Gelf-Care 30-Day Challenge Day 20: Crash and Burn

Last night I went to my friend Mark’s 40th surprise birthday party. I figured I would catch up with some of my friends from the storytelling community, but I didn’t imagine that I would get a great self-care exercise from them.

I learned that last night there was a Super Blood Wolf Moon happening. I’ll do my best to explain it, but science was my worst subject in school. So bad that my sister used to sing, to the tune of Thomas Dolby’s “She Blinded Me with Science,” “She got a C in science. She got a C in science.”

To borrow from Duran Duran, “New Super Blood Wolf Moon on Sunday”

To borrow from Duran Duran, “New Super Blood Wolf Moon on Sunday”

A Super Blood Wolf Moon is a total lunar eclipse that occurs when the Earth passes directly between the sun and the moon, blocking most of the light. A few reddish-orange small slivers sneak around the Earth’s surface and project against the moon to give it the appearance of being that color.


My friend, Asher, told me that he was going to watch it at 10:30 p.m. in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. He’d write down the things he wants to let go of that are holding him back on a piece of paper and burn it.

I love this shit.

I was tempted to go, but decided to pass for two reasons.

  1. We weren’t going to be done until midnight, which meant I wouldn’t get home until 1:30 a.m. waaaaay past my bedtime.

  2. It was 16˚ out and I foolishly had a velvety short-sleeved shirt on. As someone who’s cold all the time, you’d think I’d know better. I do, but a lot of my stuff is in the laundry and a lot doesn’t fit. (Another story for another time.)

My friend, Jiji, suggested I do the ritual at home and luckily, since she’s just as paranoid about fire as I am, she had some great tips for me.

  1. Fold up the paper with the things you want to let go of really small

  2. Burn it in the sink

  3. Have the faucet running

  4. Have a bowl of water close by to douse it, if need be

  5. Worst-case scenario - don’t burn the whole thing, just soak it in water.

Excellent. All of these ideas seemed completely attainable.

I got home, printed out all the things I want to let go of that are holding me back and was thrilled they only took up half the page. Less to burn! Sweet!

I cleared out everything around my sink that was flammable, put a pot of water right on the stove next to me, grabbed a deep candle holder for the paper to sit in, put on the faucet and lit the match. Then, I ran it under the faucet to make extra sure it was out and tossed it in the garbage.

I am psyched to let these things go from my life and move on!

I grabbed the folded up piece of paper and… the flame went out.

No sweat. I’ll just relight it.

Same thing happened.

No biggie. I’ll try a different votive candle.

My second attempt at burning the paper containing the things I want to let go of.

My second attempt at burning the paper containing the things I want to let go of.

I put on the faucet, lit the match, ran it under the water, threw it out, put the paper in there and it worked… sort of. It only singed the piece of paper, so I turned off the faucet.

Ok, at least I’m making progress.

I tried to light that wick again.

No dice.

I fussed with the first wick to see if I could straighten it, lit a match and then I couldn’t reach the wick, so I had to blow it out.

Luckily, I’m a determined person so I gave it another shot.

Failed again.

Then, I ran out of matches.

I looked in a few spots in my apartment and found some old ones that had a long stick. Perfect!

I struck the match, tilted the candle holder and tried to light the wick from a few different angles and nearly burned my finger.


Although I was in the middle of a ritual of letting things go, it was clear I wouldn’t let go of the need to let things go. Very meta.

Starting fresh with a new votive candle.

Starting fresh with a new votive candle.

Finally, I decided to get a brand new votive candle. It had an untouched wick that stood up straight. Plus, it represented the purpose of this exercise. Starting anew. I loved the symbolism.

I struck the long match, easily placed it in the candle holder, the wick took and I was ecstatic. As to not jinx myself, I quickly ran the match under the faucet, threw it in the garbage and carefully placed my paper in the candle holder.

It worked!

I watched in delight as the flame surrounded the folded up piece of paper. After all of this stress around burning this farkatka piece of paper, I felt a sense of calm wash over me. All of the things I want to get rid of in my life were melting away right before my very eyes.

See ya, Bucko!

See ya, Bucko!

To my surprise, it didn’t go up in flames as quickly as I would have expected. It was taking its time to release the things that weren’t serving me one at a time. I noticed that the middle was turning grey, but not disintegrating like I thought it would have. Then, I remembered that I folded it pretty tightly, so I patiently waited for it to go out.

In the meantime, I marveled at the red and orange pieces that I imagined were matching the Super Blood Wolf Moon that I wasn’t able to see from my apartment. So cool!

I continued to wait and thought, “I hope I’m not going to mess up my candle holder itself.” Then, I thought, “I have a pot of water sitting here. Worst case I douse it.”

Then, I remembered that I’ve never lit anything like this on fire in my home before. Sure I was a Girl Scout and learned how to build a fire and I made them at camp forever ago, but I’ve never done any stunt like this in my apartment before.

The closest thing I’ve seen like this is when my mom burns a Yartzheit candle in memory of her parents who passed. She has a similar deep candle holder that she keeps lit for 24 hours in our kitchen sink. You don’t even smell it.

This one’s smell, however, was wafting through my kitchen and I noticed the contents started to light up even more. I figured I was coming close to the end.

The flame got brighter so I grabbed my pot of water just in case. As I watched the paper get smaller and smaller, I waited and waited.

Then, I bent down and tried to look at the candle holder from the bottom to see what it was doing. I couldn’t tell, but with the flame getting larger, I sensed I was about to complete this exercise in releasing what wasn’t serving me into the universe in grand fashion.

And then the last thing I expected happened.


The candle holder made a loud popping sound and shattered.

The sound scared the shit out of me. I quickly turned on the faucet and smoke billowed from the sink. I let the water run over the burnt paper, candle wax and glass for a while. Then, I grabbed some tongs and pulled the tiny pieces of paper out. I could see some letters, but I couldn’t make out what they said nor did I want to. The whole point of the exercise was to let things go.

I was bummed about the candle holder. It’s one of my favorites and while I still have another one, it was part of a matching set in my bedroom that went on each nightstand.

It sucked, but hopefully I got rid of whatever I needed to release from my life. The one thing that did remain was the aroma (a far cry from my essential oils). My apartment reeked, but I knew that stench would dissipate in time.

What I wasn’t so sure of was the fire itself. Even though I checked the sink and garbage, which is covered, multiple times to make sure the flames were completely out, I was still a little worried, but I decided to “believe, trust and let go.”

As I drifted off to sleep, I thought, “Hopefully whatever I needed to let go of is gone. I’m excited for this next chapter of my life because, to quote Alicia Keys, ‘this girl is on fire!’”

Did you catch the Super Blood Wolf Moon last night? Do you have any rituals you like to do to let things go? Do you have an easy time letting things go? Tell me below!