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Lighten Up. Drop the garbage.

Once I moved, kind of in a hurry. Friends helped me load a U-Haul which we stuffed with my stuff, and I headed to Hoboken, NJ. Unpacking my truck, I noticed an anonymous plastic bag. What's that? I opened the bag and took a peek.

We had packed the garbage!!!

I laughed out loud and threw it out.

What a metaphor. How often have I made a big move, and brought the garbage from the old place with me.... in my head. Useless things, like resentments. Worry. Comparisons with others, where I always came up short. Regrets. Self-critical thoughts. Weighing me down, and distracting me from really being present in my life.

I did not sift through that garbage bag once I realized what it was...... just like it’s usually not necessary to sift through mental and emotional garbage: just let it go.

What garbage are you carrying around? How much does it weigh you down? How much space does it take up, mentally, emotionally, even physically in the tissues of your body? These trashy, negative, repetitive thoughts, over time, become grooved into our neural pathways, and eventually even shape our bodies.

What would it feel like to let them go? How would your body feel? Can you just let them go, without looking through them? OK, so some of them might contain some valuable nuggets. Can you save them for later, and let go of all the ones they don’t have any value anymore?

I like to use rituals to help me change things, to let go of what no longer serves me, so that better things can come in, and I can expand and experience more pleasure. Here are a couple letting go rituals I've used.

  • Carry a small rock or a useless something around with you all day, and intend for it to represent something you want to release. Notice how it gets in the way. Maybe it stops you from doing something with your hand that you wanted to do. If you're gripping it for hours, notice what your hand feels like. At the end of the day, find a peaceful place and reflect on what the experience is teaching you, then.... Let. It. Go. Drop it on the ground; cast it into a river; toss it into the garbage. Whatever. Just let it go. Take a deep breath, really fill your lungs. Maybe sigh on the exhale, and shake your body a bit, especially your hand, now free of that useless thing.

  • When you take out the garbage, picture what you're ready to let go of that no longer serves you, and throw that away with the garbage. I invite you to throw out all your garbage.

  • Close your eyes and take a couple deep breaths. Imagine what you're carrying around as a weight. Where do you feel it in your body? What color is it? Breathe into that heavy feeling. Imagine that weight turning into a colorful balloon, and fill it up with helium. What color(s) is it? Notice that there's a string tying it down. Undo the string, and let the balloon, and the weight that it was, gracefully float away. Getting smaller and smaller, higher and higher, until it disappears. Notice how it feels in your body.

I have also used hypnotic trance for visualizing and letting go of things I don't need, and doing body-based work with mindful intention helps rewire my neural pathways and remove the residue of long-held patterns from my tissues. They are both super supportive, and I'm grateful to have these as part of my toolkit, and to share them with you.

Photo by Luca Upper on Unsplash

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