Learning to Let Go

I have too many ideas in my head. It’s true. They never stop bombarding me. Usually, they arrive at the most inconvenient times. Like when I’m driving. Or showering. Or standing in line at the supermarket. It’s in those moments I get big ideas, and I can’t do a single thing about them. Because apparently, it’s illegal to write and drive at the same time, and showering while writing doesn’t work well, either. As for being at the supermarket, or anywhere there’s a crowd, take it from me when I say people don’t like it when you pull out your phone, or tablet and pen, and start taking notes while they’re talking. They get paranoid.

I know, some people would kill to have too many ideas. But I’m telling you, it’s not always that great. Believe me, the grass isn’t greener in my head than yours. I would love a brain that silences itself, if only for a moment.

My brain nudges me as I drift to sleep, or if I dare wake in the wee hours of the morning, it starts chattering. It begs me to listen while I watch a movie, and invents stories while I try to read. It never shuts off.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the many ideas – I will always have something to write about. But the problem is, it’s impossible to write everything down. I’ve tried. My fingers just don’t write as fast as I think.

I used to get upset when ideas and ramblings popped into my brain, and I couldn’t jot them down. I’d try and keep the words until later, only I’d usually forget. I’d fret, moan, and be a stressed-out mess, certain I would use up all my creativity. I used to feel like I would fail.

I couldn’t think with all those thoughts running around, wondering what I should remember, and what I should let go. And when I sat down to write, it got worse. If you could get inside my head (and believe me, you don’t want to), I’m pretty certain it would look like a carnival gone amuck.

I started getting panicky, and knew I needed a plan. I thought of buying a recorder for the car, extra notebooks to place by the bed, and one of those waterproof shower pads to write on. But none of them interested me. They seemed more of a hassle than they were worth, and not really a part of that simple lifestyle I desired.

One day I was driving in my car, and sentences filled my head. I wanted those words to remain, I wanted to use them one day in a future story. And then it hit me. Yes, I had an epiphany.

I came up with this brilliant plan for all those random thoughts. And let me tell you, it’s been a life-changer.

Do you want to hear it? Do you want to change your life forever? Listen close. This is my secret when I can’t write my ideas down.

I let them go. I do nothing.

You read that right. Absolutely Nothing. Do you know why? I’ll tell you, but just to warn you, you may not like it. Because, and this is big, it Just Doesn’t Matter.

It’s true. It doesn’t. Because the fact is, we can never run out of ideas. Our brains are a constant source of energy, always creating, forever thinking. Whether we are receptive to listen or not, that part is up to us. But we can never stop creating. I truly believe that. No matter what our gift is – writing, selling, painting, or one of a million other things – our creative resources can never be depleted.

Sure, some ideas enter at the most inopportune times (I think it’s some weird law that says they must), but still, they come. They always do.

And when they do, let them. Let them sit and stew and make a fuss. But don’t let them consume you. If you are meant to have them, they will stay. If not, another will arrive another day, and chances are, it will be even better.

We can’t hang on to everything, whether physical ‘stuff,’ or mental thoughts, we need to release. When we do, the most amazing thing happens. It happened to me.

I am calmer now, and more importantly, I am in the moment. When I write, I think about what I am writing. While I drive, I see the cars around me. And when I shower (and this is the best), I enjoy the hot water that rushes over my face.

It’s not to say that thoughts don’t still flit through my head at the worst times ever. I am human, after all. But I am learning to let go.

I dare you to try this plan, to be where you when you are there. I dare you to let ideas flit away, just like the tiny creative butterflies they are. I guarantee they will come back. And if not, there will be more to take their place.

Live the simple life.

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