wall of the shelter at the top of the mountain …. So now when either of us get afraid, we can remember where we left our fears … ah! I say to myself I left them at the top of Hellevyn, Cumbria. Similarly, I wrote out my love for her and rolled that up and pushed that into a huge standing stone at Avebury, Wiltshire in a place where we visit annually so as to remind us that we have left our love in the heart of the stone.

        You can get very creative with this ‘leaving’ your emotions. I push names into the dirt to bury them, or burn daily until the feeling transforms and my heart is washed clean. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, it’s the ritual and ceremony that speaks directly to the Soul and the Soul listens attentively as the healing begins. Warm winter wishes, Deborah.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What a beautiful ritual of letting go! Thank you for sharing. It kind of reminds me of the “wailing wall” in old Jerusalem. I will try some of these. Thank you again for your reply and continual support. Best of wishes!–Lindsey V.

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  2. Laura Strand

    Beautifully written. I find that it takes reminders of the goodness all around, and little moments through out the year to continue purging negativity. I love the symbolic act Loy Krathong gives us, reminding us to keep letting go of the pain and looking at the joy all around us.

    Love, Laura

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The first time you wrote about this festival on your journey to adopt, I was so impressed by the beautiful notion of setting negativity adrift down a river or pond. There is so much we can learn from other cultures. Thanks for reading! Love–Lindsey V.

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