What Could Happen If You Let Everything Go?

Aside from sounding like the title of a Dr. Seuss book, the question I pose today can cause a lot of emotions to surface. Raised in a society where the words “less” and “nothing” are deemed failure words, I myself used to feel fear with the idea of letting things go. In my youth, I took pride in being a “yes-woman” – a multi-tasking energetic force that can only be caused by extreme naivete. Today, I find myself in a much different place.

I have learned that letting go can create the negative space necessary for growth and opportunity. Letting go of material things that ground us to a hedonistic lifestyle can free us to alternative models. Letting go of our identity can access our fullest potential. Letting go of our biases can open our minds in a way that leads to kindness. Letting go of our wants can lead to inner peace. But most importantly, letting go of the fear of letting go is the first step to starting the journey to a higher way of living.

While I wouldn’t consider myself a wordsmith, I am keen on word selection. It is, after all, what I do. I often wondered why there was negative emotion tied to the idea of letting go, and I have found that many people ask the wrong question. Often times, the same question is worded with one letter changed: What would happen if you let everything go.

That “w” is enough to confuse even the surest of minimalists.

Letting go of everything would lead to negative repercussions. For example, letting go of my job would certainly lead to unemployment, less money, and no job identity.

Sure, giving up everything would not necessarily lead to better things.

But you know what? It could.

Letting go of work could lead to more travel, more peace, a new identity, a better future, a more enjoyable profession, and a more secure financial situation. It’s not definite, but it could.

We need to start switching the language around letting things go into a more positive one.

What could happen if you let everything go?

Absolutely anything is possible.

Cultivating Happiness by Going Back to the Breath.

When I first stepped into a yoga studio, I was not in search of an awakening of sorts. I was twenty and I had not started the search for my life’s purpose or meaning. I wasn’t even aware that I had yet to find my true self. In a way, Yoga was the one who found me, and has been creeping into life’s little crevices ever since, teaching me that only one thing keeps us fully alive, that which is our life source: the breath.


I attended my first yoga class to support a best friend from high school , J. Lowe,  (pictured above and throughout this post) who just discovered yoga and was teaching her first class. A third bestie completed our trio and we brought along Mike and a roommate of his. I saw the class solely as an exercise routine. Although we were being reminded throughout class to return to our breath, I was too busy concentrating on the sweat dripping down from my forehead to my toes, causing me to slip and slide from my mat like a waterslide laid out amidst summer grass. My mind, a restless wanderer, was constantly wondering whether anyone was looking at me and what they thought of my stance. I was shy of my newbie skill set and the inability to hold postures as gracefully as some of the other swans in the room. I was exhausted ten minutes in, and realized that I didn’t have a single thread of muscle in my puny body. I kept wondering when the hour would be up, looking forward to eating something soon, despite the late hour. I thought that this would be way easier, if only I didn’t have bangs. I was looking around to see what posture to hold, what everyone was wearing, how my friends were faring.

At that point in my life, I had what they call a monkey mind. All these thoughts that had nothing to do with the yoga itself kept barging in and disrupting me and my process. Accompanied with these thoughts were a collection of emotions. Shyness, frustration, insecurity, loneliness, tiredness, empathy, embarrassment, anger, happiness, restlessness, hunger, to name a few and not necessarily in that order. It was an accurate representation of what my life was, a mirrored reflection of a million particles squeezed into a tiny space and creating tumultuous friction as they collided and fought for my attention.

A chase is a word I so lovingly use to describe my past lifestyle. Fast forward a few years later, where I started to do a bit of soul searching to answer one main question. How can I find happiness? I started with the question, “What will make me happy?” and I didn’t stop asking follow up questions. Even now, I still haven’t stopped.


If you ask somebody what will make them happy, they may say, money will make me happy. Okay why money? Because I will have the ability to pay for food on the table. Okay why food? Because I want to go through every day knowing that I won’t go hungry. Okay why don’t you want to go hungry? Because I don’t want to suffer or feel pain. What will make you feel pain? Being constricted. What else will make you feel constricted? A work schedule, a timeline, expectations… and so on and so forth. And when you strip it down to the barest ingredient, what I found in all my answers was that external forces, things you cannot control, those are what causes a majority of our negative emotions. These external causes of unhappiness include material goods, status, pressures, expectations, and so on. Internal forces, those that we can control because they are inside of us, are the weapons with which we can yield and carve and create our own happiness. They say that happiness comes from within, and I wholly believe in that. I write all the time about how all these things we try to purchase and achieve and accomplish, maybe they will bring us happiness, momentarily, but that happiness will fade. And like some addicting drug, you will then need more to trigger that happiness again, and then even more. The chase will have you wasting your life away trying to find a happiness that is temporary, when you can slow life down and find happiness that is constant.


As with the yoga example, the external forces are what create a majority of our discomfort on and off the mat. When I was first learning the poses, I would remember being uncomfortable, sometimes to the point of having pain, in some of the more advanced body configurations. What was even worse, was the narrative that quickly followed that pain. My monkey mind would ask me questions like, “What am I doing here?”, “There’s no way you can make it until the end of the class”, “Everybody is watching you fail”, “You’ll never get to be as good as them”, etc. And with that story comes the emotions listed above. As those emotions got triggered, the physical pain would actually feel worse, solely because it is perceived as larger than what it truly is, after being brought to the forefront of the mind. Much of the suffering comes from the emotions we tie to the actions, rather than the action itself. It’s the story that kills us. Slowly, over time, I developed a way to let these thoughts go, which then allowed me to control the amount of suffering there was. Once I let the narrative float by, like clouds, or the thoughts run through, like water, I became more able to sit in those positions with a feeling of groundedness, or contentment. There is a sense of peace that comes with letting things go and returning to the breath, focusing on the one thing that really matters in our life. I learned so much from this lesson than any other lesson about what it really means to be a human being.


“There are inevitably going to be these pains that arise, whether they are physical, emotional, loss of a loved one, things not going exactly as you want them to go. But the story that we layer on top of that… that actually creates a more intense layer of suffering that can impede this deeper layer of happiness that we are often looking for.”                                                                                            -Corey Muscara

Do you ever notice how a lot of tension in our lives come from the resistance towards things that are happening to us? Instead of pushing back, trying to reshape what happens, forcing control over situations, try to just let it happen. Once I got into that space, I started to really feel free. It was not that everything became one hundred percent perfect, la-dee-da in my life. There were still days when I felt tired, when Mike and I had different viewpoints, when money seemed to control everything, when I had an explosion of emotions, and when my thoughts continued to be all over the place, but my relationship towards everything has shifted to a place of disconnect from these external factors, and somehow, I ended up more grounded. Imagine being tied down to all of these things when the hypothetical tornado hits. These things will just fly up in the air, and you along with it. But to be fully free from it means that you will find an easier time planting your feet solidly on the ground. The ability to watch a whirlwind of life’s surprises pass you by without being swayed is a superpower that we have, but we fail to cultivate. I have found only one way of strengthening that power, and that is to return to the breath.


To try, at home.

Try to sit cross-legged in a room for even five minutes and focus on your breath. If this is the first time you are trying this, it will be very difficult. Your mind will wander through a rabbit hole, and may possibly never come back. But try to allow these thoughts to simply pass. Practice letting it go and coming back to the breath every time.

Do this at least once a day when your space and mind is clear. I do this while going through a flow in my living room in the early mornings, as the sun peaks through our glass door. Usually, it’s after my roommate and Mike have left, so that the space is quiet and still. Typically, I prefer to do this prior to work, just to clear my head and reap all the benefits. Sometimes, it’s good to come back to in the evenings before bed, just to let everything go. Whatever works for your schedule will be fine.

It has taken me years to get to the point I am at now, but it is still nowhere close to the point I want to be. I have an outlandish dream of being ordained as a monk at some point in my life, and while that seems too crazy to come to fruition, I try in my everyday life to at least be a bit better at letting go. While I am not writing this as a way to get all hippie on you, I am hoping that sharing this experience will (even minutely) increase happiness in the world.

For flows from my friend J. Lowe, check out her YouTube channel or subscribe to her newsletters.

Minimalism: Letting Go of Sentimental Things

Today, I lost my wedding ring. With the dramatic plunges in temperature in SoCal lately (My God, it’s 60 degrees?!), my scrawny little fingers naturally got scrawnier as my body tried to conserve heat against this frigid winter. All joking aside, I DID note the day before that my ring was slipping through my fingers too easily for comfort, as of late. So when I was running errands today, in between going to Mother’s Market down the street and picking up the mail, my finger started to get a bit chilly. I looked down and it was no wonder why, because all of a sudden, all my fingers were bare. My first thought was, “Oops!” My second thought was, “Well, it was bound to happen anyway.” I was glad that I didn’t choose to spend my life’s savings on that band of gold, or worse, take out a loan for it, and neither was it new. There weren’t any gut twists with the realization that I had a naked finger all of a sudden. No heart-wrenching pulls at the heart strings. I’m not a robot I swear. It had emotional value, sure, but it’s nothing to get emotional about. I immediately thought of this other flimsy fake gold ring that I owned which I had bought in high school for $5, and figured, well, that’ll do.

Herein lies the power of minimalism.

When I tell people that I try to live a minimalist lifestyle, I usually get the response, “You mean, like living with nothing?”, or some other variation of this sort. I even had a friend joke, “Well good, because you have nice stuff, so you can just give all of that to me.” Sorry friend, but I still want to keep my stuff. The point of minimalism is not to own nothing. Rather, the point is to not let things own you.

The ability to own things control a lot of people’s state of being. How many people covet the newest gadget, so much so, that it is all they think about? They start to experience anxiety, waiting for something new, hoping to beat everyone else to buying it right after its release. How many people spend their money buying frivolous niceties, at the expense of working even more hours and giving up more of their precious time to the hamster wheel that so well represents our day to day life? How many people have an excess of stuff, so much so that they spend a lot of time putting them away, or looking for them in forgotten places? How many people buy MORE stuff in order to organize the stuff they already own? How many people get angry, sad, frustrated, upset, heartbroken, when things break or are lost?  It sounds like the simplest idea, to not let things own you, but you wouldn’t believe how difficult it is to accomplish, especially when it comes to things with sentimental value.

We all have sentiment. It is part of what makes us human. Unfortunately, at a young age, we have been taught to tie that sentiment with things. I don’t know about you, but both my mom and Mike’s mom are very sentimental about things. I call my mom a hoarder all the time (jokingly off course, otherwise it wouldn’t be as funny). My parents pay a monthly fee for a fairly large storage unit to hold stuff that they never access. Hidden among the “just-in-case” items, are memories tied to random stuff. Embarrassing kid projects from our elementary school years, boxes and boxes of photograph books, even old furniture that my mom so loves, but no longer needs ever since they sized down from a four-bedroom two-story home to a tiny apartment. She has piles of artwork that I made when I was in high school, the not so good kind. They have all our plastic trophies from our AYSO soccer days. You know, the ones for participating? Barbie dolls, happy meal toys, children’s books, legos, you name it, and they will still have it. Recently, I told my dad I wanted to get into soccer again, and he offered to pull out my high school soccer cleats, after 11 years of dust and disuse. I appreciate the gesture, but, was it worth paying a monthly storage fee to be able to offer the shoes to me? I denied it anyways, and asked him to de-clutter it instead. To this day, it’s still there. My mom kept her wedding dress, her wedding china, her wedding favors, her wedding shoes, and more. When I got married, my parents paid for my dress. I found my Vera Wang dress for sale at a 60% discount of $500 at David’s Bridal. Still a ridiculous price to pay for a dress, in my opinion. After I got married, I offered to sell it for my parents, so that they could recoup their money. The style was still considered pretty recent, and I knew with the Vera Wang label, it would sell quickly. Since I got it for so cheap, I figure it would sell pretty close to what I bought it for. My mom was heartbroken and said she couldn’t part with it, this dress that wasn’t even hers. Since they paid for it, I said that off course, they could do what they wished with it. So now it sits in a box, somewhere, in an effort to preserve it like her own dress. She says I will appreciate her saving it one day, and maybe I will. Who knows, maybe I am too young to understand its sentimental value. But then again, maybe not.

The funny thing is that their sentimental value is only equal to the sentiment with which we attach to it. For example, a lot of people extremely value their wedding ring. But some upgraded their preciouses a couple of times over the course of their lifetime. So they must have had a lot of sentiment towards the first ring, but when they decided it was “time to upgrade”, they stopped feeling the same sentimentality towards the first one. And again and again with each upgrade. Similar to a high school kid loving his first car, and then disposing of it once he feels like he has a stable job and has “earned” a brand new ride. If we can change the sentimental value of an object that easily, then why is it so hard for us to lose certain things?

I know plenty of people who would bemoan the loss of their wedding ring. The soaking of their valued photographs. The breaking of their expensive gadgets and toys. Some people enter a state of agony.  We think we can’t replace these things, but in actuality, we can. Want to know what we can’t replace?




Extinct species.

Real memories.

Our memories are stored in our brains, and metaphorically, in our hearts, not in our things. I will never forget the night we got married, until time takes away my ability to remember anything at all. Likewise, if I lose a wedding ring, it doesn’t mean I love my husband less. These are important things to know. Because until we can remove the sentimentality from our things, our things will still be able to control us, in one way or another. Minimalism is funny in that respect. You surround yourself with only things that you love, yet with an understanding that you will be okay parting with everything you own. If my house burned down today, I would be fine with losing everything in it. I know this may sound super insensitive in the light of recent California brushfires, but honestly, this is true. So many people will make a long list of what they need to grab in case of a fire. Family heirlooms, photographs, certificates, trophies, and whatever else. Usually, people gravitate towards things with sentimental value. But they’re still just things. As long as my husband and family and friends are safe, then I can let go of all the things. I know I have it in me to rebuild my life again from scratch. And I think THAT is a very empowering thing.

When I lost my wedding ring, I informed my husband via text, then proceeded with my errands. After I was finished with my errands, I came home and calmly walked upstairs to check our room. Not to be found there, I walked back to Mother’s Market, and then to the mail area. Still I could not find it. So I went home. I emptied my purse, and there was my ring, at the bottom of my Sseko bucket bag. And I thought to myself, “Good thing I didn’t cry about it.” When my husband got home from work, I told him I found my ring and he said, “Yeah, I was going to text you to say don’t worry about it. You can always get another one.” Life, as it should be.