Today, I am burning things.

It is not particularly cold out, but I am burning things anyway.

Marie Kondo style, I am “ninjaing” through the paperwork in my house that neither brings me joy nor is needed any longer, a process I began to outline in Letting Go of What No Longer Serves Us. As I do so, I am literally amazed by how much energy is held in such a simple item. Papers.

But these are not just any papers. They are papers representing a long, difficult, bitter divorce: depositions, court statements, psychological evaluations. They are papers exhibiting years of stressful, difficult, full-custody single parenting, including tax documents, medical statements from years of treatments for my youngest son, severely disabled; statements from years of psychological work as we all healed.

All these papers say in particular is, “I am overwhelmed. I want my children to have the best possible life. I don’t think I’m doing a good enough job. No matter what.”

And today, other than those required to be retained by law, the rest are off to the recycle bin or going up in flames.

And there are seemingly benign papers, as well: service manuals for equipment I no longer, and never did, need to figure out how to work; children’s school work from years long past; boxes and wrapping paper that somehow enhance my feeling of not having done a good enough mommy/daddy job for my children; papers from earning degrees and writing papers for classes and for scholarly journals years and years ago.

I am not done yet, but so far, I have gotten rid of maybe three reams of papers.

I might as well have been buried alive under them.

I was buried alive under them, for everything in our homes, I feel, has an energetic impact on us. And whether or not that’s true for all of us, it is certainly true for me.

And as I burn them, I can feel the reasons that they were kept: in case a bad thing happens, in case something doesn’t work . . . all fear-based reasons.

I understand this, and feel compassion for myself around it, because I spent years in a marriage in which I felt not much other than fear. I began to feel and think that fear was a completely normal state, that it was my baseline.

But no more.

I don’t need to prove anything. To anyone. I don’t need to save things “just in case.” All I need and want to do is step into right now, drop the guilt, the shame, the remorse. And just live.

No one really cares how I do it.

But I do.