Releasing Fire

A staff blog from Matthew Johnson


At The Neighboring Movement, one of our guiding markers is joy. Joy is bigger than happiness. Not that happiness is bad, it just is more fleeting, whereas joy is more sustained. Joy is also big enough to contain both happiness and sorrow, gratitude and grief. In fact, grief is an important aspect of joy because when we grieve we are given permission to name our sorrows.

Recently I was introduced to the idea of a Releasing Fire, because of the book “The Garden Awakening” by Mary Reynolds (brilliant work BTW). The idea is to write down something you are carrying that no longer serves you, or something you want to grieve. Then place it into a fire, such as a backyard fire pit. We joined with a few other folks last week and did just that. We kept the practice really simple and informal. It did not seem particularly powerful or magical in the moment for me, personally. However, as I went to bed that night, I was surprised by a deep sense of peace and…joy.

The lesson for me is that in the midst of all our talk of joy, there must be intentional space to name our grief and loss, which nurtures wholeness.

Above is a quick pic of our releasing fire!

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