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May 9, 2016

Setting Down the Groceries: A Lesson in Letting Go.

I have a game I like to play with myself.

I like to see how many bags of groceries I can carry at once, without dropping anything. (In case you’re wondering, my record is 16.) I honed the impressive skill of carrying many things at once from my many years of waiting tables.

Since our garage is in the basement and the kitchen on the first floor, it saves me a trip up the stairs if I can get them up all at once. But if I’m honest, I mostly do it for the mad bragging rights going on in my head. My ego is oddly stroked every time I can carry them in one trip.

So a few weeks back, I had a carload of grocery bags waiting to be put away. I grabbed them all—even going so far as to hang one smallish bag from my pinkie. I went up the front porch stairs to the front door, since the front door has a lever instead of a knob. I leaned over and used my chin to press down on the lever to open the door—which it did so quickly and with such force that it popped back up, hitting me in the chin so sharply I saw stars.

I fell and dropped every single bag.

The sound of breaking glass was cacophonous. I sat there for a bit, stunned—covered in pickle juice, broken eggs and with spilled almond milk all over the porch.

And then I had to laugh—this was so clearly a message from the universe. To move forward, sometimes we’ve gotta let go of some stuff. When we’re weighed down by useless baggage (or groceries made heavier by an inflated ego), it’s easy to get stuck in the past. The longer we hold those bags, the heavier they become.

You know that story about the professor who picks up a glass of water and then asks her class how heavy the cup is? Her students guess, “Half a pound? 12 ounces? One pound?”

Of course, the answer is that how heavy it is depends on how long she holds it. The longer we cling needlessly to that which weighs us down, the heavier that burden becomes.

If we want to move forward through the doorway of life, we need to set down the damn groceries already.

Life is an endless balance of holding on and letting go. While holding on seems to come naturally, we too often resist letting go. Our ego tends to cling to the past, holding tightly to the way things have always been. We are fearful of the unknown. But this ignores the beautiful fact that change is inevitable, and there’s no reason not to assume our future is filled with shiny, brilliant awesomeness.

What are you holding on too tightly to in your own life? What baggage is weighing you down? What habits, relationships or ideas no longer serve you?

If you’re ready to dive headfirst into your life, you have to live in the now. Drop your bags, and get in there!

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Author: Erin Smith

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Flickr/Quinn Dombrowski