The Fireplace: a theraputic tool

Posted: December 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

A little while ago I wrote about a friend who divides all the jobs in her home into pink or blue. In my house there is a fireplace which was definitely a blue job. Since blue no longer lives here, all jobs are pink and I have decided to try and master as many of those jobs as possible myself.

This is not an easy task – especially this one. I have a fear of fire. It is not unfounded. When I was 3 my big brother tried to light a bug on fire with a lighter while my parents were sleeping. The bug was on top of a doily, on top our our TV, close to the curtains, which all caught fire while I was watching my cartoons on said TV. Then when I was 12, we lived in a different house that was heated by a wood stove in our basement. My dad had a long stick he would use to prop open the door of the stove so air would get in and he would close it once the fire got going enough. Love my dad, but one day he forgot to close it and left the house with me alone and it nearly burned our house down. This time I was playing Barbies, not watching cartoons (yes I played Barbies till a late age, don’t be a hater).

I had decided that since I mastered the BBQ (haha mastered who am I kidding?) I was going to learn how to have a fire in the fireplace this fall. We have now hit a cold snap and friends were coming over last night, so it was the perfect setting for a fire. I knew I had to open the damper but it did take me a while to figure out how to get it to stay open – BUT I eventually did while getting quite black. I lit a pre-formed log (come on baby steps right?) and we had a lovely fire.

This afternoon I decided to clean my room and I came across a pile of papers that were needing to be sorted and stored away. I decided to make three piles: put on storage, garbage (mostly plastic stuff) and BURN PILE!

Some of the papers made me very happy to read – letters from old friends who believed in me and loved me (most still do).  The burn pile was things I didn’t need or things that were painful. I know the importance of keeping some mementos of my marriage for my children. I am a child of divorce myself and I do cherish these items I saved from my parents but who really needs 8 duplicate copies of a photo from when we were dating?

I don’t think burning bridges is good and I don’t think disrespecting the past or ignoring it is healthy either, but there is something rather freeing about letting it go and not holding so tight- especially to the painful parts. So I went back to the fireplace and lit it all up. It was warm and therapeutic. Then I started burning the recycling because I felt like I was starting a rebellion against the fear the resides in me. It felt GREAT!

For future reference though, I will remember to always open the damper, even if I start with a small pile because apparently I can get carried away (who knew). On a positive note I know my smoke detector works well 🙂




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