Let it go let it go let it go
Let it go let it go let it go
When the world is coming down on me, I let it go.

—Fred LeBlanc

For the better part of 20 years, I’ve been a disciple of Cowboy Mouth from New Orleans, Louisana.

Whether you like their music or not, which often comes down to whether you can stand Fred’s antics or not, once you hear the band’s perpetual anthem (“Jenny Says”), its central tenet (let it go!) will take up residence in your heart and mind for all time.

At least it did for me.

Twenty years on, I thought I had this whole “letting go” thing figured out. But I learned something today: it’s not about what the world puts on you. It’s not even about what other people do to you.

It’s entirely about what’s inside.

You can go to your grave with a lot of things. And I don’t mean stuff. I’m talking about mental forms like:

  • experiences
  • expectations (internal or external)
  • ideas
  • beliefs
  • memories (good and bad)
  • hang-ups

Or, you can drop the shit that isn’t serving you. And you can do it any time you choose.

Wait a second…

Who cares if you allow a lifetime of mental forms to build up inside of you? Isn’t life about gaining wisdom? And how does one do that apart from adding to your catalog of experiences as you grow older?

Wisdom isn’t about hoarding; it’s about selection.

Ideally, you are perpetually weeding your mental garden. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Consciously removing what no longer serves you makes room for new things to come into your awareness.
  2. When you’re stuck with outdated mental forms, you will often reject newer, truer ideas out of hand – simply because they don’t align with what you think you already know about yourself and the world.

My ex-husband probably still has a houseful of crap nobody else wanted. Don’t be that guy. Choose wisely, and let the rest go.

What Am I Ready to Let Go Of?

This is the key question. It came to me as I was journaling this morning, and I immediately recognized its importance (around the same time I caught myself humming “Jenny Says”).

So here’s my list. I’m ready to let go of:

1. Caring about what others think.

I thought I had this one licked. I spent way too many years sacrificing myself to the gods of perfectionism. Because I was convinced I was an absolute fraud, and someone was surely going to figure it out very, very soon. Then that person would run through the streets shouting, “Ann Bevans is a loser!”

Needless to say, that never happened.

Kicking this to the curb went along with closing the web business. Or so I thought. Until I realized that I’ve been spending a lot of time fretting about whether my word counts were high enough. Will people think I’m I real writer? Or just a dabbling housewife?

Enough! I let go of caring about what others think.

2. Waiting for the good old days to circle back around.

Most of the time, when people bow out of your life, or longstanding situations spontaneously change, it’s for a very good reason.

But lately I’ve been catching myself pining for the good old days. What if that friendship could go back to being what it used to be? What if I could just undo all the days in between and regain my appreciation for that time in my life?

The truth is, most of what made the good old days so good was completely imaginary. It’s just a bundle of stories you told yourself, either back then or in the days since.

Enough. I let go of waiting for the good old days to circle back around.

3. Being at war with my body.

I once worked with a coach who was kind of astonished by my self talk around my body. I was constantly “fighting a battle” or “beating it into submission.” In short, there was a lot of violence there, especially for a sweet little pacifist like me.

Once you believe something, finding the evidence is easy. So I can look back and argue that my body’s let me down too many times. Like when it wasn’t strong enough to fight off that rapist. Or when it got fucking cancer. Or when it looked ridiculous in that swimsuit.

Or I can accept my body and practice taking good care of it.

Enough. I let go of being at war with my body.

4. Comparing myself to others.

Guess what? There’s always going to be someone who’s further along the path than you are. You will always have friends who’ve published more books, earned more degrees, made more money, and ran more races than you have.

Who cares?

This is your life, and you’re the one who gets to live it (nobody else). There are no wrong answers and there’s no such thing as too late. Do you and give up the rest.

Enough. I let go of comparing myself to others.

And You?

What are you ready to let go of? Let’s rap about it in the comments.