“Our journey is not about changing into the person we want to become. It’s about letting go of all we are not.” ~Nikki van Schyndel, Becoming Wild
I recently went on personal retreat to once again try to heal my wounds, see my patterns, and find my purpose. I loaded my car with journals from the last two decades and a book of poetry dating back to 1980. I packed my cooler full of nourishing food, but then added a six pack of beer and an expensive bottle of wine—completely unaware that I was about to sabotage my personal growth by continuing to numb my pain.
I had decided to use my retreat time to review my journal writings, pull out any wisdom I wanted to keep, and release the rest in a burning ceremony. On my first day, I labeled each journal with the year it was written and organized them all chronologically. This task felt arduous yet satisfying when I sat back and looked at the twenty-five volumes all laid out neatly in order.
I spent the next three days re-reading each and every one. Re-living the emotional angst of problems in this relationship, then the next … and the next. Teasing out the patterns of insecurity, sabotage, and grieving. Re-visiting the same themes and my same desire and commitment, after the ending of each relationship, to be this person who stopped drinking in excess, meditated daily, ate healthy foods, and took good care of her body.
Over and over, I had glimpses of this centered, calm, wise woman who I’d like to think is the real me. Yet over and over, I’d jumped into another relationship, lost myself, and repeated the pattern. Pages and pages full of the same story, only with different characters and at different times. As I read each journal, I tore out pages to burn, cut out sections to
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