Sometimes we just need a ceremony because further communication with our ex-partner is lame and not good for anyone. I spoke to a really cool young woman just last night that is in the middle of going through the first big break up of her life. She was worried that she was still depressed even though it has been months since the split. She was also in the middle of writing him a letter about how grateful she was for the relationship, which I thought was a crappy idea. I had to ask her: What is the letter really for?
This woman ended the relationship because her ex was verbally abusive and scared her. After one of his big blowups, which involved hours of screaming at her, she decided it was best to end the relationship. What was obvious to me when we talked is that she is bound to the belief that she ended the relationship because the words “Let’s break up” came from her mouth, not his. But really, who ended it? Isn’t it truer that the abusive actions of her partner ended their connection? And why does she live with guilt because she took care of herself?
Taking action to relieve the guilt will really help her let go of the guilt and allow both partners in the relationship to move forward.
Now, about the letter and the motive for writing it: If we feel guilty, it is natural that we seek approval from the person we feel we have harmed. To do that, we may write a letter or look for other signs of approval. In her case, it turns out she is looking for forgiveness and his approval in taking care of herself. In reality, however, if she sends the letter it is basically an open invitation to let the crazy back in. What do we do with this ultimately unhealthy need to write the letter and still continue to live in our integrity?
This is where ritual is really useful. Most specifically, I recommended a fire ritual in this case. I suggested she write the letter to get the words out of her brain, and then burn the letter in a ceremony to let go of the guilt and to let go of the unhealthy relationship.
The aftereffects of the ritual can be subtle or dramatic, but either way it is likely to lift you out of whatever you were stuck in. Be willing to take action when you are in the shitter of any kind, and it will have a dramatic impact on your overall well-being.
Find the directions for fire rituals on our ceremonies page.