Monday, 7 October 2019

Lessons from burning my school assignments

Open University maths assignment marked 10 out of 10I burnt a whole load of my assignments from school and university last week, as part of my minimalist month.

As a kid, I loved getting recognition for how well I was doing at school. That need for external validation followed me into my adulthood. When pregnant with DS I did an A'level in Psychology just to prove I could get an A (I got a B!!) From 2001 (the year DS was born) through to 2014 I studied on and off with the Open University in the attempt to get as First Class degree. I didn't need another degree - I already had 2!! I needed to prove that I could - or at least I thought I did.

English GCSE Open Study marked 44 out of 50It wasn't until I had finished my 5 years of shamanic training culminating in passing my shamanic practitioner training that I finally gave up on that degree and instead settled for a First Class Diploma in business, computing, and design. At that time it was a decision I took almost without thinking about it. 

I feel that the decision was easy because of the personal development work I had done through my shamanic training as well as the many soul retrievals and healings I received. With the help of those soul parts and getting to know my spirit guides, I was slowly beginning to find my validation internally rather than externally. 

Six assignments lined up along a wooden benchFast forward to now and it is a minimalist month and yesterday I needed to get rid of 6 things!! Having done these decluttering months quite a few times since starting in 2016 that means it is getting harder to find things to get dispose of. I am, however, enjoying the challenge and finding that I let go of more stuff, it is mentally, emotionally and spiritually challenging me, especially if I give myself time to stop and really explore my feelings. So in my decluttering/sorting session for day 6, I came across some assignments from middle school, upper school and even from when I was doing my Maths Certificate with the Open University. 

There are valid reasons why I had all those assignments and in some ways, they bring me joy but I don't want the clutter. To be fair they don't take up that much space but if I said that about everything I own then it all adds up to a lot more than you think. So I decided to copy them onto my computer and let go of the originals.

A fire burning in a metal fire bowlAs part of the process, I felt called to make a ceremony of what letting go of those assignments means to me: a celebration for internal versus external validation. So I burnt them at my woodland and conducted a personal shamanic ceremony around letting go of the need for external validation and wholly embracing my self-worth. This cleansing fire brought up stuff about my undiagnosed dyslexia throughout my school career, my comparison to my others academically and many more interesting thoughts and feelings. I loved letting go of all of those thoughts that do not serve me anymore and making room for those thoughts and feelings around validation, self-worth, etc. that help and empower me.  

Ashes scattered on the groundI am in the process of sorting out ways of getting actual worthwhile feedback (not validation) from my shamanic and essential oil clients. Don't get me wrong, I am more than happy to receive feedback that can help me improve my services. I, however, want to move further towards a place where any external recognition I get for my skills, services, etc. will be received with gratitude from a place of power rather than need. 

This has made me realise that decluttering my physical space allows me to let go of more than just the physical stuff if I give myself the time to do so. This whole 'day 6' process allowed me to also declutter my mind and make room for my soul to feel more peaceful.